Before the beets there was lacinato kale. There was also red chard, Swiss chard and rainbow chard.
In fact, we’ve had almost every dark green leafy vegetable that summer could possibly produce come into our kitchen via the CSA box. It’s been quite interesting… did you know that the LEAVES of the broccoli plant are edible? And guess how you cook them – just like every other green!
Coming up with a staple recipe that could handle them all has been top priority, otherwise a good chunk of my money would be going into the trash can every week.
Besides, I need to have a plan for all the frozen beet greens in my freezer, right?
The next week I offered my recipe experiment to Mr. Crumbs and asked him the standard questions:
So what do you think – can I make it again? If I made it again, would you eat it?
He answered as he was shoveling the last bite on his plate into his mouth to make room for a second helping. Although the answer wasn’t 100% clear, I’m pretty sure sounded like “Oh yes – this is really good!”
Side Note to the Wives: This is the same man that used to live on Coke and Hot Pockets. He once hated every vegetable but green beans and corn, and now he willingly eats every vegetable under the sun. If you’re trying to get the family on board with real food, don’t give up! Take it nice and slow and they’ll eventually come around!
I’ll admit though, it’s hard to make a recipe taste bad when bacon is involved. Don’t you agree?
I’ve decided to call this dish Savory Pasta with Onions, Bacon and Greens. It’s not the shortest of titles, nor the most creative, but it’s accurate. And this meal is way good, so feel free to call it whatever you want. “Yum in a bowl” works too.
Like Creamy Squash Pasta Bake is comfort food in the winter, Savory Pasta with Onions, Bacon and Greens is comfort food in the summer. It fills the belly, warms the soul and makes your mouth feel like it just left the coolest party on the block. It’s really no wonder why we’ve been eating it every week for the past two months!
This is seriously one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make and with four simple ingredients you likely have on hand, it’s one of those recipes you can turn to when you’re in a pinch for a quick meal or when everything in the fridge looks unappetizing.
Do you see the goodness in that bowl?
- Bacon. Yum.
- Onion. Thin slices caramelized in savory bacon grease to make a vegetable so sweet, it could be served for dessert.
- Greens. Super healthy, super cheap and you can use whichever kind you like best because this recipe is super flexible.
- Pasta. An affordable real food staple. Whether you like whole grain or durum, choose pasta that is NOT enriched with synthetic chemicals.
Finally, this recipe can be made with one hand tied behind your back… or for some of you, while you’re nursing a baby, answering the phone, untangling toddlers from beneath your legs or just trying to stay awake long enough to eat dinner.
Helpful tip: Set a timer for the pasta and set the heat for the veggies on low. You’ll be just fine.
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 large onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter or additional bacon grease (optional)
- 1 lb summer greens (any chard, any kale or beet greens), washed and sliced into 1" pieces
- 8 oz favorite pasta (Mr. Crumbs likes spaghetti, but I liked shells best)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a heavy bottomed skillet, cook bacon until almost crispy. Remove bacon from the pan but leave the grease. Add onion and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain.
- Add the summer greens and cook until onions are caramelized and greens are wilted and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add butter or additional bacon grease if the onions and greens seem dry.
- Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Add finished onion/chard and bacon to pasta and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Additional Recipe Options
Bacon. This recipe is SO versatile. You can easily reduce the amount of bacon you use to as little as you have, or even none at all if funds are low or if your husband accidentally ate it all. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want that bacon flavor, so be sure to start off with a good 2-4 Tbsp of bacon grease to caramelize the onions.
Pasta. We’ve tried this recipe with spaghetti, elbow and shell pasta – you really can’t go wrong no matter what you choose. Do you ever end up with one cup of this noodle and half a cup of that noodle… no thanks to the myriad pasta salad recipes you’re making this summer? Use them up in this dish! No one will notice, or care. They’ll be too busy eating it up!
Greens. If you’re new to dark leafy greens, chard has the mildest flavor of them all. Beet greens have the strongest and kale falls in the middle. If your family loves greens, feel free to double the quantity!
This recipe is just enough for dinner for a family of four. If you want leftovers or have hearty eaters, double the recipe. Feel free to leave the amount of bacon the same – just add more bacon grease to start.
If you’re feeling fancy, add a couple of shavings of Parmesan cheese. Totally optional, of course.
- Bacon: $1.50
- Onion: $0.25
- Greens: $1
- Pasta: $0.50
- Garlic powder, salt & pepper: $0.10
As written, this entire recipe costs $3.35.
If you omit the bacon and increase the bacon grease (which I’ve done plenty of times), your total cost is just $1.85. That’s just 46¢ per serving!
I’ve fallen in love with this recipe, but I’m open to more suggestions. What’s your favorite way to cook summer greens?
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