When it comes to vegetarian cuisine and resolutions to stay on track with a healthy diet many of us go through 'brain-freeze' trying to figure out what to do with the greens. Collard greens are great, but sorely misunderstood. Here are some of the many ways you can work with them.
Before we begin though, let's look at the collard green. It's strong flavor and bitter notes sometimes tend to repel the unsuspecting culinary explorer, but all of those flavors can be balanced in a way that will make the mouth water. It's got: Vitamins K, A, C, B6, B2, E, B3, Manganese, Calcium, Folate, Potassium, Zinc, Tryptophan, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Dietary Fibre and Omega 3s to literally name a few. It's loaded with beneficial enzymes, is a hardy green and has about 49 calories per cup.
Let's just say I love collard greens and after I go into how we use them in my house, I'm sure, if you open your mind, you'll find one or more of the many ways to love them too.
Did you know you can stuff collards?
Oh yes... you can take them and do a quick steaming or blanching, enough to make them pliable enough to bend and roll without breaking them. When you stuff them you can freeze them for one of those days when you don't feel like cooking. You just pop them into the oven or on the stove top in some sauce to heat them through and serve them with rice, barley, pasta, etc. You get the point. You can stuff them with pretty much whatever you heart desires. Stuff them with tofu, mushrooms, grains or for a complete protein boost, stuff them with my festive quinoa. The list can literally go on.
Collards saute very well! You can take them, wash them, dry them, put them together and roll them up like a cigar and cut them, on a diagonal, in thick to thin slices, depending on what you want your end dish to look like and toss them in a hot skillet with some oil and or water and season to your liking and your done. I tend to like a lot of color and heat with my collards so I may be inclined to throw in some peppers to finish off the presentation.
and the last way we'll discuss today is...
Have you ever thought of actually drinking your collards?
Well don't laugh or worse yet, turn your nose up at he idea. Collards make a great addition to a nutrient-dense smoothie and you get all of the nutrients in a smoothie that would otherwise be destroyed by the cooking process. What yo do is take them and scrub them up, grab a bunch of them and twist them apart into small enough handfuls to get into your blender, or if your so blessed, your vita-mix, and blend them down with the rest of your smoothie ingredients. It will amaze you just how versatile these little beg greens can be given a little imagination.
So there you have it...
Collards ARE a very versatile green. From stuffing to smoothies and everything in between that I didn't mention in this article, you can literally be all day and all night thinking of tasty ways to prepare and present them.
Try your hand at mapping out some great collard ideas:
For more information or to have one of your questions answered, drop me a line, stop by my forum, join my Vegetarian Resource Newsletter and definitely stay tuned in as I bring you more articles to help you effortlessly achieve your best, health, well being and wholeness throughout the life of your diet.
As always it's been great sharing with you. Until next time...