Roasted collard greens and Brussels sprouts are embellished with polenta in a simple and hearty side dish. Collard greens are, in my opinion, an under-appreciated leafy green — though these large leaves might look daunting, they’re easy to prepare if you know the right technique. Prepared polenta adds a bit of comfort to the dish, and briny olives give it a nice flavor twist.
This goes well with many kinds of fall meals. Since you’ve got the oven going at a high temperature, roasting a pan of potatoes or sweet potatoes combined with tempeh or baked tofu would make a nice side by side dish. Then, all you’d need is a simple or slaw to complete the meal.
Since this makes a generous portion, it would also make a nice side dish for the fall and winter holidays. And you could introduce your table-mates to collard greens in a most enticing way! Tell them that collards are good for everyone, but are especially appreciated by those following a plant based diet — they’re an excellent source of calcium.
- 1 medium-sized bunch collard greens (12 to 15 leaves)
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 18-ounce tube prepared polenta
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup brine-cured black olives (like Kalamata), halved
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning blend
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Cut the collard green leaves away from their stems with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Stack 6 to 8 similar-sized leaf halves atop one another at a time. Roll up snugly from one of the narrow ends, then slice thinly crosswise. Chop the slices in a few places to shorten the ribbons. Place in a colander; rinse well and then blot dry.
- Coat your palms with a little of the olive oil and massage it into the collard leaves. You can do this while they’re still in the colander.
- Place the Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the vinegar and stir together.
- Cut the polenta into 12 even slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each slice into quarters to make little wedges.
- Add the polenta to the mixing bowl with the Brussels sprouts along with the bell pepper. Drizzle in the oil and transfer to a parchment-lined roasting pan.
- Roast for 20 minutes, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Then, pile the collards atop everything. After 5 minutes, they should be wilted enough to stir in with the Brussels sprouts and polenta.
- Add the olives at this point as well, and sprinkle in the seasoning blend. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the Brussels sprouts and polenta are lightly browned here and there.
- Remove from the oven, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
SINGING THE PRAISES OF COLLARD GREENS
A staple of Southern American cuisine, collards greens were the biggest surprise for me as I was researching and developing recipes for my book, Wild About Greens. To my palate, they’re tastier than kale, milder and sweeter.
Not having been all that familiar with collards, I’d most often seen recipes calling for them to be boiled for 20 minutes or longer (sometimes a lot longer!), or braising them for an equally long time. Each time I tried these techniques, I found the semi-mushy, olive-drab results less than exciting.
Here’s the newer technique — the leaves are cut into narrow ribbons and, usually stir-fried. Preparing them in this way heightens their mild, sweet flavor. Roasting ribbon-cut collard works just as well. Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising; collard greens belong to the family of cruciferous vegetables (which includes cabbage and broccoli), none of which are very appealing when overcooked, but excellent roasted.
- You might also like Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Cabbage and Carrots