As we all know, cruciferous vegetables are loaded with the best nutrients nature has to offer. We’ve heard so much about kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other popular choices, but not much about collard greens.
Collard greens are noted for their astounding cholesterol-lowering properties. A common staple in most Southern dishes, collard greens are usually steamed and paired with ham or other meat varieties. But what better way to enhance the natural flavor of these dark leafy greens than to spice them up with equally healthy herbs and spices?
Did You Know?
- Four glucosinolates found in collard greens – glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiin, and glucotropaeolin – can convert to an isothiocyanate that supports your body's ability to fight off inflammatory toxins and help lower cancer risks
- To bring out the best in your collard greens, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on them after washing, and leave on your kitchen counter for at least five minutes before cooking. This will help activate their myrosinase enzymes and increase the formation of beneficial isothiocyanates
- This recipe also uses chilies, a main source of the valuable compound capsaicin, which has been found to be effective in lowering your risk of developing tumors and also has the potential to speed up weight loss process
Try my Garlic Spiced Collard Greens recipe today.
- 1 large bunch collard greens (about 1.5 pounds) or spinach
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- ½teaspoon dried chili flakes
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the greens thoroughly under running water and pat dry.
- Remove the stems and cut the greens into one-inch strips.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil and heat until shimmering.
- Add garlic and cook only until it begins to turn brown, about 30 seconds.
- Add collard greens and chili flakes, and cook only until the greens wilt.
- Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
- Add lemon juice and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
This recipe makes five servings.
(Adapted from Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
Garlic Spiced Collard Greens Cooking and Preparation Tips
Choosing, preparing, storing, and cooking your main ingredients right is the ultimate secret to getting the most nutrients and mouthwatering factor out of every dish you whip up in your kitchen. Here are some tips you’ll find helpful for this collard greens recipe:
Like other green leafy vegetables, collard greens may have stubborn dirt stuck on them after harvesting. Because of this, you might need to exert a bit of extra effort to make sure that your greens are squeaky clean. Sprinkle a little salt on your collard greens and then soak them in cold water. The salt will help you get rid of excess grime or hidden creepy crawlers on the leaves easily. Soak your collard greens in cold water for about 20 to 30 minutes and then give them a second bath, this time, using lukewarm water.
To bring out the best in your collard greens, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on them after washing and leave on your kitchen counter for at least five minutes before cooking. This will help activate their myrosinase enzymes and increase the formation of beneficial isothiocyanates.
You can buy garlic flakes, powder, or paste, but if you truly want to experience this herb’s flavor and nutritional benefits, fresh garlic is your top pick. Look for bulbs that are plump and have unbroken skin. Stay away from garlic bulbs that are soft, shriveled, moldy, or have begun to sprout. Any sign of decay can greatly affect the herb’s flavor and texture.
Garlic bulbs will release more flavor and aroma when you press and/or mince them because it exposes more clove surfaces to the air, causing a chemical reaction.
Tip: the smaller you cut your garlic, the stronger its flavor will be.
Also, only cook your garlic until it turns golden brown as burning it will result in an unpleasantly bitter taste.
Always add chili flakes at the end of your cooking process so they don’t make your dish overpoweringly spicy. As a rule of thumb, younger chili flakes pack more punch than older varieties.
You can also make your own chili flakes from scratch, , all you need is a handful of fresh chilies of your choice. You can take your pick from aji limo pods, jalapeno, Cajun bell, or habanero, depending on how hot you want them to be.
Simply wash and towel dry the chili pods, destalk them and cut in half, put them on a baking tray, and cook them in the oven at around 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius). The cooking time may take somewhere from two to five hours or even longer. If you have to leave, just turn off the oven and continue the process when you return. Once the chilies have dried, take them out of the oven and grind them using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. And voila, your homemade chili flakes are ready to use.
Warning: when handling chilies, wear protective gloves and avoid contact with your eyes. Open a couple of windows so your eyes won’t sting, or so you won’t feel bothered with the chilies’ intense aroma.
Choose bright yellow lemons that are smooth and heavy for their size. Streaks of green on the skin usually indicate higher acidity. Rough lemons with very thick skin don’t have much juice in them.
roll your lemons on the countertop a few times before squeezing them to produce more juice.
Lemons can be kept at room temperature for about a week before they turn soft or wrinkled. Putting your lemons inside the fridge will keep them fresher longer.
Garlic Spiced Collard Greens Are Good for You
Cooking this healthy collard greens recipe for your family is surely one step closer to a healthier you because of the incredibly nutritious ingredients used.
Collard greens for one, offer a wide array of sought-after nutrients, including:
- 1,045 percent more vitamin K than the required daily allotment
- 308 percent more vitamin A than your daily required recommendation
- 58 percent vitamin C
- 44 percent folate
- 41 percent manganese
- 27 percent calcium
Four less-known glucosinolates found in collard greens – glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiin, and glucotropaeolin – can convert to an isothiocyanate that supports the body's ability to fight off inflammatory toxins and helps lower cancer risks.
This recipe also uses garlic, which has been used as a natural medicine since the beginning of recorded history. Several studies have found garlic to be effective in:
- Fighting drug-resistant bacteria
- Reducing risk for heart disease and stroke
- Normalizing cholesterol and blood pressure
It's believed that much of garlic's therapeutic benefits come from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also responsible for its characteristic smell. Other health-building compounds of garlic include oligosaccharides, arginine-rich proteins, selenium, and flavonoids.
Chilies, on the other hand, are the main source of another valuable compound, capsaicin, which has been found to be effective in lowering your risk of developing tumors and speeding up your weight loss efforts.
Tags: Fruits and Vegetables, Side Dishes