There’s nothing worse than seeing a bunch of limp greens in your fridge after a busy week when you didn’t have time to cook.
You had good intentions. You actually went out and bought a bag of spinach. But instead of making beautiful leafy salads like you planned, it just sat in your fridge, forgotten. RIP spinach.
Just because your leaves go bad sometimes doesn’t mean you should stop buying them, though. One of the biggest issues people have with grocery shopping is being afraid they won’t use up the produce before it spoils.
I’ve been there. But, when you get in the habit of incorporating the veggies you buy, it gets a lot easier. Eventually, you’ll nail how much produce you actually need for the week and never waste a shred of food.
It does take some trial and error, but today I’m going to tell you how to use greens (spinach, kale, arugula, etc) in just about everything.
Note: I originally had four ways to use up greens, but I took to Reddit and had people tell me their methods too! The 10 best responses are included at the end of this post.
Let’s just talk about kale for a quick second. My case for kale:
A lot people are “over” kale. It’s a vegetable, guys. I’m not here to tell you the health benefits of kale or why it’s a superfood. But I’m going to tell you why I swear by it. Kale won’t go mushy on you after three days in your fridge like spinach.
One time my supermarket was out of kale (I know, right?!) and I had to buy a box of spinach. Let me tell you, eating that entire box before it went bad was definitely more of a challenge than dealing with kale. Kale can keep in the fridge for up to one week. So it’s OK if you can’t use it every day.
Here are my four foolproof ways to add greens to every meal. Make sure to comment and add your methods below if you have any!
Add greens to your breakfast protein shake or smoothie.
This is a tried and true trick. Blending up some greens with your smoothie is a great way to sneak veggies into your breakfast and use up greens. I usually add a handful of chopped kale to my smoothies. They help thicken them up a bit too.
Adding greens might give your smoothie and interesting color, but not all food has to be Instagram-able, right? This article has some great green smoothie ideas.
Put protein on a bed of greens.
If you use kale and you’re worried about it being too hard and crunch, add a drop of olive oil before laying your protein on top. Microwaving your lunch before eating it will also make the kale a little softer.
If you think about it, this method is similar compared to what most health takeout chains do when they offer a base of greens or grains with your order.
Add it to your go-to quick meals.
When I come home from work and cook a quick dinner I always add kale.
My go-to meals are:
- Breakfast burritos!
- Scrambled eggs or an omelette with cheese tomatoes!
But you can easily add greens to pasta and other dishes too.
Just sauté them!
A side of sauteed greens goes with almost every dish. And look at that spark of color they add! If you want to make them tastier, add a little bit of garlic, onion, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice.
Responses from Reddit:
1. “Make sure you’re keeping greens properly to make them last.”
- Wrap in a clean dish towel (or paper towels)
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge, usually a freezer bag.
- Change out the towel when it gets soaked through, usually once per week.
Easily doubles or triples the shelf life of most leafy greens.
2. “The biggest thing is simply committing to eating a lot of salad during any given week (or whatever else you decided to cook with the greens purchased).”
Once you’ve made the decision to eat 4-6 salads as meals during a week, you’ve won half the battle already.
3. “Stir-fries and curries are fantastic for using (almost) any veggie up. I always make a bunch and store leftovers.”
4. “My go to is to make an egg bake, sort of a healthier crustless quiche.”
You can use up a ton of greens in this & I make it to have for lunch throughout the week. 9×13″ pan, 8 or so eggs, 2 cups cottage cheese, little flour, & shredded cheese if you want. Wilt down a good portion of greens with whatever seasoning you like & saute any other veggies that need to be used up (green onion, tomatoes, mushroom, zucchini, whatever). Stir it all up & bake uncovered 350, 45min or so. Cheap, easy, healthy as you want to make it, and cleans the fridge out!
5. “Boil some broth and potatoes, half-blend it, add greens. Soup.”
6. When my greens get close to going bad I put them in the blender with some orange juice and ginger-blend them up and put them in ice cube trays and freeze them.
Great for green smoothies on the go.
6. I like to make a warm pasta salad.
Cook pasta, drain, chuck in greens while pasta is still hot. They will wilt a bit. Add a pinch of salt and some extra light mayo, or other dressing of your choice. Maybe a few slivers of cheese too 😉
7. I buy giant bags of kale and spinach from Costco, separate them into serving sized plastic bags, and freeze them for smoothies.
It’s convenient and lowers the temperature so you don’t have to add as much ice.
8. You can make pesto with pretty much any type of greens.
Throw them in a blender with whichever nuts you think will go well plus some olive oil, probably some lemon, garlic, parmesan cheese if you have it, etc etc you can play around. sesame oil would probably work great with certain greens, you can add other herbs, etc. This freezes perfectly as well.
9. Put them on a pizza! Surprisingly delicious.
10. Place in bowl.