Best Healthy Vegetarian Collard Greens Recipe
Yes, it's true. Preparing collard greens healthfully will not make them taste awful. They are actually quite delicious! Best of all, they are one of the most nutrient rich foods you can put in your body, so you'll want to make them a lot... especially if you have high cholesterol (caveat: if, of course, you prepare them in a healthy way, not like your grandmother did back in the day, over-cooking them with lard, bacon, butter, and God-knows what else).
Ok, I'll admit that I don't usually make collard greens. Ok, ok... I've never actually made them at home, mostly because whenever I've tried them in the past, they were always overcooked and chock-full of fat and calories. In fact they were always the antithesis of healthy, which is what a veggie is supposed to be.
However, when I went to the farmer's market on Saturday morning, they had these big, beautiful bunches, and I just thought "what the hell... I'm going to give this a shot." and bought some with the objective of preparing a beautiful, healthy and delicious side to my husband's lamb barbecue that evening.
To my and my family's delight, my goal was accomplished. These collard greens were absolutely delicious AND I made sure they retained all their fabulous nutrition and health benefits. I've included the recipe below, but before you delve into it, let's look at what collard greens are and understand why they are so good for you.
What's So Great About Collard Greens?
Collard greens are a large leafy green that can be used in a number of dishes and is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It grows as a large, dark colored, edible leaf in a variety of areas. Collard greens provide an enormous amount of nutrition – and possess little to no calories (depending, of course, on how you prepare them). With a huge source of soluble fiber and Vitamin C, and multiple nutrients with anticancer properties, one serving of Collard Greens contains more than your daily allotment of Vitamin K and A, and is a great source of folate, manganese, calcium and tryptophan.
Want to know more (if not, scroll down for the recipe)? Great! Read on!
Collard greens are:
Amazing in their cholesterol-lowering ability which may just be the greatest of all commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. In a recent study, steamed collard greens beat out steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in terms of their ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. When this bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It is also worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw collards.
Very low in calories (only 30 calories per 100 g) and contain no cholesterol. However, its green leaves contain a very good amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that helps control LDL cholesterol levels and offer protection against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases.
Rich in invaluable sources of phyto-nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane that have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. DIM is also an effective immune modulator, and contains significant anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
An excellent source of folates (about 166 µg or 41.5% of RDA), which are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
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Rich in Vitamin-C (about 59% of RDA per 100 g), a powerful natural anti-oxidant that offers protection against free radical injury and flu-like viral infections.
An excellent source of Vitamin-A (222% of RDA per 100 g) and carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein, carotenes, zea-xanthin, crypto-xanthin, etc. These compounds are scientifically found to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for healthy vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Super high in levels of vitamin-K, provides staggering 426% of recommended daily levels per 100 leaves. Vitamin K has a potential role in the increase of bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bone. It also has the beneficial effect in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Rich in many vital B-complex groups of minerals such as niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and riboflavin.
An excellent supply of minerals like iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.
So the bottom line is eat collard greens!!! But avoid grandma's recipe.
COLLARD GREENS, THE HEALTHY WAY
- 2 bunches of collard greens
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic bulbs, separated into individual cloves and sauteed until tender in EVOO on low heat (about 10-15 minutes)
- 6 cloves raw garlic, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Organic First Cold Pressed EVOO
- Coarse Pink Himalayan Salt (or Kosher salt) and freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Organic chicken stock (optional)
1. Wash the collard greens thoroughly
2. Remove the stems. Note: the tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped.
3. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices.
4. Pour enough olive oil to fully cover the bottom of a large stock pot and heat on high until hot.
5. You will do the following in three layers:
- Place a third of the chopped collard greens at the bottom of the stock pot.
- Follow by putting a third of the coarsely chopped onions, scallions, sauteed garlic, and crushed raw garlic.
- Finish by seasoning with Kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
- Lightly stir, mixing the ingredients
- Repeat with the second and third layer, mixing from the bottom up so that the bottom layers don't burn.
6. After you finish adding and stirring the last layer, add about 1" of purified water (or organic chicken stock) to the bottom of the pot, cover and cook on low medium heat, stirring from the bottom to the top every few minutes to avoid overcooking the greens at the bottom of the pot.
7. Continue to cook on medium to low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes. If you like them softer, you can cook them a bit longer, but be careful to not overcook them, which will reduce their nutritional value.
8. When the greens are just about done, add the lemon juice from 1/2 lemon and stir.