(photo by by smarnad)

July 4th is just around the corner – with no shortage of hot dogs and hamburgers being readied for the grill. And while any parent knows it’s not always easy to convince picky eaters to eat veggies, dark, leafy greens – like kale and spinach – are not only loaded with calcium and iron, but are also excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E and K – not to mention fiber and folic acid.

Since nutrition isn’t always a selling point for kids who’d rather be eating off the grill this week, one mom has shared a recipe that combines foods kids really do like – pasta and cheese – which makes for a great side dish at any Independence Day party.


  • 3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces dried whole-wheat or multigrain spiral pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds mixed greens, such as chard, arugula, spinach and beet greens, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)

The recipe was adapted by Casey Seidenberg from the book Greens Glorious Greens! by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers (St. Martin’s, 1996).

Want to know more about which leafy greens are good for your family? Click here.