You don’t have to love greens to be vegan, and even the die-hard fans of dark leafy greens can get bored of kale. However, it’s important to work them into your diet, as they provide essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, fiber, and more. Instead of forcing yourself to swallow another bite of steamed spinach, revamp your preparation. From simple yet crave-worthy salads to kale-infused ice cream, you’ll want to stock up your produce drawer to make these 10 fantastic recipes.
1. Gomen by Browsers Grazers
While wonderful on its own, this dish is best enjoyed when scooped up with spongy injera—an Ethiopian flatbread. These Ethiopian collard greens are simply made by sautéeing the leaves with a few key spices such as cardamom and fenugreek. Don’t worry about purchasing spices that aren’t in your cooking arsenal; you’ll quickly go through them as you make these greens again and again.
2. 5-Step Kale Salad by Healthy Happy Life
Even the truly kale-averse will want a trough-sized portion of this salad. A combination of massaging the kale and marinating it in a luxuriously creamy, slightly sweet tahini maple dressing breaks down the tough fibers and transforms the greens into a pleasure to eat. Beyond the flavor-bomb of a dressing, the salad is comprised of other tasty elements including fatty avocado, sweet shredded carrots, and sharp raw onions for texture and a bit of bite.
3. Peanut Collard Greens by LeAnne Campbell
Unless you’re allergic—in which case, we feel for you—virtually everything is better with peanut butter. These tender collards are dressed in the best oil-free peanut sauce and served over a scrumptious bed of sticky-sweet roasted plantains. With so many different textures and flavors, it will take a long while to get tired of this African-inspired side dish.
4. Classic Green Monster Smoothie by Oh She Glows
Blogger and best-selling cookbook author Angela Liddon may not be able to prove she invented the green smoothie, but she was posting these “Green Monster” smoothie recipes far before smoothie shops dared to put spinach in their drinks, and well ahead of the juice bar trend. This basic, antioxidant-packed smoothie is the gateway to all things green. It may look like a monster, but it tastes like a milkshake.
5. Super Simple Green Soup by The Full Helping
It’s true about what contestants say on cooking shows—if you don’t like an ingredient, blend it. The act of blitzing a food into oblivion with other ingredients transforms it into something new and surprisingly delicious. This thick, immune-boosting soup disguises a wheelbarrow-full of greens by making potatoes and garlic the star. As much as you’ll want to chug this down, be careful—it’s hot!
6. Swiss Chard Gratin by From Scratch Fast
Green-based sides are generally light, but this recipe breaks the mold. It’s rich, indulgent, and worthy of a celebration—or just a typical Tuesday. Earthy swiss chard becomes decadently silky when baked in a bechamel of full-fat coconut milk and topped with crunchy, gluten-free breadcrumbs. While technically a side, this recipe eats like a meal.
7. Kale Cookies + Cream Ice Cream by Chloe Coscarelli
We wouldn’t advise swapping your salad for a scoop of this kale-infused vegan ice cream, but it’s just too iconic to leave out. Invented by vegan chef darling Chloe Coscarelli and adapted by the fast-casual chain By CHLOE, this sweet green treat is the best cookies and cream variation you’ll ever eat.
8. Green Breakfast Chia Pudding by Veggies Save the Day
Tired of packing your morning greens into smoothies? Try a greens-infused breakfast pudding. Simply make your own “green milk” by blending a few handfuls of spinach with your favorite plant milk and dates. Soak a spoonful of chia seeds in this nutrient-dense concoction and an hour later, you’ll have a surprisingly delicious breakfast of good-for-you-greens. A tip for parents: kids love this.
9. Simple Arugula Salad by My Whole Food Life
Arugula can add a fresh, biting element atop pizza or in a pesto, but some find it a bit too peppery to use as the singular base for a salad. This genius recipe tames the flavor by combining raw arugula with creamy avocado, sweet corn kernels, crunchy pepitas, and juicy cherry tomatoes. The entire bowl is tossed with a simple-yet-addictive maple and olive oil dressing to fuse all the elements into a salad you’ll crave every night.
10. Palak Paneer by Carrie Weldy
When in doubt, make a sauce. This rich green curry is made with six cups of iron-packed spinach, but all you taste is the velvety smooth, spiced coconut milk base with just the right amount of earthiness. Use it to drown crispy tofu and enjoy with a side of roti or vegan naan.
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: LeAnne Campbell, Ph.D.