I’m in the middle of a love affair . . . with kale. That’s why I was thrilled to find this recipe for Easy Greens Pie in the Garden-Fresh Cookbook.
Recipes that allow me to indulge in my kale obsession have become several-times-a-week occurrences in my house. What’s strange is that I’m a recent kale convert: I knew kale existed, of course, but when buying leafy greens, I always tended toward spinach or arugula. A couple of months ago, fellow Almanac cooking blogger Emily Adamson suggested that kale and I spend some time together. Since then, we’ve been virtually inseparable.
Kale is a superfood, full of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Low in calories and exceedingly versatile, it’s easy to work into a lot of different recipes. I’ve used it in soups, salads (try it instead of or mixed with other greens), pasta sauces, smoothies, and even to add a healthy boost to comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and stuffed potato skins.
If you’re not a kale fan, Easy Greens Pie can be made with almost any type or a mixture of greens. Pick your favorite! This recipe makes a delicious dish that made me think of it as “quiche without the complications”—no pie shell, heavy cream, or long list of ingredients.
If you’re feeling adventurous, though, the recipe can be easily modified for additional herbs, spices, veggies, or protein. For example, I added half of a red pepper (sautéed lightly with the onions), two pieces of crumbled bacon, and a dash of cayenne pepper. I chose ricotta over cottage cheese, giving the final dish a very smooth, almost creamy texture.
Easy Greens Pie
(from page 122 of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook)
Use escarole, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, or any other greens you like.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped, blanched, and squeezed greens (see tip below)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese, drained,* or 2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2-1/2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add the greens and continue cooking until warmed through. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cottage (or ricotta) cheese, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the cooked greens and stir to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Variation: Substitute 2/3 cup of cooked, chopped asparagus for the greens and add 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon with the Parmesan cheese.
*For best results, drain the cottage cheese in a coffee filter over a small bowl for 30 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the moisture in the cottage cheese.
How to Blanch Greens
Place the greens in boiling water for 2 minutes, then remove, place in a colander, and plunge immediately under cold running water or into a pot of iced water for 2 minutes. Drain. This process sets the color and flavor, especially before freezing.
Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade. Like the Almanac she strives to be "useful, with a pleasant degree of humor."