The questions you get when you become a vegetarian are "how do you get enough protein? what about iron? do you only eat salad? are you EVER full?"
The answers are: yes, yes, no, and YES!
Just to confuse you a little bit, technically i am a 'lacto-ovo pescatarian' - this means i eat eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo), plus fish (pesca). Which takes care of my protein and often helps me fill up. Along with other proteins like chick peas, black beans, and quinoa.
But there are only 2 things really that are high in iron: red meat and dark, leafy greens. So, i decided i had to step up my game with the greens - and i love them.
There is WAY MORE to greens than lettuce, and i'm going to highlight a few that i absolutely love.
1 - Swiss Chard
On top of being delicious, swiss chard is the #2 vegetable out there you can eat. There are just vitamins on top of vitamins and it's thick, hearty texture is great for a variety of things.
I chop up chard for a salad, add to sandwiches, throw in with quinoa or pasta. And it's delicious. My fave prep is sauté with lemon, garlic, and S&P to taste - until it's cooked down. Serve as a side or on top of a grain.
There's also colored chard.... it looks a little more fun and tastes awesome!
For more info: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16
2 - Kale
When i was in high school, i worked at a chain seafood restaurant, so every plate was served with a garnish of lemon wedge on top of a piece of kale. Then, it was basically thought of this basic greenery. Since, people have really explored the perks of kale! Wayyyy more than a cheap garnish.
It goes great with citrus (there are tons of recipes for this online). This is also a good one to throw into omelets, smoothies, or juices! It's got a soft enough texture that it cooks down/blends easily and can add some fast vitamins to your meal or snack.
3 - Bok Choy
This was part of my dinner last night. The stalks are really thick like celery and the leaves are very spinach like. i chop it up in big chunks and season it, throw it on a hot skillet and go to town. The texture is different, but i really enjoy it.
4 - Arugula
Have you ever eaten a salad made with 'spring mix', when suddenly there's a little burst of FLAVOR in your lettuce? Pepper-y, almost? That's arugula. It's by far my favorite flavor addition. I grew arugula in my garden last year, and it was the best! I had handfuls to add to salad, pasta, eggs, rice.... anything. It adds a splash of color and flavor to every savory meal. It naturally has that 'pepper' flavor and it's naturally delicious. So now when i make salads, i use about 2/3 kale or chard, and 1/3 arugula for added flavor and texture. My other favorite thing to add it to pasta with some chopped tomato and parmesan cheese. Simple and absolutely delicious.
So, if you're bored with your veggie selection, there's always something new out there to try :) These just happen to be some that i love personally for their flavor, versatility and availability (they're in every grocery store - trader joes, publix, kroger, whole foods. Also, available in regular or organic brands.)