Eat Your Greens! (A Guide) - Collard Greens

If you want to take just one step towards a healthier lifestyle, start adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet. As I've mentioned previously, greens give you energy!  They also fight disease and help you lose weight.  

Okay, that all sounds well and good, but not pumped about eating salads every meal? Good news: you don't have to! In fact, you never have to eat salad if you don't want to. Totally turned off by the sound of a green smoothie? That's okay. I'm here to help you find out what types of greens you DO like and how to prepare them so YOU enjoy eating them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be shining the spotlight on some different types of greens and easy ways to enjoy these nutrient powerhouses. 

First up: Collard Greens!

                                                       image via marthastewart.com

                                                       image via marthastewart.com

Collard greens are a member of the cabbage family and closely related to kale.  They are often associated with Southern cooking in the United States, traditionally cooked with other greens (such as turnip greens, kale, and spinach) and seasoned with smoked and salted meats. 

Collard greens are a great source of vitamin C (boosts immunity!), vitamin K (better vision!), and both soluble and insoluble fiber.  This fiber helps to regulate LDL cholesterol levels, as well as relieve constipation. 

Although fresh collard greens are available year around in the stores, they are at their best from November through April.  Look for fresh, bright, crispy leaves with stout stalks.  Wash as you would any other green.

Ready to try 'em?  Here are some ideas:

  • Collard Wrap - Swap your sandwich bread for a collard green leaf.  This is my favorite way to enjoy this green!   Here’s a great tutorial on how to to turn the leaf into the perfect wrap.  I like to stuff mine with hummus, thinly sliced veggies, and mucho avocado. YUM.

  • Simple Collard Greens Salad - For all my kale lovers out there, here’s a great alternative.  Collards have a similar heartiness to kale, with a slightly different taste and texture.

  • Collard Greens and Cannellini Beans - Collards can be slightly bitter when eaten raw.  In this recipe, the greens are gently cooked with cannellini beans, onion, tomato and lemon - a simple, yet delicious mix that I will definitely be trying out soon!

  • Vegetarian Southern Collard Greens - A healthy twist on the traditional, this recipe calls for smoked sea salt instead of cured meat.

  • Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup - Looking for something a little less, well, green?  Look no further than this hearty peanut stew.  An easy way to incorporate collards into your diet slowly. 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with collard greens and if you have any quick and delicious recipes to add to the list above.  Let me know in the comments below!

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