3 Simple autumn greens

Sauteed kale, onions, grape tomatoes, chickpeas and pine Sauteed kale, onions, grape tomatoes, chickpeas and pine nuts are dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (October 2012) Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

TIP To wash greens, fill a large bowl with cold water and swirl the greens around to dislodge dirt. When they float to the top and come to a standstill, raise greens out of the water. Spin or pat dry.

Greens are the best buy on produce shelves right now: They are plentiful, inexpensive and packed with nutrition. Prewashed greens needn't be washed again at home.

1. KALE WITH CHICKPEAS AND PINE NUTS

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 (16-ounce) bag prewashed kale (10 cups torn)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided

1 pint grape cherry tomatoes

1 (15.5-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 7minutes. Add garlic and cook 1minute. Add kale in batches and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic, tossing frequently, until the kale is wilted and brightly colored, about 4 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic and 2tablespoons olive oil and cook until the tomatoes just begin to split, about 8 to 10 minutes longer. Stir in the pine nuts and remove from heat.

Makes 8 side-dish servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 161 calories, 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2017 mg sodium

2. COLLARD GREENS AND BACON

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1 (16-ounce) bag washed collard greens (about 10 cups)

6 slices center-cut bacon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1. Cook greens in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender; about 10 minutes. Drain and press out excess moisture.

2. Cook bacon in a large saucepan. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towel; add the greens, salt and crushed red pepper to the pot; cook, tossing, until the greens are heated through and tender. Crumble the bacon, toss with the greens and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 65 calories, 5 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 511 mg sodium

3. AUTUMN GREENS, PLUM AND WALNUT SALAD

1/3 cup walnut halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups torn chicory or escarole

3 cups torn Swiss chard

6 Italian plums, quartered

1. Place nuts in a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the nuts just begin to darken and become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. Whisk together salt, mustard, shallot, vinegar and oil. Toss with greens, plums and walnuts. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 157 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 221 mg sodium

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