Greens Goodness! Greek Greens & Beans

Inspired by the wild greens foraging all over Greece, this is a typical seasonal dish. You go for a hike with a small knife and a large bag and collect whatever's growing in the wild. When you get home, you look at what's growing in your garden and what you've accumulated in your pantry, and that's what goes into the big cookpot for dinner. That's the traditional Greek Heritage Cooking in Greece. It's not that easy here in the United States. Most of us have grocery stores and in-season farmers' markets available to us. In the South, some people who've had the knowledge shared with them, are also able to forage, but that's not most of us.

Inspired by the bounty at my local grocery store, instead of scouring the woodland trails near my home, I assembled a big reusable bag full of greens and beans for this simple vegan dish. It's loaded with nutrition and color and fiber and big flavors. To keep it Greek, grab a thick slice of bread to dunk into the pot juices on your plate and add a chunk or two of authentic Feta cheese, which must be made using sheep or sheep & goat milk. You have to read those labels.

This is a dish that's good with any greens combination. I like red chard, turnip greens and even zucchini. It's easy in preparation and in eating as a one-pot weeknight dinner, but also pleasant to eat at room temperature, so don't be afraid to pack it for a picnic or work lunch. 

No recipe? Well, this is almost one of my "no recipe" recipes, but don't panic! Here's my recipe with quantities and instructions.

Why so much olive oil? Well, it's good for you, a.k.a. polyphenols, but it also combines with the pan juices from the greens and tomatoes to make a beautiful emulsified sauce. And it tastes great when it's delivered to your mouth by a freshly baked piece of bread. Yes, that's what the bread is for--dunking.

Short story about loving bread. A neighbor of Ukrainian heritage recently confessed that "When Ukrainians sit down to eat, it's with a fork in one hand and a piece of bread in the other." The same goes for Greeks!

What I foraged at my local grocery store. Green goodness!

I love beans, but not everyone does. Replace the beans with rice or quinoa or farro.

Almost ready to serve.


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