You have the best idea for a delicious meal but can’t figure out the perfect side dish. Why not try some collard greens? With their impressively large leaves and fibrous stems, collard greens might not be your first choice of a vegetable. But they're easier to make than you might think, and I’m going to show you how. This collard greens recipe is super simple and seriously irresistible. They’re the perfect quick and healthy side dish. It’s a satisfying way to eat your veggies!
Collards are a staple in Southern cooking and part of the cabbage family. However, unlike the sweet, mild taste of white cabbage, collard greens have an earthy, slightly bitter taste similar to Swiss chard. They are traditionally cooked in a long, slow braise. However, collard greens can also be prepared in faster recipes (like this one) and pair well with hearty main dishes. This quick-cooking recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes without sacrificing any flavor.
WHY WE LOVE COLLARD GREENS
- Incredibly healthy. Collard greens are packed with vitamins B6, C, and E, and are an excellent source of calcium, folate, and beta-carotene. In addition, their antioxidants may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
- Quick to make. Because they’re so easy to prepare, they are the perfect side dish for a busy weeknight.
- Versatile. Collard greens are especially good in stews and in dishes featuring grains and legumes. They are also great in smoothies, though in small amounts.
- Fantastic with Asian flavors. With grated ginger, a drizzle of tamari or other soy sauce, and some toasted sesame oil, you’ve got a side dish that tastes so good!
Here are the ingredients you'll need for a simple collard greens recipe:
- Collard greens
- Lemon juice
- Sea salt and pepper
- Collard greens: Trimmed and washed. Remove the tough stems before cooking.
- Scallions: Aromatics that add great savory flavor to the dish.
- Lemon juice: The acidity in lemon balances out the greens’ slightly bitter taste. Also, it adds a subtle tang to the dish.
- Sea salt and pepper: To enhance the other flavors in the dish.
STEP 1: WASH THE LEAVES
Fill a large bowl with water and submerge the greens in the water. Agitate the greens while swishing them around in the water to loosen up any dirt.
Wash the vegetables in several changes of cool water until no dirt remains at the bottom of the bowl. Drain in a colander.
Dry the leaves thoroughly by patting them with a towel until all of the moisture is gone.
STEP 2: CUT THE SCALLIONS AND GREENS
To prepare the scallions, peel off the top layers and cut off the root ends. Wash under cool water and remove any damaged and wilted parts.
Using a sharp knife, cut the scallions into tiny “coins”, about ⅛ inch thick. Set aside.
To cut the collard greens, first cut off the tough stems.
Next, slice the leaves into strips, about ½ inch thick. However, you can cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces if you like.
STEP 3: COOK THE COLLARD GREENS
Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the chopped greens, scallions, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper.
Cover and cook on high heat for 3 to 5 minutes until they’re tender while stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and serve as is or with your favorite dressing.
- Shopping for greens. When shopping for collards, choose dark-green leaves with no discoloration. Also, look for smaller leaves, which are younger and more tender.
- Give the dish some heat. For a spicy kick, garnish the collard greens with crushed red pepper flakes.
- How to store fresh collard greens. Wrap unwashed leaves in damp paper towels and store them loosely in a plastic bag. You can refrigerate them for up to five days in the crisper drawer.
- Swap vinegar with lemon juice. Instead of lemon juice, add a splash of apple cider vinegar for that acidic touch.
- Use kale instead. If you can’t find collards and still want a greens side dish, kale makes a great substitute because they’re similar.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are collard greens healthy?
Yes! This plant is loaded with vitamins A, C, and calcium, is a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. It also contains thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and choline, so feel free to dig in. A bowlful of collards is definitely good for the body!
How do you prepare collard greens?
Thoroughly wash the leaves to remove dirt. Remove the stem from the leaf and chop it into pieces. Next, simmer the chopped greens in seasoned water or broth until tender. Alternatively, you can steam or sauté them for a quick meal. Eat them as is or mix them into other dishes.
How do you get the bitterness out of collard greens?
Cooking the collard greens slowly over low heat until they're incredibly tender takes some of the bitterness out of the vegetable. Alternatively, adding salt, acid (in this case, lemon juice), and a touch of sugar also helps to eliminate that bitter taste, giving the dish a more balanced, complex flavor.
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PAIR THIS COLLARD GREENS RECIPE WITH…
- My kidney beans stew recipe for a hearty, nutritious meal.
- Or this vegan squash ravioli recipe for the ultimate comfort dish that is delicious and healthy.
- My vegan scalloped potatoes recipe for a meal that seems so elaborate and elegant, but really couldn’t be simpler to make.
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