Kale is all the rage these days. That’s wonderful, of course, ‘cause it’s really good for you, but kale isn’t the only healthy green out there. Have you heard the siren call of collards yet?
Growing up in Louisiana, collard greens were standard fare. We ate them in soups and stews, and we loved to cook them with onions, butter, salt and pepper – very much like Brazilian Style Collard Greens. Sometimes we would add a little vinegar or tomatoes and spices along with some bacon or a ham bone for flavor, similar to these Spicy Collard Greens. My mother would serve collard greens and cornbread for a light, delicious meal.
Collards are really versatile. For instance, did you know they make a wonderful sandwich wrap? The large flat leaves make them perfect! Simply steam the whole leaves until bright green and tender. Roll up your favorite sandwich fillings such as hummus, turkey, avocado, bean spreads, chicken, tuna or egg salad and even falafel with tahini sauce. So good! You can also use steamed collards in place of seaweed for sushi.
If you plan to add collards to other dishes, you may want to cook them first. Simply steam or sauté collards in oil, broth or butter until bright green and tender. Once cooked, collards can be easily added to many recipes. I often cook a large batch and then refrigerate to be used as needed during the week. Here are some delicious ideas:
- Add to pasta sauce or toss into hot cooked pasta with a splash of olive oil and a dash of grated cheese. Or try raw collards in this Winter Greens Pesto. Penne Salad with Winter Greens is made with Kalamata olives, feta cheese and garlic.
- Use collards as a bed for hot cooked grains, colorful veggies or legumes.
- Add to soups, stews and stir-fries. Or bake up into a casserole like this Collard Greens Gratin.
- Make a salad such as this Collard Cobb Salad or Spanish-Style Collard Greens. Serve with warm, crusty whole grain bread for a wonderful lunch or light dinner.
- Cambodian Collard Greens with Pork Belly is a recipe inspired by our Whole Planet Foundation® microcredit client recipes.
- Eat cooked greens like this recipe for Collard Greens with Roasted Peanuts with eggs or tofu.
- Use in recipes that call for spinach or kale. Hearty leafy greens are generally interchangeable in recipes, so you can swap one for another depending on what you have on hand. We feature collards in a traditional spinach preparation in this recipe for Creamed Collard Greens with Kielbasa.
- Try quiche with collards, too. Lentil, Butternut Squash and Collards Pie is a beautiful example.
- You can even enjoy collards for breakfast with our Southern-Style Baked Eggs with Grits and Collard Greens, collard-stuffed English muffins or Breakfast Stacks.
Collard greens are often enjoyed throughout the fall and winter and they’re at their peak from January through April. When shopping, avoid yellow, damaged and torn leaves. Opt instead for crisp, dark-green, firm leaves. Remove the tough stems before cooking. Collards cook down in volume so be sure to prepare lots!
Do you eat collard greens? Got a favorite recipe or a great idea? Let me know.