Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wild About Greens and Curried Chickpeas with Sweet potatoes and Collards

Last week I learned about a new cookbook from of all places…Fox News. Don’t be mistaken. I am not NOT a follower of anything Fox. However, a friend posted an article about veganism they published (I’ll spare you the trouble, it wasn’t all that flattering of an article, although considering the source it wasn’t terrible either) and Nava Atlas, the vegan cookbook author extraordinaire, was featured in it.  At the bottom, it mentioned she had a new book out called Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves. I messaged a close friend asking if they had heard of it and a week later that very special friend gave me the book as a birthday present. I can assure you all that this is one present that will be getting a lot of use!

Having now read Wild About Greens from cover to cover I can say this is easily one of my favorite cookbooks. The first 25 pages gives short “biographical” sketches about each of the main greens featured throughout the book. Here you will find blurbs about taste and texture for common household named greens like spinach and kale as well as a few more rare treats such as escarole and dandelion greens. Nava Atlas also included a quick recipe finder in this section to spare the reader from having to search aimlessly in the index for recipes for specific greens. (Note: I’m not actually so sure how much more helpful this is then the index, but it’s a nice touch). Unlike other cookbooks I have, Atlas chose to only use relatively easy to find greens (all the greens in this book are commonly found in grocery stores, health stores, and CSA’s) in her recipes, this is a particularly appealing aspect of the book.

After this introduction to the greens, come her amazing recipes. If you are familiar with her other work, all of the recipes in this book sound as amazing as her more classic ones. The book is broken down into Basic Preparations; Greens with Beans, Grains, Pasta & Other Vegetables; Salads, Dressings & Dips; Greens in Soups & Stews; and concludes with a short section on Green Juices & Smoothies.

The book is well written and the directions are easy to follow. So far I’ve made a few recipes all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but down below I decided to share my favorite!

There are two negatives in this otherwise excellent book. My first compliant is that the book was published in China. This just seems completely unnecessary with so many US printers. My second compliant is the lack of photos of the prepared food. Often times, I flip through a cookbook without reading a single word but instead just glance for the pictures that look appealing. This book, however, only offers 8 high definition photos found in the middle of the book. Still if you are looking to increase your intake of veggies, particularly of nutrient-dense greens, this is a must have cookbook!

Here is a remarkable recipe, which I altered just slightly. It is high in protein as well as vitamins and minerals. While I enjoyed it immensely in 90+ degree heat of the summer, I think it would really go-over well in the autumn and winter seasons.

Curried Sweet Potatoes with Chard & Chickpeas (4 servings)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into chunks
1 16-20 oz can of chickpeas (I used 2/3 cup of dried chickpeas which I cooked ahead of time)
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 scallions (I used green onion)
8 to 12 oz of chard (I used collards)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup raisins
cilantro or parsley and salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the garlic over low heat until golden. Then add the sweet potato with 1½ cups of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes until they are tender. (I think if you prebake the sweet potatoes you can skip this step and save about 12 minutes of cooking time).

After most of the water has been cooked off and the sweet potatoes are tender, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions, curry powder, ginger, and cumin and bring the mixture to a simmer again; cook over low heat for 10 minutes or so until the tomatoes have been reduced to a sauce and the flavors have mingled.

Meanwhile, strip or cut the chard leaves (collards) away from their stems. Slice the leaves into strips.

Add the greens to the skillet and cook briefly, just until the greens begin to wilt. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and optional raisins. I highly recommend the raisins. The sweet and spicy combination made this dish phenomenal!

                          (yes, I consider this a single portion)

Now besides swapping chard for collards, I also added freshly crushed red pepper seeds to the mixture as well as ½ cup cooked buckwheat that I had left over. While the dish certainly doesn’t need it, I couldn’t imagine making this again in the future without it! Finally I served the entire dish over fresh spinach adding just a little extra something special.



  1. Mad my parents this (non vegans) and they loved it! Then we watched Forks Over Knives and they're trying to cut down on meat!

  2. hey kat,
    that is absolutely awesome! I actually just spent the weekend with the Forks Over Knives group (Dr. Cambell, Dr. Esselstyn, Rip ect). The evidence is overwhelming. Stop the Meat and Dairy and greatly reduce and restrict oil and sodium and the body will begin remaking itself.
    Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  3. making this for some non-vegan friends this weekend. Looks great!