Google “collard green recipes” and you’re instantly hit with the Southern take on collard greens: bacon or ham hocks slowly cooked with collards for a smoky, salty flavor. And that’s fine. I’ve never had that traditional spin on collards, and maybe I’ll have it one day. But for my everyday, I want a lighter, faster, and different take on collard greens.
I prefer a quick sauté with some aromatics with a dash of heat thrown in. This gets the side dish done easily, with no compromises on flavor. Quickly sautéing the hefty collard leaf leaves it with a little bit of crunch, giving the dish more weight and satisfaction than a pile of soft sautéed spinach.
The prep work is longer than the cooking (but not by much) and is perfect for making during the week when you want something good quickly. The heat (almost a reflex for me) pairs well with the sharp flavor of the leaves and gives it more depth. I usually serve this as a side with some roasted chicken, and if you’re not a meat-eater I would recommend it tossed with some grains and any bean, maybe crispy tempeh.
Want more collard green dishes from this series? You can find them here:
Nutrition DL: Collard Greens
This recipe is part of a series called Nutrition DL. Nutrition DL gives you the download on seasonal fruits, vegetables, or pantry staples. Once you learn about the basics of the featured ingredient, I share a four recipes over four weeks to inspire and feed you with this great seasonal food. Check out other foods I’ve covered here.
- 1 bunch of collard greens, washed and dry
- 1/2 leek, halved and sliced (onion works here too)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tsp of olive oil
- 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to heat preference)
- salt, to taste
One leaf at a time, cut along the both sides of the rib of the collard green and discard stem. Arrange leaf halves in a stack and cut leaves into 1/2" to 1" strips. Cut in half horizontally if the strip is over 3" long. Place collard strips in a bowl.
Heat olive to medium heat in a sauté pan. Once hot, add leeks and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in collard greens. Stir to incorporate, then let cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add salt and pepper flakes, then stir again. The leaves will have wilted a bit. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, then remove from heat and enjoy.
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
I had such a tough time finding vegetarian collard green recipes that I had to come up with my own version. At some point I just sauteed them with a ton of garlic and a sprinkle of smoked paprika and that’s been my go-to. But I just LOVE the look of these. The addition of some red pepper flakes to give it a kick (which I’m always ok with) makes for an exciting side dish.
I feel you! Your version sounds wonderful, too! I need to up my game and add some smoked paprika in my life.
I’m such a sucker for a kick on my plate 😉