Pick of the week: Mustard greens 3 ways

When the first crop of early spring greens is ready for harvest, salad is a main event. Fresh spinach, lettuces, arugula and kale fill the stalls at farmers markets before finding their ways to the plates and stomachs of eager buyers. But at this stage in the summer, leafy greens tend to take second stage to more big-ticket items like eggplants, tomatoes, squashes, and peppers. While spinach, arugula, and some lettuce varieties bolt quickly in the summer heat, other leafy greens continue to thrive. Mustard is an example of a green that continues to produce well throughout the entire growing season. While some take exception to its strong, spicy, almost horseradish-like taste, when properly prepared it can be an excellent accessory to other favourite summer vegetables.

Here are three different ways to enjoy this versatile and under-appreciated vegetable.

Note: While summer heat killing off your herbs is typically a melancholic event, in the case of cilantro the gains arguably outweigh the losses, as your plant will provide you its final parting gift of hundreds of fresh coriander seeds. Fresh coriander seeds from the garden feature prominently in all three of these recipes, but coriander seeds (ground or whole) can also be purchased from spice shops.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAAG ALOO WITH MINT CHUTNEY

This is a more traditional (and delicious) version of a Indian-style leafy greens and root vegetable curry dish that we served at our harvest party. This recipe features additional seasonings and soft fingerling potatoes which kick it up a notch, as well as a homemade mint chutney that really takes it to the next level.

Aloo saag

1 cup chopped butternut squash

1 cup chopped fingerling potatoes

4 cups mustard greens, washed and torn (or 2 cups mustard, 2 cups spinach)

1 chopped white onion

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons nigella seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

3 tbsps coconut or olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mint chutney

1/3 cup – ½ cup fresh mint

¼ cup coconut oil or fresh coconut

1 tablespoon fresh coriander seeds

1 hot pepper, sliced (seeds removed for milder chutney)

2 small cherry tomatoes

¼ cup green onion

salt and pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor.

QUINOA MUSTARD FALAFEL IN MUSTARD WRAPS

The recipe for the quinoa falafels is adapted loosely from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet, which features a number great of soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free plant based recipes. Using fresh mustard leaves as a wrap adds a spicy, almost wasabi taste that adds an unusual but excellent flavour to this classic Middle Eastern dish.

Falafel patties

1 can can chickpeas, rinsed (about two cups)

1 cup torn mustard greens, stems removed

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup cooked quinoa, slightly overcooked

3 medium to large cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

1.5 Tbsp tahini

1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut oil for frying

For wraps

Several large mustard green leaves

Chopped tomato, chopped parsley, and chopped cucumber to place inside the wraps

Tzatziki or lemon-tahini sauce to dress the falafels

Lightly fry the onion, garlic, mustard greens and spices on medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes in coconut oil. Add to a food processor along with remaining ingredients. I like to cook the quinoa a little bit longer than usual, as it gets a bit stickier and more closely resembles bulgur. Shape into small patties and place on a baking sheet. If your falafels are not sticking together, you can add a small amount of water. Let sit in the fridge for half an hour.

To cook, apply coconut oil to a frying pan. Fry the patties on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Place patties inside mustard leaves with chopped tomato, parsley, cucumber, and tzatziki or tahini sauce.

Assemble as you would a collard wrap, check out this webpage for instructions.

HEMP MUSTARD PESTO

The spiciness and pungency of mustard greens can work well as the base of pesto. This spread works well on sandwiches, pizzas, pasta dishes, or on grilled summer vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, eggplants, beefsteak tomatoes, or portabella mushrooms.

1 cup hemp seeds

2 cups red mustard green leaves

1 cup basil

Juice from one lemon

2 cloves garlic

2/3 cup hemp oil (or olive oil)

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Use immediately, or spoon into a mason jar and store in the freezer or refrigerator.

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