In your quest to get more greens in your diet, I urge you to look past the usual suspects of kale, spinach, and chard and embrace collard greens. Widely popular in Southern cooking, these large, tough leaves offer a more mild flavor than kale and can be used in much the same way as other greens. Here are 10 ways to work them into your meal plan.
1. In Salads and Slaws
Move over, kale — collards deserve a spot in your salads and slaws. If you already enjoy them cooked into submission, know that they can absolutely be eaten raw, and they're delicious.
Get a recipe: Collard Green Salad with Strawberries & Tahini Dressing
2. Mixed into a Meaty Braise
Ready to turn your next meaty braise into a one-pot meal? Go ahead and add a few handfuls of chopped collard greens to the pot. The fat from the meat combined with the lengthy cook time will leave these sturdy greens tender and full of flavor.
Get a recipe: Dutch Oven Braised Turkey
3. Stirred into Soup
Use a few chopped collard leaves to treat a pot of soup to the gift of green. If your recipe doesn't already call for collards, add them in place of any other leafy greens, or stir in about two cups of chopped leaves to give it your own spin. Just give them enough time to grow soft and tender.
Get a recipe: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Andouille & Collards
4. Cooked into a Stir-Fry
Stir-fries are the quick and easy meal that will help you experience collard greens in a totally new and fun way. After removing the tough stem, shred the leaves before tossing them into your wok. They can handle bold flavors, so feel free to amp up the aromatics.
Get a recipe: Orange Chicken and Kale Stir-Fry
5. Shredded into a Casserole
Creamy, cheesy casseroles are just the sort of dish to tame the toughness of collard greens. Swap in shredded or chopped leaves in place of other greens, like kale, chard, or spinach.
Get a recipe: Wild Rice and Kale Casserole
6. Puréed into Pesto
Go beyond your standard basil or kale and use a bunch of collard greens for your next batch of pesto. These sturdy leaves will benefit from being blanched before being blitzed with olive oil, Parmesan, and your favorite toasted nuts.
Get a recipe: Winter Greens Pesto
7. Added to Chili
Consider collards the leafy green that's sturdy enough to pair with a hearty pot of chili. It adds a pop of freshness to rich, meaty chili and ups the ante on your favorite veggie version.
Get a recipe: Easy Turkey Chili with Kale
8. Rolled up in a Wrap
This is where the sturdiness of these leaves pays off big time. Unlike kale and chard, collard leaves are tough enough to be used in place of tortillas without cracking or breaking. It's a game-changer for sandwich wraps, burritos, tacos, and even burgers (especially if you're doing Whole30).
Get a recipe: Collard Green Chicken Salad Wraps
9. Sautéed with Eggs
As you're cooking up that pan of bacon to go with your eggs, add a couple handful of shredded collard leaves to the skillet. The fat from the bacon will flavor and tenderize the greens as they cook down.
Get a recipe: Fried Eggs & Collard Greens over Polenta
10. Blended into a Smoothie
Use collards to give your favorite green smoothie a fresh twist. This hearty green can easily take the place of your usual spinach or kale. Remove the tough center rib, then add the leaves to the blender with the other ingredients.
Get a recipe: Green Piña Colada Smoothie
Your turn — what are your favorite ways to get collard greens on the table?