It’s a funny name for a vegetable—redundant (aren’t all greens full of vitamins?) and potentially even off-putting (is the fact that they contain vitamins really all they have going for them?). Vitamins greens really are one of the sweetest greens and in person are nowhere near as intimidating as they sound. Also known as Vitaminna, the thick, leafy green, according to sparse online resources, is a member of the Chinese cabbage family, related to bok choy, and chock-full of Vitamin A.
What’s more, it’s delicious. This assessment comes from a girl who is a fan of such greens as chard, kale, and dandelion, but I promise you that it’s the truth. Vitamin greens are one of if not the sweetest winter green I have tasted to date. They’re sweeter even than chard and leave none of the chalky mouth-feel that it sometimes does.
I had never even heard of vitamin greens until last month, when I saw them mentioned in the weekly 14th & U Farmers’ Market e-newsletter. I have an ever-expanding love for greens and knew that I had to try them. They did not disappoint. They’re sweet and bright with just enough bite to bring them down to earth.
Over the next couple of weeks, in addition to the several bunches that we bought for immediate consumption, we also blanched and froze some for use during the winter. We haven’t broken into them yet, since one of the downtown farmer’s markets had fresh greens just last week. I am looking forward to adding the frozen greens to soups and stir fry.
Since we couldn’t find anything about how to cook vitamin greens, we improvised. The first time, I removed the stalks before cooking, but we learned at the market the next weekend that we could cook the stalks right along with the leaves.
That being said, if you want to reserve the stalks for another use, they’re great raw (sliced in salad or dipped in dressing). They’re also excellent in a cheddar-red-onion-vitamin-green-stalk omelet. (A concoction born of necessity: a near-empty refrigerator after almost a week away for Thanksgiving.) The omelet was so good that we made it a second time (with goat cheese instead of cheddar and the addition of thyme).
The below recipe is a quick, simple way to eat your greens. (And I honestly couldn’t believe how delicious they were!)
Sautéed Vitamin Greens
1 bunch vitamin greens (washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped)
1/2 red onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
salt and pepper
In a wide Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and just begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vitamin greens and toss until the greens begin to wilt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until greens reach desired tenderness, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
We had them with prosciutto-wrapped pork chops. There’s an excellent recipe here.