You hereby have my permission to ignore recipe instructions to toss out the stems of leafy greens like chard and kale: They don’t belong on the culinary Island of Misfit Toys! Instead, thinly slice young, juicy stems and eat them raw, or chop up thicker fibrous stalks and sauté them in olive oil until tender. They’ll turn the frown upside down in the saddest of salads and bolster soups, stews, and even pastas with their intense, grassy flavor.

See a collection of recipes that use leafy green stems »

Carol Blymire is a Washington D.C.-based author.