Walk into any mercado in Portugal and there will be stalls stuffed with large heads of cabbage, bunches of turnip tops, spinach, young leaves of rapini and crisp green beans. Go out to the Portuguese country-side and you’ll see patches of tall couve portuguesa hovering in the middle of gardens and a strip or two of grelos nearby. This often makes one question, what do the Portuguese do with all these vibrant veggies?
The use of greens are the epitome of peasant food. They became a Portuguese staple because in this climate they grow like, well, weeds! If there isn’t a small plot of land for such things, they are still inexpensive to grab from the local store. These healthy vegetables are also filling enough that you can have a bowl of caldo verde, esparragado or ervilhas com ovos Escalfados with a bite of meat or a hunk of crusty bread and still have a delicious balanced meal.