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Today: It's time to take a break from kale and give collard greens the attention they deserve.
Since kale has taken up residence as everybody’s favorite green, it’s sometimes hard for other leafy vegetables to capture time in the spotlight. Take collards, for example: Most of us have tried and enjoyed them in traditional Southern dishes, and the adventurous eaters among us might have experimented with using them as wraps, but for the most part, these deep-green vegetables don’t get the sort of attention they deserve.
Part of what I love about collards is their versatility. I find them less bitter than kale (though not everyone would agree), less salty than chard, and more toothsome and substantial than spinach. They’re a perfect canvas for bold flavors, and they stand up really well to long, slow cooking preparations (like soups, stews, and braises).
This recipe is a perfect example of how tender collards can become when you take the time to braise them gently, and the flavors -- a mixture of coconut milk, ginger, lime, and chili -- are unexpected. If you’re used to eating collards once a year with your Hoppin’ John, then prepare to be delightfully surprised. I love how creamy the greens become in this recipe (without dairy, no less), and the squeeze of lime helps to keep things lively. Serve the recipe with basmati or jasmine rice, baked tofu, or a hearty bean stew.
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 pound collard greens, stems removed, cut into ribbons
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons tamari, to taste
Salt, to taste
Dash of red chile flakes, to taste
Photos by Mark Weinberg