Nutrient-rich and deeply flavored, dark leafy greens are a versatile cold-weather ingredient. Kale, chard, spinach, and more are as delicious as they are healthy. While other produce fades away as summer gives way to fall and winter, they are bountiful well into the colder months. From spinach-artichoke dip to kale salad, we've rounded up our favorite recipes for winter greens.
Take a cue from Popeye and eat more spinach. This mild green is great in all sorts of dishes. For a creamy appetizer, try our spinach-artichoke dip made with a decadent combination of parmesan, mozzarella, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. On the healthier side is egg drop soup upgraded from takeout status with the addition of spinach and edamame.
Heartier than spinach, chard is another delicious green. Try sautéing it with onions, mushrooms, and sweet corn to make a satisfying vegetarian taco filling. Or go with hortopita, a Greek pie of phyllo (homemade or store-bought) layered with Swiss chard, herbs, and feta.
Kale has enjoyed fad status in recent years, but it's more than a passing trend. Raw, it adds a pleasant bite to salad made with shredded Brussels sprouts or arugula and roasted butternut squash. It can also be stewed, sautéed, or baked into addictively crispy chips.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of winter greens recipes.
This epic Genoese tart, filled with swiss chard, was traditionally made with 33 layers of dough—one for each year of Christ’s life.
Jenn Louis learned this recipe from home cook Gianna Messina in the Trentino-Alto Adige town of Trento. Near Italy’s border with Austria, the food takes on a distinctly Teutonic bent with spätzli, a close Italian cousin of German spätzle. Louis’ spiced, citrus-laced pangrattato, or bread crumbs, provide a welcome crunch and bright pop of flavor to this dish.
Spinach, Chive, and Yogurt Soup with Grilled Scallions
This green cocktail combines kale-infused rum with a housemade green harissa syrup, which adds sugar for balance and a hint of jalapeño for pop.
Kale takes on a crispy, addictive texture when drizzled with olive oil and baked. Try these chips tossed into salads, crushed and sprinkled on popcorn, or used to garnish finished dishes—if you can keep from eating them all immediately. Get the recipe for Kale Chips
It’s not hard to love North Indian saag paneer—meltingly soft spinach strewn with chunks of mild paneer, or fresh cheese—especially when scooped up with hot flatbread. Saag just means greens in Hindi, and though spinach is usually used in the U.S., in India saag paneer is also made with mustard, collard, fenugreek, or beet greens, and even amaranth or purslane. —Margo True Get the recipe for Saag Paneer (Spinach with Fresh Indian Cheese) »
Writer Isabel Gillies tosses together this summery dish with cod fresh from the Maine shoreline and seasonal garden greens. Rainbow chard, bibb lettuce, spring peas, and fresh herbs contrast with the richness of butter-basted pan-seared cod. Get the recipe for Pan-Seared Cod with Spring Vegetables »
Don’t limit traditional pie spices—clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg—to the dessert table. In this cheesy, rich gratin, the spices take a savory note alongside kale, sweet potatoes, and sharp white cheddar.
Garlicky hunks of potato are mixed with wilted Swiss chard in this quick Croatian side dish.
This quick, zesty kale salad from Florida chef Jeffery Jew gets a decadent touch from rich pine nuts and ribbons of parmesan cheese.
This casserole combines sardines with a creamy Swiss chard and a layer of crunchy bread crumbs.
This is a pasta dish of strong flavors: Dark, earthy kale is offset by bright lemon cream and a warm, aromatic heat from crushed red chiles and garlic.
This creamy dish from Toronto-based Indian cookbook author Smita Chandra makes a phenomenal spread, with oven-baked naan bread on the side. It’s made with the fresh Indian cheese called paneer, peas, and whole peeled tomatoes, along with plenty of tangy fresh fenugreek greens, and it’s spiced lavishly with turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and more. If you can’t find fenugreek greens, kale, Swiss chard, or another green can be substituted.
The leaves of cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale) cook slowly into a luscious heap when braised whole.
Asian Greens with Garlic Sauce
Wild Greens with Fried Eggs (Horta me Avga Tiganita)
These fragrant collards are cooked with an Ethiopian-style spiced butter flavored with cardamom, fenugreek, and nigella seeds.
Author Roberta Corradin’s mother, Lucia Gros Corradin, serves these ravioli in chicken or veal broth.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
Utica greens, named for the New York town where Italian factory workers settled in the 1900s, is a sauté of escarole, bread crumbs, potatoes, and hot peppers.
In this simple, elegant salad, the spicy flavor of thinly sliced raw kale is offset by creamy Pecorino cheese, bright lemon, and sweet-tart dried currants.
Kale and fennel lend a unique sweetness to these briny puff pastry tarts. They’re perfect as appetizers, savory breakfasts, or as an accompaniment to a bowl of warm, wintry soup.
A spicy ginger kick and the subtle, unmistakably grassy sweetness of kale elevates this vegetal variation on the margarita, from the New York City bar The Wayland.
In Corsica, these herb-packed cheese dumplings showcase the wild greens of the island and make a great starter course to a summer meal.
Almost any vegetable can be substituted for spinach in this vegetarian appetizer sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. In Georgia, roasted beet and green bean versions are common.