I try pretty hard to make sure that my boys get plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, but one of their little quirks is that they both prefer their vegetables raw. Zackary especially won’t touch most veggies after they’ve been cooked and so veggie plates and salads are frequently on our table.
But when serving raw veggies, it’s important to remember that proper food handling and preparation is essential if you want that salad you’re serving your family to be not just healthy, but safe too! The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement is a model program that was created by California farmers to raise the bar for food safety. They want to remind you that you should always follow this checklist when handling your leafy greens:
- Check to make sure the leafy greens are fresh and are refrigerated at the store.
- Chill the greens within two hours of purchasing.
- Clean your hands and all surfaces before handling the greens. Never use detergents to wash the greens. Wash leafy greens under cool running tap water. Package leafy greens labelled “ready-to-eat” “washed” or “triple washed” need not be washed.
- Separate leafy greens from raw meat, poultry, or seafood in your refrigerator and don’t use the same cutting board. Cook or throw away leafy greens that come into their contact.
- Throw Away leafy green that have been sitting in your fridge for a long time.
But a bit of extra effort is worth it when you consider that leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps your body transport calcium. Even better, some specific leafy greens pack even more of a nutritional punch! One cup of chopped kale, for example, is loaded with nutrients and provides more than 100% of your RDI of Vitamins A, C and K! And one and a half cups of Butter lettuce (also called Bibb lettuce) contains just ten calories and provides 2% of your daily calcium! But remember, leafy greens like spinach, kale, cabbage and lettuce are good for more than just salads! The next time you’re looking to liven up your greens a little, why not try one of these tasty recipes?
Butter Lettuce Bundles with Thai Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salad
This versatile recipe can be served as a deconstructed salad in fun individual lettuce bundles, or even as fresh, healthy lettuce wraps your guests can build themselves at a buffet-style party. The creamy taste of butter lettuce is a perfect complement to the Thai vinaigrette. More great recipes can be found at www.safeleafygreens.com.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 6 servings
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper .5 mL
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced 15 mL
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste 15 mL
- 1 tbsp sugar 15 mL
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil 15 mL
- 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce 45 mL
- 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice 45 mL
- 1large mango peeled and cut into thin strips
- ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
- 1½ cups grape tomato halves 375 mL
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped 45 mL
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped 45 mL
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into wedges
- 6 butter lettuce leaves
- Combine cayenne pepper, garlic, lemongrass paste, sugar, sunflower oil, fish sauce and lime juice in a serving bowl.
- In a serving bowl, toss together mango, onion, tomatoes and herbs. Gently, mix in avocado. Add in vinaigrette and toss gently to distribute. Spread butter leaves over serving platter and top with mango salad. Serve salad immediately.
Baked Kale Chips Spiked with Chili Parmesan Garlic Salt
Kale is a super healthy leafy green vegetable. Baking kale into a crunchy, chip-style snack will have you munching through bunch after bunch, guaranteed! Kale bunches vary in size and produce anywhere from 12 to 16 cups (3 to 4 L) of bite-sized kale pieces. This recipe is for 12 cups (3 L) of uncooked kale (serving size reduces when cooked). More great recipes can be found at www.safeleafygreens.com.
Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 12 minutes
Makes 4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L)
1 medium bunch kale, washed and dried
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced 15 mL
½ tsp crushed chili flakes 2 mL
2 to 3tbspolive oil30 to 45 mL
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated 45 mL
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Tear off washed bite-sized kale leaves from hard stems and place in large plastic bag.
- Whisk together garlic, chili flakes and oil. Drizzle oil mixture over kale, hold bag closed and shake to coat kale leaves as evenly as possible. Do this in two batches if needed.
- Lightly spray a sheet pan with oil. Spread each kale leaf out flat on pan. Crowd leaves but do not overlap.
- Bake in oven for 8 to 12 minutes. Kale is done when leaves are dark green and crisp. Do not let kale turnbrown. Transfer kale to a rack to cool and repeat with remaining kale.
- Serve kale in a large bowl. If there are leftovers, store in a sealed container and keep at room temperature for up to a week.
If you want to learn more about what these recipes taste like and enter to win an amazing prize pack worth $275 from the California LGMA, why not visit UrbanMoms and check out the reviews of these mouth-watering recipes to see which one you might want to try? And don’t forget, whether you grow your own lettuce or buy it at the store, proper handling is the best way to make sure that your leafy greens will safely provide your family with essential vitamins and nutrients!