Foods of the Deep South: Collards

collardsCollard greens are a nutrient-rich, dark green, similar to kale or turnip greens. Traditionally, they are cooked with some kind of cured or salted meat. However, because I am a vegetarian I do not cook mine with meat. Honestly, these cooked greens are unbelievable even without the meat and it makes them much, much healthier!

The pot likker (the juices that are left over after the greens are cooked) makes a delicious sauce for cornbread or yeast rolls, so you don’t have to waste any of the good nutrients! Collards are eaten all year round but are a requirement for the New Year’s Day meal that is supposed to give you luck in the coming year: collards, cornbread, and black eyed peas!

As a vegetarian, I actually try to make collards a couple times a month because of how healthy they are. I don’t love salads, and this is a great way to get A, K, and those all too easy to miss B vitamins.

Collard greens are in the same genetic family as kale, but when it comes to kale, I am not a fan. To me, kale tastes bitter and is a hard sell despite its wealth of nutritional value. Collards are an excellent substitute, and have actually been proven to be better for you than kale in some ways.

As a final argument for why you’ve got to give collards a chance (if you even need any further convincing!): this recipe only requires FOUR ingredients! Okay, so maybe it does have to sit on the stove for 2-3 hours. Yes, that is fairly time consuming, but it’s just simmering so there’s no need to actually watch it for those three hours!

This is a traditional dish from the South that is actually healthy; likewise, it’s a dark leafy green that doesn’t taste like rabbit food, so I think a little extra cooking time is okay!

collards

Vegetarian Collards
Makes 6-7 servings

Ingredients
2 bunches of collard greens, thoroughly washed (roughly 15 stalks)
1 medium yellow onion
38 oz vegetable broth
kosher salt to taste

Roll up the collards and cut them like you’re chiffonading basil.

collardsThe result should be long, thin strips of collards:

collardsChop up the onion, and place the onion and collards into a pot with all of the vegetable broth. Place the pot over medium-high heat and watch the mixture, stirring it every now and then until it begins to simmer.

collards

Turn down the heat to maintain the simmer, and  place a lid, tilted, over part of the pot. The collards need to be covered partially but really need some air venting out so that they don’t get too hot and dry up. Let them simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Season with kosher salt to taste.

collards

Enjoy!

 

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