Why not make the most of seasonal green veg and rustle up these tasty dishes? They’ve got super benefits, from supporting your brain to stopping you feeling hungry.
Greens, seeds and cheese tart
This mixed spring green quiche-style tart can be served warm or even cold. The ricotta adds a luxurious touch. Make sure you don’t skimp on the seeds as they give the dish that added crunch.
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 mins
Cooking time: 45-60 mins
Per serving: 314kcal, 18.4g fat – 4.4g saturates – 24.6g carbs, 1.0g sugars, 10.0g protein, 5.5g fibre, 0.4g salt
For the pastry
Brown rice flour 75g
Wholemeal flour 275g, plus extra for dusting
Olive oil 75ml, extra virgin
Avocado oil 75ml
For the filling
Spring greens (such as baby spinach, kale or mustard) 450g
Large eggs 3
Unsweetened almond milk 150ml
Nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan 2tbsp
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
Mixed leaf salad 75-100g, washed
Pumpkin seeds 1tbsp
Sunflower seeds 1tbsp
Golden linseeds 1tbsp
Sprouting beans (such as sprouted mung beans), 1tbsp
For the pastry: Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
Stir together the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Gradually mix in both oils and about 4tbsp water until a rough dough comes together; add more flour or water if it is too wet or too dry.
Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and shape into a ball. Place between two sheets of greaseproof paper and roll the pasty out to ¼cm thickness.
Use it to line the base and sides of a 23cm fluted tart tin, cutting away the excess pastry. Prick all over with a fork and chill in the fridge.
For the filling: Place the greens in a steaming basket. Cover and steam over a half-filled saucepan of simmering water until wilted – about 3-5 mins.
Remove the steamed greens to a colander set in the sink to drain, pressing the greens against the sides of the colander to extract as much water as possible. Turn out onto a board and roughly chop.
Thoroughly beat together the ricotta, eggs, almond milk and nutritional yeast or Parmesan in a bowl. Add the greens and some salt and pepper to taste, beating until just combined.
Spoon into the lined pastry, spreading it out evenly with the back of a damp tablespoon or an offset spatula.
Bake for 45-60 mins until the pastry is cooked through and the filling is set. Remove the tart to a wire rack and allow to cool before turning out.
Top with salad leaves, dollops of ricotta and a sprinkling of seeds and beans to serve.
Health benefit: Mustard greens are packed with phytonutrients, which have powerful antioxidant properties and promote good cell function. They are particularly high in liver-purifying chlorophyll.
Watercress soup with croutons
Vibrant watercress is the ideal green for a simple soup. For a creamy version, swirl in some Greek yogurt or coconut milk.
Preparation and cooking time: 50 min
Per serving: 229kcal, 13.1g fat – 2.8g saturates – 22.9g carbs, 3.7g sugars, 6.3g protein, 4.2g fibre, 0.6g salt
Avocado oil 3tbsp
Large onion 1, chopped
Celery stalks 3, chopped
Garlic cloves 3, finely chopped
Medium floury potato 1, peeled and diced
Bay leaf 1
Vegetable stock 1,250ml
Low-sodium watercress 350g, washed
Lemon ½, juiced
Salt and ground black pepper
Wholemeal bread slices 2, cubed
Baby spinach leaves 4 washed
Heat 1.5tbsp avocado oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and
a pinch of salt, sweating for 6-7 mins.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 mins, stirring frequently. Stir in the potato, bay leaf and stock.
Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer until the potato is soft.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the watercress. Cover with a lid and set aside for 5 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Discard the bay leaf before puréeing the soup with an immersion blender.
Return to a simmer and season with lemon juice,
salt and pepper.
Toss the bread cubes with the remaining 1.5 tbsp avocado oil and some salt and pepper to taste on a rimmed baking tray.
Bake in the oven until golden-brown, about 8-10 mins.
Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with croutons and spinach leaves.
Health benefit: Watercress contains a relatively high proportion of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for improved brain, eye and heart health. It’s also high in isothiocyanates, clinically shown to have cancer-fighting properties.
Stuffed spinach dumplings with sage butter
Soft spinach dumplings are simmered in water and then finished with a warm coconut butter and herb sauce. Sage and spinach are an ideal match for each other, although you could use tarragon instead if you prefer.
Preparation and cooking time: 30 mins
Per serving: 223kcal, 15.9g fat – 9.8g saturates – 13.2g carbs, 2.2g sugars, 8.9g protein, 6.0g fibre, 0.8g salt
For the dumplings
Baby spinach 275g, washed
Stale wholemeal bread 50g, cubed
Almond milk 60 ml
Large egg 1
Parmesan or pecorino 2tbsp, grated
Ground nutmeg 1 pinch
Almond flour or coconut flour 2tbsp, plus extra for dusting
Salt and ground black pepper
Virgin coconut butter or coconut spread 4 tbsp
Garlic ½ clove, minced
Sage leaves 1 handful
For the dumplings: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the spinach leaves and cook for
Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain again, squeeze dry with your hands, and roughly chop. Spread out on kitchen paper.
Soak the bread in a small bowl of the almond milk until soft. Squeeze dry and mash to a paste in a mixing bowl.
Add the chopped greens, egg, ricotta, Parmesan, nutmeg, flour, 1tsp salt and ½tsp black pepper, mixing thoroughly with your hands to combine.
Divide and shape into dumplings using damp hands, arranging on a tray dusted with a little flour.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a simmer. Add the dumplings and cook at a steady simmer until they float, about 6-8 mins, turning them over in the water from time to time with a spoon.
When ready, remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Cover loosely with aluminium foil.
To serve: Melt the coconut butter in a large sauté pan set over a moderate heat until hot. Add the garlic, fry for 15 seconds, and then stir in the sage leaves, frying for a further minute or so until crisp.
Add the dumplings and warm them through in the butter for about 1 min. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.