Long a staple of southern cuisine, collard greens appeal has been spreading north. Read on to learn more about how to diversify your meals with this tangy and versatile vegetable.
What are Collard Greens?
Part of the cabbage family, collard greens are distinguished by their dark green color and elegant, fan-like leaves. Like kale, they have sturdy stems that should be removed, and the leaves washed thoroughly before cooking. Similar to Swiss chard, they can be bitter when eaten raw, but develop a mild and tangy flavor once cooked (Spruce Eats).
Collard Green Recipes
While collard greens have traditionally been used for hearty cooked dishes, these nutritious greens have also made their way into health food diets: shredded raw in salads, steamed, and even used as gluten-free wraps.
Thomas Keller, founder and chef at the famed French Laundry in Napa, CA recommends these six simple ways to prepare collard greens. Be sure to wash the greens thoroughly first to remove any grit.
Starting with a large bunch, remove the woody center stems by slicing along either side of the stem with your knife, cutting them in half while removing the stem. Stack the collard halves in a single pile and cut crosswise into thick ribbons.
Use a paring knife to remove the stems. Place collard leaves on a flat surface and add your prepared filling. Roll one end of the collard leaf over the fillings lengthwise. Then fold the short ends in, roll again, and place the wrap seam-side down on a serving plate.
Using 2 ½ pounds of collard greens, remove and discard the center ribs and cut the leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling water, simmer collards for 15 minutes and drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with a wooden spoon. In a large, heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until foam subsides and stir in 2 cloves garlic, the collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drizzle collards with a wedge of lemon juice and combine.
Using 1 pound of collard greens, remove and discard the center ribs. Cut leaves into ½-inch pieces. Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2 inches of water. Add collard greens along with 1 minced garlic clove to the steamer basket and steam for 5 minutes.
Remove and discard the center ribs. Blanch the greens in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess liquid; let cool completely in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Greens can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Using 2 pounds of collard greens, remove and discard the center ribs. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. Simmer collard greens in 3½ cups of chicken broth until tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Access Thomas Keller’s Masterclass for more collard greens recipes and preparation tips.
According to Tufts University, collard greens are packed with nutrients. Collard greens contain high amounts of antioxidants, which eliminate free radicals that cause cancer. Collards are also an excellent source of vitamin A, a nutrient important to maintain night vision as well as prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Additionally, collard greens provide a significant amount of vitamin K, which improves bone health and can decrease risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis.
Storing and Freezing
Refrigerate collard greens, preferably in a perforated bay in the vegetable drawer.
To freeze, wash and remove any damaged pieces, then drop into boiling water for four minutes. Cool in ice water, drain thoroughly and place in freezer bags, taking care to remove as much air as possible.
Long considered a Southern comfort food, collard greens are a versatile vegetable with a unique, earthy flavor. Give it a try if you are looking for cooking inspiration or to add healthy options to your menus!