Saturday, February 26, 2011

Roll me up some Escarole

As a dietitian, I am always preaching, “Eat your green leafy vegetables!” And it’s not only me, I feel like advertisements on the health benefits of green goodies are everywhere these days. Yea, you got your spinach, your kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens…but what about Escarole?? Poor thing- this nutrition powerhouse gets no credit! Well, here it is…

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

As part of the green leafy vegetable family, escarole is loaded with vitamins A, C and K. In just 1 cup of cooked greens, you can far exceed your daily K and A needs, and come close to your C needs. Vitamin A helps your vision and supports healthy growth. And when you get a little cut? Vitamin K comes to the rescue and allows your blood to clot (or stop coming out). And as an avid Your Secret Ingredient reader, I’m sure you know plenty about C’s function. Escarole is also filled with folate (an important nutrient for us females). And not to dote- but this green gift also supplies you with some calcium, iron, and fiber too- wohoo!

What to do with it?

  • Chop it up and use it for salad greens (Go Nuts- 1 ½ cups has a mere 15 calories,0 fat, and 2 g fiber)
  • Add it into a whole-wheat pasta dish (pre-steamed or boiled, add right before serving).
  • Sautee it as a side dish with some EVOO, garlic, and crushed red pepper (Boil escarole in salted water first for 5-10 minutes, and then sautee.
  • Make a soup with escarole, white beans, and veggies
Check out for this Mediterranean Rice-Stuffed Escarole recipe

So next time you are looking for some healthy leafy-greens- leave the traditionals’ aside and give escarole some face time!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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