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Get the most out of your leafy greens with these simple flavour-boosting ideas and recipes. Getting your five a day just became a whole lot easier!

Leafy greens aren’t just nutritious on a plate — they’re also surprisingly versatile and long-lasting if stored properly. Use them in place of bread, add them to baked goods, juice them, or whip them up into inventive side dishes and mains to shake up your tastebuds. Here’s what you need to know to prepare, cook, and store them.

Bok choy

Sweet and mild with tender leaves and crisp edible stalks. Chop and add to a stir-fry or fried rice, or cut lengthwise and grill to desired tenderness. Stalks stay crunchy when cooked.

Try:

Sautéed with garlic and dressed with soy sauce for a savoury side dish.

Try:

Shrimp and bok choy stir-fry with peanut sauce atop rice noodles.

Kale

Peppery and slightly sharp with big leaves and tough stems. Remove the tough centre stems and work with the leaves. The sturdiness of the leaves means kale can be sautéed, roasted into chips, baked in a casserole, or added to a soup.

Try:

Blend with apple juice and frozen fruit into a smoothie.

Try:

Kale pesto with garlic, walnuts, and basil.

Collard greens

Smoky flavour with dense, meaty texture. Traditional southern dishes call for cooking collards slowly in simmering water until tender, but they’re equally good when raw and thinly chopped and used in place of lettuce or cabbage. Strip the leaves from the stalk using your hands or a sharp knife; discard the stalk.

Try:

Simmered slowly with butter, chopped bacon, chicken broth, and onions for a comforting side dish.

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Use halved raw (or blanched) leaves for tacos or sandwich wraps in place of tortillas or flatbreads.

Swiss chard

Mellow flavour; edible stalks vary in colour and remain tender-crisp after cooking. Sauté in olive oil for a super simple side dish, layer the leaves in lasagnas, or use stems and leaves in soups and stews for added texture and flavour. You can trim stalks off to be cooked first, then add leaves toward the end of cooking to keep them from being overcooked.

Try:

With comforting, hearty flavours like cheese and sausage in a quiche or pasta dish.

Try:

Raisins, pine nuts, and sautéed Swiss chard for a sweet and salty side dish. Sausage soup: Swiss chard pie

Spinach

Soft, sweet, and mild-flavoured with small, tender leaves. Braise, sauté, or use raw. Spinach works well with flavours ranging from sweet and fruity, like berries, to briny and salty, like feta cheese. Enjoy in salads, or try sautéed or braised and added to eggs, pasta and soups. Rinse well to remove sand and dirt.

Try:

Adding to a quick and tasty pasta toss when you want an easy side dish or potluck take-along.

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Raw in a salad with roasted pear and candied walnut pieces.

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In a pesto with fresh spinach and zucchini.

Watercress

Pungent and peppery flavour that some find slightly bitter; a mustard relative. Enjoy both the leaves and stems, but avoidtough roots. Watercress adds a new dimension of flavour to a salad or sandwich; also try it cooked in soup or egg dishes such as quiche.

Try:

Easy naan pizza with figs, shredded cooked chicken, shaved Parmesan, and watercress.

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A salad of fresh fruit, fennel, and watercress, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Try:

As a zesty pizza topper by subbing any greens for watercress.

How to properly store leafy greens

Store in the fridge for up to seven days. Discard when leaves become wilted or brown.

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