Here is my delicious low fat vegan collard greens recipe!
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This is an easy oil free and super delicious side dish that you can prepare to accompany any meal! A lot of people know of collard greens, but have no idea how to prepare them healthily, or at all. Generally in the southern United States, it is fried or deep fried and this pretty much negates the benefits of eating collards for health, because your body is dealing with all the denatured carcinogenic fats and free radicals from the oil slathered on it.
To get the health benefits of greens they should be prepared simply. Some of them like baby spinach and tender lettuces can be eaten in raw salads. Collards can be used in raw sandwiches (burrito style rolls) or steamed or sautéed gently.
Depending where you live it may be easy or difficult to find collard greens. I’m in Texas right now, and they are abundant, it only costs about 88 cents (USD) for a giant bunch of them! In Canada, I can only get them in Whole Foods and it costs about $2.99 (CAD) per bunch. So we’re loading up on them here!
Collard Greens Lower Cholesterol Better Than Kale or Broccoli!
“In a recent study, steamed collard greens outshined steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in terms of its 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’s worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw collards.” Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
Brief History of Collard Greens
Like kale, cauliflower and broccoli, collards are descendents of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have been consumed as food since prehistoric times and to have originated in Asia Minor. From there it spread into Europe, being introduced by groups of Celtic wanderers around 600 B.C. Collards have been cultivated since the times of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. While collards may have been introduced into the United States before, the first mention of collard greens dates back to the late 17th century. Collards are an integral food in traditional southern American cuisine.
How to Select and Store Collard Greens
Look for collard greens that have firm, unwilted leaves that are vividly deep green in color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be more tender and have a milder flavor. They should be displayed in a chilled section in the refrigerator case to prevent them from wilting and becoming bitter.
Place collard greens in a plastic bag, removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where they should keep fresh for about three to five days.
Cooking Collard Greens
It is very important not to overcook collard greens. Like other cruciferous vegetables overcooked collard greens will begin to emit the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooking. To help collard greens to cook more quickly, evenly slice the leaves into 1/2-inch slices and the stems into 1/4-inch pieces. You may boil or steam them up to 5 minutes and then season.
For more information on collard greens check out this website http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=138&tname=foodspice
Low Fat Vegan Tangy Collard Greens with Mushrooms, Onions and Coconut Milk
This collard greens recipe is much lower in fat than traditional collard green recipes that call for frying onions in oil first and then adding the greens. I serve these with giant baked potatoes for a completely filling meal. (Yes, dinner can be this simple and delicious!)
1 large bunch collard greens, washed
1/2-1 cup of sliced mushrooms of choice
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup light unsweetened coconut milk (So Delicious SugarFree Original is excellent for this, don’t use vanilla or sweetened for this recipe)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp herbamare or salt
1 tbsp of lemon juice (or more if desired)
1/2 tsp sugar or sweetener
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Take the stems off of the collard greens by turning them upside down and making a small circle with your pointer finger and thumb and squeezing the leaves down and off from the stem. Like you would straighten a pipe cleaner. Cut the remaining parts of the stem off the top if you miss any bits.
2. Bunch all the collards up together on a cutting board and cut into chunks.
3. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the collard greens and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain well.
4. In a large non stick skillet, turn to medium heat. When it’s hot add the onions and sauté dry for 5 minutes. (TRUST ME, it will NOT burn if you use a non stick pan, and no oil is necessary!) Add the mushrooms, collards, coconut milk and seasonings except for pepper and sauté for 8-10 minutes until collards are at desired tenderness.
5. Taste test and add fresh ground pepper and any additional seasonings like more lemon if desired.
6. Serve as a side dish with your meal. (I love serving these with baked jacket potatoes, beans, or rice.)
You can also try this recipe with other greens like kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens etc. If you use baby spinach, DO NOT boil it, you can just wilt it in the pan with the coconut milk in a few minutes. Make sure your onions and mushrooms are cooked first before adding the spinach.
If you don’t want to use coconut milk, feel free to use a low fat almond or soy milk instead. The coconut flavour is very mild in this and not essential to the overall taste.
Try other seasonings as well, add some spices like paprika, chili, cumin etc instead of the dijon and nutritional yeast. Mix it up!
*If you don’t want to use a non stick pan, you can put the collards, onions and mushrooms into a steamer basket, steam for 5 minutes over boiling water and then drain. Season to taste with the coconut milk and seasonings and stir to combine.
See non stick pans – are there safety concerns http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/healthandfitness/a/nonstickpans.htm You should NOT worry about cooking oil free over medium heat in a non stick pan. If nothing is flaking off, or food is not being burned onto the pan on high heat for a few minutes this is not a concern.
Have you ever cooked collard greens before? What do you think of this recipe?