Food Challenge: Collard Greens


Food Challenge:  Collard GreensThis week’s food challenge is another green - collard greens. This green is big enough to house a fairy, according to my daughter. The stalks grow up to two feet tall! They are slightly bitter, but taste better after the first frost.

The number of times a week that we eat cooked greens in our house has gone from zero to several. The big instigator… InDependent food challenges.

The whole reason we do these challenges every week is to encourage military spouses to bring new seasonal produce to their tables by taking the mystery out of preparation, highlighting the benefits, and providing some recipe ideas. When the team presented me with the idea, I thought it was a great resource that we could provide. What I didn’t realize was that I was going to find more things to bring to my own table.

I thought I was already a pretty good produce eater. But, up until I needed to take some photos for the Swiss Chard Challenge, I just really preferred to eat my greens raw in salads or smoothies. The Cranberry Rainbow Chard recipe from that challenge has become a household favorite. You can use any hearty green that will stand up to a little sautéing. Collards, this week’s featured ingredient, works really well for this dish too.

We received a thick stack of huge collard green leaves in our Fresh Connect box that gets delivered to our doorstep on Fridays. It was time to come up with some more ways to cook greens. Here’s what I found:

collards dip
Collard Wraps & Satay Style Dipping Sauce

via The Healthy Foodie

If you’re paying careful attention, you’ll notice that my photo doesn’t match up to this recipe. The recipe looked really delicious, but I had different produce that I needed to use up in my house, so I took the idea for the wrap, which I thought was a brilliant spin on lettuce wraps, and prepared my own fillings. I didn’t think the sauce was necessary with the hummus. I used:

  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Red peppers
  • Hummus

My husband and I ate this for lunch. We had a lot leftover, so I chopped the collard greens into ribbons, tossed them with the veggies, and then used the sauce as a dressing. Delicious and really unique!

collards lentils
Collards with Lentils, Tomatoes, and Indian Spices

via Key Ingredient

The simplicity of this dish appealed to me. It only has six ingredients, all things that I keep on hand. If you’re expanding your pantry, red lentils and garam masala might be new to you.

I really like red lentils because unlike their more commonly found brown counterparts, they lose their shape when they’re cooked, forming a stew-like texture. You could use brown lentils, just adjust the cooking time and expect a more watery texture.

Garam masala is a traditional Indian spice. If you can’t find it, or if it’s too pricey, you can make your own using spices that you might already have on hand using this recipe.

collards tofu
Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok Steamed Collards and Quinoa

via VeganYumYum

If you think you don’t like tofu, this dish is a good one to try. The dry fry method creates a really firm texture, and the sauce creates a nice flavor. Just be careful not to overcook when everything is coming together in the end. So often tofu is served raw and somewhat soft and it doesn’t stand a chance. This dish takes it to a whole new level. The presentation, with the layers of collard greens and quinoa, is pretty too.

Food Challenge:  Collard Greens