by Erin Marissa Russell
Wondering how to cook with all the collard greens you grew in your garden and looking for recipes to use them up? Collard greens are a garden staple for many of us because they’re simple to care for and are some of the fastest-growing vegetables around. When your garden performs well, though, you may end up harvesting more greens than you know what to do with in the kitchen.
We’ve done all the searching to introduce you to the best collard green recipes from chefs and food writers around the web. That means you can close all the tabs you have open in your browser and settle down with this guide. With 118 ways to prepare your homegrown collard greens listed here, one of these methods is sure to strike your fancy.
Trace the Evolution of Cooking with Collards to Flavors Rooted in African Culture
Most Americans only know collard greens as the brassica vegetable that features on so many soul food menus as part of Southern cuisine. However, the only reason that Southerners eat collard greens is because slaves were already familiar with cooking dark leafy greens from their home culture in Africa.
The Southern greens-cooking tradition can be traced back to those African roots, as slaves adapted their traditional African recipes to use the ingredients they had on hand. Of course, there are regional variations as far as flavoring and cooking techniques, so Ethiopian greens are prepared a little differently than Liberian collards, and so on. With the African-style collard green recipes in this section, you’ll learn new ways to serve your homegrown greens that draw from this long history of culinary tradition.
Feed the Soul When You Feature Collard Greens as Part of a Southern Menu
Of course, once Africans were taken to America, the way greens were prepared and eaten began to evolve. That evolution gave birth to Southern cuisine, and it’s the reason you’ll so often find greens served in diners on a plate alongside ribs, barbecue, fried fish, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and other soul food standbys.
Some of the recipes we’ve rounded up here are classic versions of these dishes, such as Bon Appetit’s Sweet and Tangy Collard Greens or Southern Living’s Collard Green Creole Dirty Rice. However, others have added this traditional soul food ingredient in places where it isn’t normally expected, like coleslaw and pot pie. Whether you go traditional with a trusted standard or choose a more inventive way to cook up your garden greens, these Southern-inspired recipes are sure to hit the spot.
Depend on Recipes that Braise Collard Greens for Tender, Flavorful Dishes
The secret to delicious Southern-style collard greens is the long braising method of cooking (and the savory smoked meats that flavor the broth or pot liquor). But you can get the benefits of the braise without turning to soul food when you’re cooking with collards and other greens as well.
These recipes expound on the theme of delicious greens braised to perfection. Take a look and choose a few of your favorite to put into the rotation.
Expand Your Repertoire by Learning to Cook Collards Like South American and Latin Chefs
Gardeners don’t stop growing collard greens at the American border, which means that South American and other Latin cuisines have their own established history when it comes to cooking collards. Don’t leave these traditions out when you’re thinking about how to cook the greens from your garden.
Checking into these options will provide you with delicious new ideas for getting greens on the table (and new spice blends to use when flavoring dishes with collard greens). To learn more just reference the examples of Latin-inspired collard green dishes in this section.
Widen the Field to Include Collard Greens Recipes that Call On Asian Cuisine
Don’t stop now—go global and include cultures from all over when you’re learning about how people from other places like to eat their greens. You’ll find that collard greens lend themselves perfectly to the fresh, spicy flavors and comforting techniques of Asian cooking. Peruse the recipes in this section to find out what we mean.
Capitalize on Collards’ Shape and Sturdiness When You Use the Leaves as Wraps
This method for serving collard greens is entirely new, and it’s one you may not have considered. The large size and durable texture of collard leaves makes them an excellent ingredient to wrap around other foods (like you would a tortilla, for example). Whether the chefs who made these recipes named them after wraps, enchiladas, tacos or burritos, the idea is the same. Learn more about using collard greens as wraps by taking a look at this list of ideas.
Reward the Early Bird with a Plateful of Homegrown Collard Greens for Breakfast or Brunch
The one time when none of your guests will be expecting to discover collard greens on the table is in the morning, at breakfast or brunch. However, we’re here to change that. The smoky, vibrant flavor of collard greens makes them a perfect player in plenty of breakfast dishes. Get inspired to serve up an early-morning batch of collard greens with the recipes below.
Don’t feel limited to recipes that call specificallt for collards when you’re seeking inspiration. When it comes to cooking times and techniques as well as flavor profiles, all leafy greens are pretty interchangeable. That means you can base your dishes that feature homegrown collard greens on recipes that call for kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, Asian greens, and more. With so many traditional or out-of-the-box ways to prep the collard greens you grow in your garden, there’s no reason to get bored and let the bunches of tasty, versatile greens in your haul languish in your refrigerator crisper drawer.