Nutritious Collard Greens – recipes

collard greensAs a green leafy vegetable, collard greens are among the best available for your health. They’re actually a member of the cruciferous family, along with broccoli and cabbage, and as such they’re packed with vitamin C, soluble fiber, and numerous cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

Collards are available year round, but they are actually tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost. For the best texture, they should be picked before they reach their full maturity.

Popular in southern cooking, they are usually stewed with meat for a long period of time, losing much of the nutritional benefit, but there’s many healthier ways to incorporate them into your diet.  They hold up to cooking much better than other greens, so they can be added toward the end of preparing soups and stews and still keep their texture. Sliced thinly, they can be lightly steamed and tossed with a vinegar dressing.  Steamed whole, they are strong enough to be used as wraps for a burrito alternative.


Portobellos with Collards and Cannellini Beans

Collard Greens with Almonds

Tempeh Collard Wraps

Portobellos with Collards and Cannellini Beans

Makes 8 1-cup servings

Thick slices of pan-grilled portobello mushrooms make a hearty meal with brown and wild rice.

4 cups water, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry wild rice
1 cup dry long-grain brown rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large portobello mushrooms (about 1/2 pound), thickly sliced
4 cups chopped collard greens
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained

Bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil, then add salt and wild rice. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add brown rice, then cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain off any excess water and set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, thyme, oregano, black pepper, and 1/4 cup water. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1/4 cup water and collards. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Cover and cook until collards are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in beans. Cover and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve over the cooked rice.


Collard Greens with Almonds

Makes 6 servings

Collards are a great source of highly absorbable calcium and along with other members of the cruciferous vegetable family (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and rutabaga), they’ve been shown to be especially helpful in eliminating excess estrogen from a woman’s body and reducing breast cancer risk.

1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pound collard greens (about 1 large bunch), rinsed and thick stems removed
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed

In a small skillet, toast almonds over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until golden in color. Set aside.

To remove stems from collards, one at a time, hold the stem end and strip the leaf away from the stem. Repeat this for each green. Layer 5 collard leaves (stems removed). Roll into cylinder and slice crosswise into thin strips. Repeat until all leaves are sliced. In large saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a boil over high heat. Add greens, cover, and steam for 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and garlic together until blended. Toss greens with dressing and garnish with toasted almonds. Serve hot.

Collard Greens with Almonds are best when eaten immediately. Steamed greens will keep refrigerated for one to two days when not dressed. Wait to add the vinegar and raw garlic until ready to serve.


Tempeh Collard Wraps

Tempeh is a fermeted soy product found in most health food stores.  It’s a very nutritious substitute for meat or tofu.

  • 6 large whole Collard leaves, de-stemmed
  • 1 1/2 cups tempeh, thinly sliced then cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large pan with lid, steam the whole collard leaves for only 2 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse with cool water and set aside.  Bring water to the boil in a small saucepan, and boil the potatoes for 10 mins, drain, cool and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet on high heat. Add the tempeh, onion and all spices and toss vigorously for 2 mins. Then add the green pepper and continue to saute for 5 more mins. Add the cooked potatoes and cook for another 5 mins. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed.  Cool the mixture, then add the carrots and stir.

Place each collard leaf on a plate, add a spoonful of the mixture and then wrap it up like a burrito. Repeat for all the leaves, or until the mixture is used up.