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Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, Monday, So Good To Me

Rainy days and Mondays don't get me down anymore because 1) it's warm and dry inside, 2) I don't have to start a diet because I'm already eating mostly healthy and portion controlled meals, 3) I've worked physical activity into my lifestyle most days even though it's not my favorite thing to do, and 4) it's Meatless Monday again!

And it just so happens that my all-time favorite, go-to-meal includes Mother Nature's most nutrient dense vegetables, kale or collards.  Remember when "dense" was a bad word and meant you weren't smart.  Now eating nutrient dense is one of the absolutely smartest things you can do.  The consensus is that the secret to a long life and even disease reversal is to eat a diet lower in calories but higher in nutrients.  Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, and kale and collards are at the top of the nutrient dense heap.

Leafy Greens Salad from Whole Foods 

At recent cooking classes and demos I've attended included recipes using kale and other leafy greens, for everything from green smoothies, to slaws or salads (key here is to let the kale sit in the dressing for at least 30 minutes or so to soften it up), and ragouts - which I think is a fancy word for stews.

Oh yes, back to my go-to recipe.  It's a really easy, stove-top, 2-pot, colorful, healthy, nutrient-dense dinner that I hope you'll love as much as I do.  (Leftovers, if any, can be chopped up and added to a salad with a light dressing for a delicious lunch on Tuesday.)

Steamed Greens & Yams with Glazed Tofu
1 bunch kale or collards (ribs and leaves separated)
8 Japanese yams* or another yam/sweet potato, cut in half
1 pkg. extra firm tofu
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
teriyaki glaze:
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
cooking oil spray

In a stockpot with a steamer basket set over about 2" of water add the potatoes, cover the pot, and cook over medium/high heat about 10 minutes.  Add the kale or collard ribs and steam another 4 minutes or so.  Then add the green leaves, steam another minute or two, prick the potatoes with a fork to check that they are tender, then turn off the heat ( lid on).

Mix the glaze ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Slice the tofu into 1/2 thick slices, then in half, and brush glaze on both sides.  Spray a saute pan with oil and then the pan is hot add the tofu slices.  Saute about 5-7 minutes on each side, adding additional glaze if needed.

For each serving place some of the tofu, yams, and greens on a plate, drizzle with additional glaze, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Post Script:  The rain has stopped, the sun is out, all is good.


  1. Beautiful photo and it sounds delicious! When I saw Japanese yams in the ingredient list I thought these were the Okinawa yams and wondered why they didn't look purple; glad you provided the link to the different kinds of yams.
    Very nice method of steaming everything together. I didn't realize that collards could steam so quickly.
    In the glaze, did you add the soy sauce because the teriyaki mixture needed more salt? Or was it for color?

  2. Thanks for the compliments. I use a little lite soy to stretch out the glaze and cut down a little on the sweetness of the teriyaki. Any sauce you like will work - it's the combination of the greens and the yams and the tofu that is so good that the glaze is like the icing on a cake.

  3. I like the way you planned for left overs. A very good idea. I also appreciated the "icing on a cake" phrase, very catchy for a SLICE of tofu. Good recipes, pretty picture, sage advice what could be better than that?