Clean Greens Save The Day

green save

So, the holidays round one are over. Thanksgiving binge: check! While I actually worked out everyday while home in Michigan for the holidays, I still managed to eat and drink my way from couch to couch enough that I feel pretty gross today. I got up early this morning and headed to the store to stock up on greens and veggies for salads, smoothies, and healthy clean dinners at home. I have 23 days until I leave for my family Christmas in Key West, and I want to feel great on the beach. I may be the whitest person there, but I’m still going to look smoking in a bikini!

I started out with my typical green smoothie for breakfast today, then for lunch I made almost an exact replica of this Clean Green Saute I came up with while on a cleanse the summer of 2013. Instead of broccoli, I used cabbage because I find it really cleans me out when I’m feel bloated. Also, it’s cheap and filling. I also added three stalks of celery with the onion and some cumin and paprika for a little extra flavor. The point is, this dish is easy, fresh, clean, high in fiber and really satisfying. Give it a go! I made it for lunch today and tonight I’ll have a kale salad with roasted beets for dinner with a side of blackened tofu. The saute is going to be a perfect lunch for tomorrow when I have less time to cook and won’t be working from home. Healthy eating is mostly about planning ahead!

For more than a week, I’ve been on a pretty strict clean-eating diet. I felt like all the sugar from binging on sangria, seasonal fruit, veggie burgers, cookies and cake over the Fourth of July holiday just threw my body over the edge and I needed a sugar detox. I decided to take a couple weeks off booze, coffee, grains, sugar and fruit and see how I felt. Meanwhile, I’ve been amping up my diet with tons of greens, seeds, onions, garlic and roughage. I feel great, my head is clearer and my mood feels a little bit more level. It’s also been fun to prepare some of the cleanest meals possible while pleasing my palate. I’ve made some excellent fruit-free smoothies, kale salads, quinoa pilafs and cooked greens this week.

One of the best dishes I made was a collard green and broccoli stir fry. It’s been a really long time since I cooked with collard greens. After this delicious meal, I am on a collard green kick. They are extremely nutritious and leafy just like Swiss chard, but collard greens are a lot less bitter than chard.

Since the leaves are hardier, I found it very easy to cook them in a stir fry without the leaves wilting too much. I used coconut oil for the base, which added a nice richness to this simple dish. Coconut oil works well for stir fries because of its high burn temperature.

To add some protein and omega 3s to the mix, I steamed some quinoa and chia seeds on the side. I made vegetable stock out of the rinds and stalks of my vegetables earlier in the day, so I was able to cook the quinoa and chia seeds in stock, which adds a really nice flavor.

Quinoa Chia Pilaf

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

1. Bring 4 cups vegetable stock to a boil, stir in 2 cups rinsed quinoa and reduce to a simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in chia seeds and simmer another 2-5 minutes.

Clean Green Saute

Serves: 4

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (or 4 cloves)
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced
  • 2 heads broccoli cut into florets (about 4 cups)
  • 4 cups collard greens, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint heirloom grape tomatoes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh arugula
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Water

1. Heat a deep-sided skillet or wok over medium heat. Once warm, add the coconut oil until melted, carefully lifting the pan to evenly distribute the oil.
2. Once the oil is melted, add the onions. After about three minutes, stir in the broccoli.
3. After about five to seven minutes, or when the broccoli starts to become tender and the onions are translucent, add the garlic and hot pepper.
4. Cook for another three to five minutes then stir in the collards, about ½ teaspoon sea salt and fresh black pepper along with the tahini paste. If you need to deglaze the pan, add splashes of water.
5. After another one to three minutes, when the collards start to soften and become a little darker, stir in the tomatoes.
6. Cook another one to three minutes then stir in the fresh herbs. Cook until all the greens are very bright and the tomato skin is a little wrinkly.
7. Serve over a spoonful of quinoa and garnish with avocado and some green onions, if you choose.

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