A Good Reason to Give Kale a Rest
Collard Greens Basics
Move over, kale; the collard greens are coming. Collards are a staple in many Southern dishes and add healthy nutrients to any meal. Traditionally, collards are paired with ham hocks and other pork for flavor and richness, but we have plenty of delicious vegetarian options.
In Season: The peak season for collard greens is January through April, though many supermarkets carry them year-round.
What to Look For: Choose collards with deep-green leaves. Avoid those that are limp or have yellow spots. The smaller the leaves, the more tender they will be.
How to Store: Wrap unwashed collard greens in damp paper towels and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Stored like this, your greens will keep for up to five days. Wash thoroughly before cooking.
Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas
Collard Greens with Bacon
This is a classic recipe for collard greens, where they’re braised with bacon and onion and brightened with a splash of cider vinegar. For maximum flavor and tenderness, cook the greens a few hours in advance, store in the refrigerator, and reheat them just before serving.
2 bunches collard greens, stemmed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1. Working in batches, stack greens; cut crosswise into 2-inch-thick strips. Gather strips; cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water; swish to remove grit. Transfer greens to a colander using a slotted spoon; let drain. Repeat until greens are free of grit.
2. Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon; cook until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add greens; cook, stirring, until greens begin to wilt and are reduced in volume.
3. Raise heat to high; add vinegar. Cook, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet, until vinegar has evaporated, about 1 minute.
4. Add stock; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until greens are just tender, 12 to 14 minutes. If making ahead, refrigerate, covered; reheat over low heat.
Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Lemon
A handful of lemon zest coats the noodles and lends brightness to the collards in this quick pasta dish. The recipe calls for farro pasta, which has a complex, nutty flavor, but you could substitute whole-wheat pasta.