Modern Greens

It’s time to think beyond Kale Chips. Hearty greens – the M.V.P.s of a healthy diet – deserve a bit more culinary creativity.

Banish your memories
of soggy collards and overcooked spinach: When they’re prepared with care, it’s easy eating greens. In fact, the vegetables –which are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and generally ring in at less than 50 calories a serving – can be downright exciting.

The recipes here treat the nutritional powerhouses in innovative ways. Tuscan kale-which is loaded with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene – is crisped in the oven, allowing it to function as a foil for rich, runny egg yolks. Napa cabbage, an especially good source of fiber, is grilled and laced with spicy Chinese mustard to balance its natural sweetness.

In our ultrahealthy take on lasagna, escarole and kale replace the pasta, while pureed white beans sub in for creamy ricotta. And mustard greens, rather than the typical herbs, form the base of an easy pesto that works on pasta, chicken, and even whole-wheat toast. Hugely flavorful, thanks to roasted garlic and the spicy kick of the greens, this update on the Italian classic is also a good source of vitamin K, which is essential for both bone health and optimal blood coagulation. A recent study concluded that people whose diets are high in the nutrient, which is found in all dark leafy produce, have a lower risk of cancer and tend to live longer. It’s just another argument for working more greens into your diet – though after sampling the dishes showcased here, you won’t need any more convincing.

Crisp Kale Nests with Soft-Cooked Eggs

Active time 15 MIN TOTAL TIME 55 MIN SERVES 2

1 small bunch Tuscan kale (also called cavolo nero), stems and center ribs discarded
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
Red-pepper flakes
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 275 Degree. Cut kale lengthwise into strips about ¾ inch wide. Toss with oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, the lemon zest, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes, and spread onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring half-way through. Let kale cool. Divide between 2 bowls, and form each portion into .a nest, leaving a hold in center.

Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Gently lower eggs into water, turn off heat, and cover. Let eggs sit 6 to 6 ½ minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water, and let sit 30 seconds. Working carefully and let sit 30 seconds. Working carefully and quickly, peel eggs, and place in center of nests. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/8 teaspoon sale. Serve immediately.

Per serving

352 calories. 5 G Saturated fat
17 G Unsaturated fat, 423 MG cholesterol
24 G Carbohydrates, 378 MG sodium
20 G Protein, 6 G fiber

Greens, eggs, no Ham

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast: This dish makes a great meatless dinner. Serve over brown rice for a more substantial meal.

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