One of my favourite parts about spring is, of course, the joyful return of fresh, local and organic produce. From arugula to spinach to nettles, greens of all kinds are always at the top of my shopping list. Enjoy them in salads, in sandwiches, in stir-fries and even smoothies.
They are delicious fresh (and that’s often the easiest way to use them) but I also love to gently steam or cook them.
Steaming certain vegetables, especially those in the cruciferous family like kale, bok choy and broccoli, can help reduce their goitrogenic effects. This is especially beneficial for anyone with a thyroid condition because goitrogens can diminish our body’s production of thyroid hormones by blocking the thyroid’s iodine uptake.
These bright, gingery, creamy yet remarkably dairy-free greens are a fun and fresh way to get more spring greens into your diet. With this method, I am effectively “steaming” the greens, quickly in a pan, in some of their rinse water and then dressing them in a creamy dairy-free sauce.
This simple combo results in creamed steamed greens that taste surprisingly special, and even—dare I say it—gloriously sinful!
If it seems ironic to talk about “cream” when there is actually no cream in sight in this recipe, you may be excited to discover how well cashews can offer a creamy texture and stand in for cream in many applications.
In my experience, dark greens like kale fare particularly well because this satiny dairy-free cashew cream sauce tames their natural bitterness and makes even devout greens haters sudden fans of these vitamin K-rich veggies.
In addition, this preparation is endlessly adaptable to whatever green veggies you have in your crisper. Not a fan of kale? You might try mild spinach.
Adore more assertive flavours? Consider bolder-tasting partners like Swiss chard or collard greens.
You could also toss this sauce on broccoli, bok choy or Brussels sprouts. Just make sure the vegetables are roughly the same size for an even cook, and you will need to extend the cook time to accommodate these firmer, dense veggies.
Here’s the recipe to use with all your favourite spring greens:
Creamed Greens with Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce (dairy-free)
- 1/2 batch Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce (see below)
- 5 cups packed dark greens of choice, such as kale
- optional: Extra sea salt and/or pepper to taste
Prepare the Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce. This sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
Wash greens well and roughly chop. Add the wet (but not soaking) greens to a medium saucepan and cook over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until they are bright green, stirring frequently to prevent them from sticking or burning.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, add ½ batch of the Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce and toss to combine. The greens should be loose and creamy. If the greens are too thick, add a bit of water or stock to loosen. Serve immediately.
Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce (dairy-free, vegan)
- 2/3 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped finely
- 2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 Tbsp water or more to desired consistency
Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. This takes about 5 minutes in my Vitamix and you may need to use a tamper. If the result is not a creamy, smooth sauce (it is still grainy) or if there isn’t enough liquid for your blender to whip the sauce smooth, you can add additional water (1 to 3 Tbsp is usually sufficient -- add one tablespoon at a time and blend after each). Note: The soak time of your cashews and/or your brand of blender will affect how much water is needed to make this sauce lusciously smooth.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. You may need additional ginger or lemon juice depending on your tastes.
You can also add extra water to turn this from a thicker sauce into more of a thinner dipping sauce.
Life is a plate… Eat up,