Collard greens, with their impressively large leaves, might not be your first choice of vegetable to prep on a busy weeknight. But it’s easier than it may seem, and they deserve a place in your rotation. If you’ve never tried stir-fried collard greens, you’re in for a treat!
Collards, to my taste buds, are more flavorful than kale. They’re a touch sweeter, with no hint of the kind of bitterness that some greens are known for. And they’re an excellent source of calcium for the vegan diet.
The technique of stir-frying collard green is almost the opposite of traditional recipes that call for them to be cooked to death. This makes collards so much more appealing, both for eating and for looking at!
When your entree is fairly monochromatic, like a pasta or rice dish, this is a great way to add color to the plate. Below, they’re shown with Jamaican-Inspired Rice and Red Beans.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 200
In praise of collard greens
Best known from the cuisine of the American South, collards greens were the biggest surprise for me as I was researching and developing recipes for my book, Wild About Greens.
I wasn’t exactly unfamiliar with collards, but I had most often seen recipes that called for boiling the leaves for 20 minutes or more, or braising them for an equally long time. Each time I tried these techniques, I just found the semi-mushy, olive-drab results less than exciting.
But cut into narrow ribbons and stir-fried, this leafy green is a standout, and its mild, sweet flavor is up there with the best of them (the leafy greens, that is). 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.
The coolest way to cook collard greens (in my opinion) is to roll up the leaves, slice them very thinly, and stir-fry them until just tender-crisp, retaining their wonderful color and sweetness.
Look for collard greens that look fresh and unblemished, with plump stalks.
Cut the leaves away from the stalks with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Unlike other greens like kale or chard whose stalks can be thinly sliced and used, collard stalks are quite tough, so compost or discard them. Stack 5 or 6 like-sized leaves atop one another. Roll each stack up from one narrow end.
Cut through the rolled-up leaves crosswise to get nice narrow ribbons. Give them a good rinse in a colander, then pat dry. Now they’re ready to be stir-fried, easily and quickly.