Just in time for summer and all things green and leafy, Nava Atlas has a new greens cookbook out, entitled, appropriately, Wild About Greens. Before I start to rave all over this book, I must reveal my bias and tell you that this is the third cookbook that I’ve photographed for Nava. I shot the cover photo and the 8 photos in the color insert, so not only do I like the book because I had a hand (a very small hand) in creating it, but also because I’ve had a chance to sample a dozen of the recipes (and even contributed one) and found them all scrumptious.
Most of us know the nutrient power of greens and are trying to add more of them to our meals, and Wild About Greens delivers 125 different ways to cook them, as well as ample information about the various types of greens, from A (arugula) to W (watercress). My favorite section of the book is “An Introduction to Leafy Greens,” in which Nava’s detailed drawings of 18 different types of greens appear next to her descriptions and cooking recommendations for each one. (This section is helpfully printed on a light green background, making it very easy to locate for quick reference.) The main part of the book, the recipe section, is divided into six chapters: Basic Preparations for Leafy Greens; Greens with Beans, Grains, Pasta & Other Vegetables; Salads, Dressings & Dips; Greens in Soups & Stews; and Green Juices & Smoothies. Almost all of the recipes are quick and easy, and though most do contain oil, the amounts are small and those of us who are used to cooking without it can easily substitute something else or simply leave it out.
Before I made the following vegan potato salad recipe, I hadn’t cooked a lot with either arugula or purple potatoes. I was surprised to find that I loved baby arugula’s “bold but not bitter” flavor (Nava’s words) as a change from the spinach that I usually throw into salads and hot dishes. I wasn’t able to find blue potatoes at this time of year, but I did find purple sweet potatoes at The Fresh Market, a chain of “fancy” grocery stores, and I loved them in this salad. Their sweetness was mid-way between the sweetness of the yellow potatoes and the orange sweet potatoes, making every bite a surprise. Use them if you can find them, but if they’re unavailable, just use more sweet potatoes.
Nava's Three Potato Salad with Arugula
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 3 medium blue or purple potatoes
- 2 medium yellow potatoes
- 2 celery stalks , thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper , finely diced
- 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives or sun-dried tomatoes , sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or substitute , see notes
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 big handfuls baby arugula leaves , rinsed, stemmed, and chopped or baby arugula leaves, rinsed
- Toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds for topping, as desired
- Cook, bake, or microwave the three kinds of potatoes until done but still nice and firm. Plunge into cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice.
- Combine the potatoes in a mixing bowl with the celery, bell pepper, olives, olive oil, vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper. Stir together gently.
- Stir half of the arugula in with the potatoes and line a serving platter with the rest. Mound the potato salad onto the platter, and scatter the seeds over the top. Serve at once.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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