Kale, we’ll always be friends, but …

This isn’t forever. It’s just time to take a break. There’s an entire world of leafy greens out there to discover, and though certain varieties have had a good run (looking at you, kale), the two or three most common choices are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. There’s an enormous range of flavor, and some veggies — escarole, for instance — taste different according to which part of the plant you’re using. With escarole, the green outer leaves are bitter while the white inner ribs and heart are mild. The versatility extends to cooking techniques as well. Greens can be sautéed, cooked with other ingredients, served raw and even grilled. Green means go, and there are plenty of ways to get more greens into your everyday meals.

As old as time, as fresh as today.

Humans have been eating greens for millennia. Depending on the time and place, greens can be a seasonal food or year-round staple. Some greens tolerate frost, which can extend their local availability into late fall or even early winter. And note, not all greens grow on land. Watercress, shown here on the far right, grows in or near freshwater springs and streams. Like all vegetables, the different varieties of greens support active, healthy living in different ways. But in general, leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant-based micronutrients.

Getting to the top of this.

When most people today think of beets, the part of the plant that comes to mind is the root. However, in the ancient world the plant was grown for its leaves, and it wasn’t until more recent centuries that the root was cultivated as a food source.

So what makes the beet greens such a super food for the ages? The leafy greens are packed with Vitamins A, B, C and K along with the minerals potassium, calcium, manganese and magnesium. Best of all, beets are often sold with the leaves and roots still attached, a 2-for-1 veggie combo that can serve as the basis for a well-rounded dinner.

Simply delicious.

If you browse the Just BARE Chicken online recipe collection, you’ll see a category called Contest Recipe under Recipe Source. These recipes were developed by home chefs for our Just 5 Cooking Challenges, a contest that asked amateur chefs to create healthy, delicious meals made with five or fewer ingredients.

Anne L. of Hugo, Minnesota was a finalist with her recipe for Roasted Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Honey Pecan Beets & Harvest Greens. It perfectly demonstrates the advantages of buying beets with their leaves attached. Beet roots, chopped pecans and chicken thighs are roasted in the oven, and the greens and stems are quickly blanched in boiling water.

Search for more recipes on Our Kitchen.