Leafy Spring Greens
Arugula leaves are tender, bite-sized, and packed with a distinct, tangy flavor. Sometimes referred to as “rocket,” this vibrant leafy green is the star of the year-round arugula recipes up ahead.
They’re the versatile friend at the dinner party, blending well with nearly every dish. Not only that, but they’re loaded with nutrients; studies have suggested that a sulfur-containing compound called sulforaphane gives cruciferous vegetables both their bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power. It’s also packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, and antioxidants.
Baby bok choy is at its best in the late winter and early spring, though it’s available most of the year round. A nutritional superstar, this vegetable (which can honestly be called “cute”) offers a healthy dose of Vitamins K, C, A, and is a great source of calcium.
Seared Baby Bok Choy is a super-quick way to prepare it, showing off its flavor and visual appeal. This is not so much a recipe as an idea, but what a fun idea it is. There’s so little prep involved, and no other ingredients to use, so you’re on your way to a great vegetable side dish in minutes.
Of all Asian greens, bok choy is, arguably the most widely known and available. The term “bok choy” is generally used to describe the larger kind, with the crisp white stalks and dark leaves. Baby bok choy is a smaller version of the former variety, with stems and leaves of a fairly uniform, pale green hue. Either of the common varieties of bok choy are good raw in salads or very lightly cooked in stir-fries and Asian-style soups. more→
Here’s a quick stir-fry using nutritious, crunchy bok choy. Shiitake mushrooms make a perfect partner for it. Serve this on its own or over rice; it’s good hot or at room temperature. Use either large white bok choy or baby bok choy. Photos by Evan Atlas. more→
Peppery, bright green watercress adds a touch of spring to a classic leek and potato soup. If you can make this the night before it’s needed, so much the better, as the flavors improve from standing overnight. Add the all the watercress when reheating. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→
Spring’s early greens, including baby bok choy, arugula, and watercress cross paths with the last of the cold season’s small oranges in this easy and delectable salad. Recipe from Wild About Greens. Photos by Susan Voisin. more→
Here’s a soup designed to make the most of kale or chard, spinach, arugula, and lettuces when they become too abundant. When greens threaten to take over the fridge, I turn to this recipe, which has become an annual tradition! If you love greens and have plenty of them, you’ll find this nourishing recipe useful as well as delicious. Make sure all greens are very well washed. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons.
This easy stir-fry highlights fresh, quick-cooking spring greens, combined with tofu. See the note below for suggestions on which leafy greens to use; you can vary it each time. My favorite is baby bok choy! more→
Shiitake mushrooms, commonly known in Chinese as “fragrant mushrooms,” have a rich, savory flavor that can enhance the taste of other foods, such as the fresh bok choy in this recipe. For an even more intense flavor, use dried shiitake mushrooms, which should be soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Rinse them, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes with a dash of Shaoxing wine, some crushed ginger and spring onion and salt to taste. Leave them to steep in the liquid until you want them. Reprinted from Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking* by Fuchsia Dunlop. Copyright © 2012 by Fuchsia Dunlop. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Chris Terry. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved. more→
Bok choy, snow peas, and red cabbage are a companionable trio of crisp raw veggies. Always pleasing for serving company, yet easy enough to make for weeknight meals, this colorful Asian-flavored salad has become one of my standards. It’s a perfect salad to serve with Asian Noodle Recipes. Photos by Rachael Braun.