After the Frost, It’s Time for Collards!
My whole life I have been told collards are just not good until after the frost, and it was confirmed yet again, last week when Mrs. Lillie of Warren Brothers Farm told me the very same. Mrs. Lillie has her favorite way to cook collards, as I am certain many of your families do, but how about branching out and using them in some unique and different recipes?
We all know that greens are highly nutritious foods that offer a variety of health benefits. By eating eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, especially leafy greens, you reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke by 30%.
Collard greens contain 771 micrograms of vitamin A and 34.6 milligrams of vitamin C per 1-cup serving. These antioxidants help to lower the risk of oxidative stress on your cells, which is cell damage that can occur when your nutrient intake is low and when toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants enter your body.
Collard greens contain 5 grams of fiber per cup and can support the health of your digestive system when consumed regularly. They also provide a healthy amount of vitamins A and C, serving to boost your immune system and provide healthful antioxidants.
Chop collard greens into small, even pieces to ensure that they cook evenly. Steam collards for 10 minutes or less to retain their nutrients and season them with peppers, chopped onions and your favorite herbs and spices. But….if you feel adventurous give these recipes a try!
Lemony Collard Greens Pasta
- 8 ounces fresh collard greens (about 10 big leaves)
- ⅓ or more of a package of whole wheat thin spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- Olive oil (the good stuff)
- 2 small cloves garlic, pressed
- Large pinch red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese
- ½ or more of a lemon, cut into wedges
- Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions. Drain quickly, reserving a bit of cooking water, and set aside.
- Cut out the center rib of each collard green. Stack a few greens at a time and roll them up into a cigar-like shape. Slice across the roll as thinly as possible (⅛″ to ¼″). Shake up the greens and give them a few chops so the strands aren’t so long.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat and toast the pine nuts until they start to turn golden and fragrant. Pour them out of the skillet and save for later.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and pour in a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle in a big pinch of red pepper flakes and the garlic and stir. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, toss in all of your collard greens. Sprinkle the greens with salt. Stirring often (try not to let them clump), sauté the greens for about three minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat. Scoop the greens into the pasta pot and toss with another drizzle of olive oil, adding pasta water if necessary. Divide onto plates, top with pine nuts and Parmesan shavings and serve with two big lemon wedges per person.
So Southern Grits and Greens
- 4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 16 cups chopped collard greens, stems removed (about 1 large bunch, 1½ to 2 pounds)
- 2 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup grits (not instant)
- ¾ cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- ¼ cup prepared salsa
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place bacon (if using) in a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off the bacon fat.
- Return the pot to medium-low heat; add oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 8 minutes (cooking time will be quicker if you started with bacon). Add 1 cup broth and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add collards; stir until wilted down to about one-third the volume and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat during cooking to maintain a simmer, and add water, ¼ cup at a time, if the pan seems dry.
- Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water and the remaining 1 cup broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in grits in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until thick, about 5 minutes. Combine ½ cup cheese, salsa and egg in a small bowl. Remove the grits from the heat and quickly stir in the cheese mixture until combined.
- Working quickly, spread about half the grits in the prepared baking dish. Top with greens, spreading evenly. Spread the remaining grits over the greens. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese and the reserved bacon (if using).
- Bake the casserole until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6. Each 1 cup serving contains Calories 226, Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 50 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Added Sugars 0 g, Protein 11 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 473 g.
Shrimp with Bacon and Collards
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 4 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 bunch collard greens, center ribs removed, leaves sliced crosswise
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, for serving
- In a small saucepan, bring 1½ cups salted water to a boil. Add rice and return to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, over medium until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add garlic and onion to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and collards; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until collards are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe skillet clean.
- In skillet, heat oil over medium-high and add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Add collard mixture and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 minutes. To serve, spoon mixture over rice and top with bacon and a few dashes hot sauce.
Collards Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (about 2 cups)
- 4 cups chopped collard greens
- 1¾ cups low-fat milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and collards and cook according to the pasta package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat 1½ cups milk in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Cheddar, cream cheese and vinegar until the cheese is melted. Stir the pasta and collards into the sauce.
- Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
- Combine breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Broil until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes.
Serves 4. Each 1⅔ cup serving contains Calories 470, Fat 18 g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Carbohydrates 57 g, Protein 23 g, Fiber 7 g, Sodium 577 mg.