Monday, February 9, 2015

Cooking fresh collard greens (vegetarian, vegan)

photo from finecooking.com

Collards (also called collard greens) get a bad rap. They're green and kinda stinky (really only during a long cooking period)... but they are absurdly cheap, incredibly healthy, and super tasty. Collards are part of the cruciferous family (with kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc...) and they have compounds that can cause bloating and gas for some people... however if you're a fan of greens, don't pass up collards! Here are some interesting facts on this healthy green: 

Medical News Today stated in a recent article
"One cup of boiled collard greens contains 63 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrate (including 8 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar), over 250% of your daily needs for vitamin A, over 50% of your daily needs for vitamin C, 26% of calcium needs, 12% of iron and 10% of both vitamin B-6 and magnesium." 
They also stated: 
"One cup of boiled collard greens provides a whopping 770 micrograms of vitamin K; well over 100% of the daily-recommended need." 
Like many greens, collards are made primarily of water, which means they cook down to barely nothing (like spinach)..so if you want to make a BIG pot of greens (to last the whole week or for 4-6+ cooked servings) you'll want to buy 2-4 bunches of the fresh greens. 


Collards have tough stalks, which should be removed before cooking. I like collards prepared the old "southern" way, slow cooked and well... (there's really no other good way to say it)... kinda mushy!I know it sounds strange, especially if you're not a fan of southern foods (especially vegetables)... but collards are great when they are braised with a little bit of liquid and seasonings and slow cooked for hours. You can make them in the slow cooker (I actually included a recipe in my cookbook!)... but they are also super easy on the stove. 

I've read that other people like to take whole collard leaves and blanch them briefly to use as a low carb or gluten-free wrap! I haven't tried that, but it's on my to-do list! 


There's no real "recipe" for cooking greens... your measurements don't have to be specific, but basically here's what I used for this very SMALL batch of greens. (For a bigger batch double, triple, or quadruple the recipe!) Take note that I made these greens without any animal products. If you're a fan of meat or pork products this is traditionally made with a ham hock or ham seasoning and they are divine that way too. 

A Small Mess O' Collard Greens
Makes 2-3 large servings.
  • 1 large bunch fresh collard greens, with stems removed and de-veined, and cut into small pieces (cut out the thick, fibrous vein in the center of the leaf -- this makes the collards cook faster and in my opinion makes them more tasty!) 
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped with seeds and white membrane (ribs) removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup water or vegetable broth
Directions: 
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot saute onions, garlic, and chopped poblanos in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until softened. 
  2. Add greens, red pepper flakes, and water -or- broth to the pot. 
  3. Cook on medium-high heat and stir continuously for 5-6 minutes until collards are bright green and start shrinking in size. 
  4. Cover pot and turn heat down to low. Continue to cook on low heat for 3-4 hours until greens are softened and yeah... kinda mushy! 
  5. We served this with gluten-free, vegan cornbread, sliced tomatoes with fresh ground pepper, and canned pinto beans


Some kitteh pics for you... just because! :-) 

Whiskey Jack, chillin' in the cat tree!


Mollie... doing her best job keeping me from writing or reading... :-) 


Max happened to get rolled up in the
sheets to be washed on "Caturday" :-P


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2 comments:

  1. Carrie, do you know if the nutrition is affected by the long cooking? I have used blanched collard as a wrap and put strips of collard into various dishes, but your long-cooked version sounds great.

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    1. Hi Laura, I'm sure it's somewhat affected, but from the Medical Science Today article I quoted above, the nutrition info they gave was for cooked greens, and those numbers were great!

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