Need inspiration for cooking spring greens? We’ve got you covered, by Emily Kerrigan.

It is around this time of year that we start to see spring greens appear on the supermarket shelves.

There can be confusion surrounding the name itself — some take ‘spring greens’ to mean any seasonal green veg, whereas the moniker belongs specifically to a variety of cabbage that can be picked on British soil from April onwards.

Spring greens are harvested when the plants are tender and immature. A bright, fresh green colour, they are tall with loose heads and soft leaves.

You often find them ready shredded and packaged but it takes only moments to prepare them yourself, gently rinsing in water, trimming, removing the outer leaves and finely slicing.

They’re rich in folate, vitamin C and A, plus a source of vitamin B6, iron and calcium.

And if you’re not quite sure how to enjoy them, try one of the five ways below.

1. Lemony spring greens

Zest and juice a lemon, mix with a crushed clove of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

Gently cook the greens for 5 minutes in a pan of simmering water, drain and coat in the lemon dressing whilst hot.

2. Greens pasta

Crush a clove of garlic and cook gently in a little olive oil in a pan with half a finely chopped, deseeded red chilli.

Add sliced spring greens and cook until tender with a little bite.

Mix cooked pasta, adding plenty of chopped flat leaf parsley.

3. Ribollita

Sauté an onion, crushed garlic clove, peeled and chopped carrot, and chopped celery in a pan until soft.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook on a low heat until reduced (about 10 minutes).

Add a tin of drained white beans, shredded spring greens and 1.5 litres of stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with chopped flat leaf parsley and good quality bread to dip in the soup.

4. Green chilli fried rice

Heat a little sesame oil in a pan, add a crushed garlic clove, half a finely chopped, deseeded green chilli and grated fresh ginger.

Tip in one or two handfuls of finely shredded spring greens and gently stir until they have wilted.

Add cooked brown rice, mix and warm through.

5. Green tortellini in broth

Sauté an onion and chopped celery in a little olive oil until soft.

Add a litre of stock and simmer.

Throw in a handful of shredded spring greens and another of frozen peas.

Add a pack of fresh spinach tortellini and cook for 5 minutes before ladling into bowls.

Enjoyed this article?

Read about what might happen if we taxed meat

For articles and recipes subscribe to the Optimum Nutrition newsletter

Discover our courses in nutrition