Almost Turkish Recipes

Greens and Grains (Yeşil Yapraklılar ve Tahıllar)


We're transforming a Turkish classic: In Turkey, a traditional winter favorite is spinach cooked with onions, peppers, or tomato paste, and served with rice alongside a dollop of creamy yogurt. However, since I moved to the United States, I've taken this beloved dish and given it a twist by incorporating a variety of greens and grains. I now experiment with spinach, chard, beet greens (of course I keep my beet greens), kale, and even collard greens, pairing them with bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, buckwheat, and more. The result? A delightful medley of flavors and textures that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner, and it is vegan. 
Sometimes, I venture to the local farmers' market to pick the freshest greens available, but on other occasions, the convenience of a 1.5 lb bag of power greens or baby spinach from Costco comes to the rescue, allowing me to whip up a delicious meal in just 30 minutes. The possibilities are endless—select your preferred combination of greens and grains and give it a try. Whether you opt for a plain or garlicky yogurt accompaniment, you're in for a green treat. 

(For the dish in the picture I used Costco power greens and coarse bulgur.)
1-1.5 lb greens of your choice
1/4 cup of grain of your choice
1 biggish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato or hot pepper paste
salt/pepper/red pepper flakes
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped fresh pepper (I love using sweet Italian red peppers but just like anything else, you can choose yours) 
And yogurt for serving

-Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 6-7 minutes until they become translucent and tender, but not browned.
-If you're using bell peppers, add them to the pot along with the minced garlic. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Stir in the tomato or pepper paste and cook for an additional 1 minute to enhance the flavors.
-Begin adding the greens in small batches, allowing each batch to wilt before adding more. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes until the greens darken in color and become tender.
-Add your chosen grain to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. (Avoid using brown rice due to its longer cooking time; if you must, use pre-cooked brown rice.)
-Pour in the hot water and season with salt and black pepper to your taste. If you like a bit of heat, don't hesitate to sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
-Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the mixture simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the grain is cooked and has absorbed most of the liquid.
-Serve your delicious greens and grains dish with a side of yogurt. While I personally love mixing the cooked greens with yogurt, some enjoy it plain. 

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