Dark greens are full of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C and K.  Here are five ways to integrate them into your next meal.

By Melissa Knific

Wilted Kale Pasta

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook 1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti per package directions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add 1 bunch (about 3/4 lb) stemmed and roughly chopped dinosaur kale. Drain, saving 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and return to pot with 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp each salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Garnish with grated Pecorino-Romano cheese.

Creamed Collard Greens

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook 1 3/4 lbs stemmed and chopped collard greens 3 minutes. Drain and press out most of the liquid. In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter; add 1/3 cup chopped shallots and 3 cloves chopped garlic. Stir in 2 tbsp flour; cook 1 minute. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes, until thickened. Stir in collards.

Sesame Mustard Greens and Shiitake Mushrooms

In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 lb stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms; sauté 7 minutes. Add 2 bunches (about 1 lb) mustard greens, roughly chopped, 1/4 cup water and another 1 tbsp oil; sauté 3 more minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.

Rainbow Chard and Bacon Flatbread

Remove stems from 1 bunch (about 1 1/4 lbs) rainbow chard and slice into 1/2-inch pieces; roughly chop leaves. In a sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat; add stems and sauté 4 minutes. Stir in leaves and 2 cloves sliced garlic; cook another 4 minutes, until tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt. Scatter on a Stonefire garlic naan, along with 2 pieces chopped, cooked bacon and 1/4 cup Fontina cheese. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes, until Fontina is melted.

Spinach and Avocado Salad

In a large bowl, whisk 3 tbsp white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp honey and 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper. Gently toss in 1 package (5 oz) baby spinach with 1 diced avocado, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.