Get On A Roll with Spring GreensBy Mark Mulcahy
Springtime and fresh greens just seem to go hand in hand. Perhaps it’s because this time of year makes us think about eating a little less heavy or perhaps it’s just because Melissa’s organic greens seem to be so abundant in the marketplace.
Whatever the reason, you should follow your instinct and add them to your diet. Why? Because they taste great and are great for you. Just look at Melissa’s Organic Collard Greens
; like many greens they are a wonderful, dairy-free source of calcium. One-cup of cooked collard leaves can supply 25-35% of your daily calcium needs. Or how about arugula? It has eight times as much calcium content as iceberg lettuce, and more vitamin C than any other salad green. No wonder the Italians have eaten it since Roman times and consider the oil made from its seeds a good luck charm and aphrodisiac.
Both collards and arugula are members of the Brassica family, along with cabbage and broccoli. The phytochemicals in these greens, known as indoles, help protect us against stomach, colon and breast cancer. The deep green color of their leaves tells us they are also high in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that helps rid our body of pollutants.
Wow, who needs vitamins when you’ve got greens like these around? And with all of that calcium, perhaps the slogan should be GOT GREENS, instead of the old familiar GOT MILK.
Funny thing is that even with all of the calcium sources available these days some of us may not be getting all the dietary calcium we need and, in the long run, this could lead to serious bone loss. Amazingly, over ten million men and women of all ages in the U.S. have osteoporosis and believe it or not, it’s on the rise.
Part of the problem stems from some of our bone-depleting dietary habits, like heavy soda and/or alcohol consumption, but for some, lactose intolerance is the issue.
Whatever the reason, Melissa’s spring greens can be part of the solution. If you are thinking collards and arugula are a bit strong flavored for your tastes, consider this: during the cool spring days these two robust greens have a much mellower flavor and may be easier to enjoy.
If you’re still unsure about them, start with some Melissa’s chard. Chard has many of the health benefits of other greens but a much milder flavor, and two distinct textures, with the leaf being soft and tender and the stems having a firmer texture. It doesn’t matter which color you choose green, red, gold or rainbow chard, they are all equally good.
Try this recipe to get on a roll with Melissa’s spring greens. When I was in my twenties these were just called chard roll ups and were usually made with ground beef and onion. But the other day I found this recipe at called Involtini Vegetariani
. I mean who wouldn’t want to be invited over for Involtini Vegetariani? And it tastes as good as it sounds!
Involtini Vegetariani AKA Swiss chard and Potato Rollups
1 hour, 20 minutes
8 large leaves Melissa’s Organic Swiss Chard
2 large Melissa’s Organic Red Potatoes
An Egg, lightly beaten
¼ pound (110 g) Swiss Cheese, finely diced
3 Melissa’s Plum Tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons Grated Not-Too-Sharp Pecorino Romano
4 Sun Dried Tomatoes
(the kind canned in oil), minced
Several leaves fresh Sage
½ a clove of Garlic
3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash the potatoes and boil (or better yet, steam) them until a skewer penetrates easily, 30-40 minutes. Let them cool, and as soon as you can handle them, peel them and rice them with a potato ricer, gathering the riced potato in a bowl. Immediately work in the beaten egg, grated pecorino, half of the plum tomatoes, the Swiss cheese, the garlic, and the sun dried tomatoes. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
Blanch the chard leaves for a few seconds in the boiling water, drain them, pat them dry, and lay them flat on your work surface. Spread the filling evenly over the leaves and roll them up, being careful not to tear them.
Heat the butter with the sage in a skillet large enough to contain the Involtini in a single layer. Let the sage crackle for a minute, then remove and discard it, and carefully set the involtini to cooking. Cover them, and gently sauté them for 10 minutes, turning them after five, using 2 spatulas and being careful that they don't unwind.
Add the remaining plum tomatoes, adjust seasoning, cover, and simmer 10 minutes more.
I served mine with a large salad and some minestrone soup but they could be a nice main course served over rice.