As we enter the Spring Season here in the Northern Hemisphere it’s the perfect time to start adding more leafy greens to your diet. In addition to adding a healthy dose of nutrients & antioxidants to your body, leafy greens also help to nourish the liver and support detoxification.
Of course I’m a fan of big yummy, colorful salads, like this Nourish Bowl recipe, or my Favorite Kale Salad recipe, or this delicious Lemon Arugula Salad, but actually there are many ways you can add more greens to your diet.
You can add a big handful of greens to your smoothie or use them in your fresh juice. Greens are delicious mixed with eggs in a scramble, omelet, frittata, or quiche. They easily wilt into any soup or stew. And work well in a stir-fry.
There are many types of leafy greens to choose from; here are a sampling:
- Swiss Chard
- Bok Choy
- Mustard Greens
- Dandelion Leaves
- Fresh Herbs…like Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, & Mint
- Plus all the various Lettuce Greens
Leafy greens are one of my “Top 10 Anticancer Power Foods” because they do A LOT to support healing & prevent cancer from growing. Here are just some of the anticancer benefits from eating leafy greens:
- Neutralizes free radicals preventing them from causing DNA damage
- Boosts the immune system
- Suppresses cancer cell growth
- Stimulates cancer cell death
- Lowers inflammation
- Inhibits angiogenesis
- Supports detoxification
- Repairs DNA & stimulates production of new cells
Make it a goal to eat at least 2 servings of leafy greens every day; 1 serving = 1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked, or ¼ cup pesto. 🙌 One of my favorite ways to get more greens…along with healthy fats…is with a homemade pesto.
Once I started making my own pesto it was really hard to go back to store bought. The flavor is unbeatable and the best part is you can mix up the ingredients with many different options, allowing you to adapt the recipe all year long to different greens that might be available.
The basic recipe is as follows: 3 cups herbs or greens + 1 cup olive oil + 2 garlic cloves + ¼-½ cup seeds or nuts + ½ tsp sea salt. That’s it! Super simple, right?
Here’s my recipe for a classic vegan pesto with some extra leafy green goodness!
Vegan Basil Spinach Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ tsp sea salt
In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients and process until thick and creamy; this usually only takes a couple of minutes. If you’d like it to be a bit thinner just add more olive oil.
Storage: Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. This is handy if you’re able to harvest a big batch of basil in the summer. Whip up some pesto and store in the freezer in order to enjoy homemade pesto all year long. 😋
Variations: Don’t be afraid to try new and interesting combinations. Herbal pesto is a great way to add in more healing foods. Here are some ingredients you can mix and match.
- Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, arugula
- Greens: spinach, chard, baby kale, mache, or even mixed salad greens
- Other Herbs: dandelion leaf, mustard greens, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, etc. (any of these would be great to add in just add them as a compliment to the other herbs/greens listed above, not as a substitute because they add a much stronger flavor to the pesto)
- Nuts & Seeds: pine nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
I can’t wait to hear what you try. Give it a go and let me know what your favorite combination is.
This recipe + 99 more easy, delicious, and nourishing recipes can be found in my new book: The Cancer Diet Cookbook.