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For Beginners: 24 Ways to Add Leafy Greens to Your Favorite Comfort Foods

It’s January and it seems like everyone has healthy eating on their minds. Green smoothies are all the rage. Kale has taken over the food world. Have you jumped on board yet? It can be a little intimidating to know where to get started or to know all the ways to add leafy greens to your diet. For a long time I was leery of adding greens into my meals simply because I was afraid I wouldn’t like the taste. That’s where comfort foods come to the rescue! Why not start with adding leafy greens to your favorite comfort foods? Familiar territory is always a safe bet when trying out new things.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of sneaking veggies secretly into my kids’ food in hopes that they won’t see them and will gobble up their food. Instead, my hope is that by adding veggies, specifically leafy greens, to some of their favorite meals, they will learn to like the flavor of the vegetables and eventually love them like their parents. I know it’s still scary for some kids – my son has ASD and he’s petrified of a lot of vegetables. So I still have my work cut out for me!

In any case, I’m a big believer in eating your greens and these comfort food recipes are a great place to begin to show you all the easy, delicious ways to add leafy greens to your diet. I’ve included recipes for kale, chard, and spinach, the three adult and kid-friendliest leafy greens out there.

  • 24 Ways to Add Leafy Greens to Your Favorite Comfort Foods 1 of 25
    24 ways to add leafy greens to your diet

    Get ready for some leafy green deliciousness coming your way!

  • Meal-Sized Pork and Black Bean Burritos 2 of 25
    pork black bean burrito-2

    Next time you get a hankering for a big ol' burrito, add in some shredded kale for a big nutrition and flavor boost without adding extra calories or fat.
    Get the recipe for Meal-Sized Pork and Black Bean Burritos on Babble Food. 

  • Roast Chicken and Spinach Panini 3 of 25
    chicken-panini-spinach

    Ramp up your panini by adding fresh spinach. This one is made with roast chicken and piled high with tomatoes, onion, cheese, and a slather of pesto - an easy, quick meal to go along with a bowl of soup for a 30-minute, healthy dinner.
    Get the recipe for Roast Chicken and Spinach Panini

  • Citrus and Berry Kale Smoothie Bowl 4 of 25
    berry citrus kale smoothie bowl-2

    Ditch your straw in favor of a spoon and dig into a fruity kale smoothie bowl filled with delicious berries and orange, and topped with nuts and granola. It's almost like having kale for dessert!
    Get the recipe for Citrus and Berry Kale Smoothie Bowl from Babble Food.

  • Savory Spinach-Lemon White Bean Dip 5 of 25
    white bean spinach dip

    This savory and lemony spinach and white bean dip is perfect for dunking veggies, scooping up on a cracker or chip, or spreading on a piece of bread for a healthy snack.
    Get the recipe for Savory Spinach-Lemon White Bean Dip on Babble Food.
    Photo credit: Kathy Patalsky
    .

  • Vegan Kale and Black Bean Chili 6 of 25
    vegan-kale-and-black-bean-chili

    Add some chopped kale to your favorite chili. It's a great way to start adding leafy greens for beginners or anyone who thinks they don't like kale. (wink, wink)
    Get the recipe for Kale and Black Bean Chili on Babble Food.

  • Spinach and Leek Tart 7 of 25
    spinach and leek tart

    This savory tart is loaded with spinach, leeks, and cheese and is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. (Doesn't that butter crust look irresistible?!)
    Get the recipe for Spinach and Leek Tart on Babble Food.
    Photo credit: Macki West.

  • Kale Strata 8 of 25
    kale-strata

    Strata is a wonderful make-ahead breakfast perfect for weekend brunches or even as a hot breakfast before sending the kids off to school. Adding kale is another great way to start your day with a serving of leafy greens.
    Get the recipe for Kale Strata on Babble Food.
    Picture credit: Elizabeth Stark.

  • Kale Chips 9 of 25
    kale-chips

    Baked kale chips are a crispy, crunchy way to snack on leafy greens. Kids love 'em too! There are so many different ways to make them. You'll have fun deciding which flavor is your favorite.
    Get the recipe for Crispy Kale Chips on Babble Food.
    Photo credit: Julie Van Rosendaal 

  • Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms 10 of 25
    porto-mushrooms-spinach

    Usually when I think of stuffed mushrooms, I think of bite-sized appetizers. These stuffed mushrooms are hearty enough to be a meal. The "meaty" mushroom caps are filled with cheese and spinach for a perfect meatless meal.
    Get the recipe for Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms on Babble Food.
    Photo credit: Angie McGowan.

  • Lentil and Swiss Chard Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas 11 of 25
    lentil and swiss chard tacos

    Taco night gets a healthy makeover with these vegetarian tacos. Filled with spiced lentils and topped with shredded chard, you won't have to feel the least bit guilty having that second (or third!) helping.
    Get the recipe for Lentil and Swiss Chard Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas from Naturally Ella.

  • Chard Stir Fry 12 of 25
    chard stir fry

    Chard is a great addition to any stir fry. This one has noodles and chicken for a delicious, one-skillet hearty meal everyone will love.
    Get the recipe for Chard Stir Fry on Babble Food.
    Photo credit: Macki West.

  • Roast Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna 13 of 25
    kale and squash lasagna

    Tuck some kale between layers of lasagna noodles and add roasted pumpkin, tomatoes, and plenty of cheese and you've got yourself one incredible wintery meal.
    Get the recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna on Mountain Mama Cooks.

  • Swiss Chard Cashew Dip 14 of 25
    swiss chard cashew dip

    This is a fantastic vegan dip recipe my friend Becky made for a cooking class I attended. It blew me away with its flavor. It's creamy and spicy and SO good with fresh veggies for a healthy snack. As soon as I got home from the cooking class, I immediately made a batch of the dip. Oh, man! Words can't express how much I love this dip!
    Get the recipe for Swiss Chard Cashew Dip from Project Domestication.

  • Simple Kale Frittata 15 of 25
    kale-frittata

    Whenever I've had a really busy day, I look to a frittata to save the day as an easy dinner my whole family can enjoy together. I love adding chopped kale (or any leafy green) and serving it up with a side of home fries. It doesn't get much more comforting than that.
    Get the recipe for Simple Kale Frittata.

  • Shepherd’s Pie with Chard and Lentil Filling 16 of 25
    shepherd's pie with chard and lentil filling

    Wine-braised lentils and chard make the perfect vegetarian filling for shepherd's pie, one of my favorite comfort foods.
    Get the recipe for Shepherd's Pie with Chard and Lentil Filling from Eats Well With Others.

  • Baked Beans with Bacon and Chard 17 of 25
    baked beans with bacon and chard

    Beans and greens are a favorite combo of mine, and I am completely in love with the idea of adding chard to sweet and smoky baked beans. Brilliant!
    Get the recipe for Baked Beans with Bacon and Chard from Heather's Dish.

  • Spinach and Sausage Gravy Over Toast 18 of 25
    spinach and sausage gravy

    Sausage gravy is another ultimate comfort food. Traditionally served over biscuits, toast, mashed potatoes, or however else you like it best, add a little spinach for a healthy kick.
    Get the recipe for Spinach and Sausage Gravy from Project Domestication.

  • Baby Chard Brown Rice Fritters 19 of 25
    chard-rice-fritters

    This is a creation from my own kitchen. We eat a lot of Asian food, so we often have tons of leftover rice as a result. I started turning the leftover rice into fritters to eat for breakfast the next day. Normally I add some cheese along with the eggs, but lately I've been adding chopped leafy greens and occasionally sun-dried tomatoes. They are a very satisfying, quick breakfast.
    Get the recipe for Baby Chard Brown Rice Fritters.

  • Tortellini Soup with Pancetta, White Beans and Swiss Chard 20 of 25
    tortellini soup with chard

    One of the easiest and most delicious ways to add leafy greens into your diet is in soup. This hearty tortellini soup is loaded with strips of Swiss chard in addition to white beans and pancetta. 
    Get the recipe for Tortellini Soup with Pancetta, White Beans with Swiss Chard from Cookin' Canuck.

  • Pizza Topped with Kale 21 of 25
    pizza with kale

    Adding kale makes pizza even more addictive than it already is. Give it a quick sauté first to soften it up a bit more if the leaves are tough. This pizza has kale and chard, but any leafy green works.
    Get the recipe for Pizza with Ham, Kale, and Chard.

  • Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas 22 of 25
    chicken and spinach enchiladas

    Another favorite comfort food that always goes well with leafy greens is a pan of enchiladas. These are filled with creamy chicken and spinach. The recipe comes together in a snap!
    Get the recipe for Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas from Recipe Girl.

  • Malfatti (Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings) 23 of 25
    malfatti

    Malfatti essentially means "badly made" in Italian, but I can assure you that this tomato sauce comfort food from my kitchen is anything but. It's so addictive, you find yourself dipping into the casserole dish for one more...then one more...then two more.
    Get the recipe for Malfatti.

  • Sweet Potato and Spinach Macaroni and Cheese 24 of 25
    sweet potato spinach mac and cheese

    I think we can all agree that macaroni and cheese is maybe THE ultimate comfort food. This version uses pureed sweet potato plus several different kinds of cheese for an even creamier sauce, and a few handfuls of spinach tossed in for good measure.  
    Get the recipe for Sweet Potato and Spinach Macaroni and Cheese from Naturally Ella.

  • Wilted Chard Salad with Polenta Croutons 25 of 25
    wilted chard salad

    In this salad, baby chard is tossed with a flavorful warm tomato that slightly wilts it - a new take on other wilted salads that have a warm bacon vinaigrette. The best part, though, is the polenta croutons.
    Get the recipe for Wilted Chard Salad with Polenta Croutons from Cafe Johnsonia.

Read more of Lindsey’s posts on Babble.com or visit Cafe Johnsonia. Keep up with Lindsey on PinterestTwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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