Our 2023 Plant a Seed campaign celebrates greens and the communities who celebrate them. If you grew the our Plant a Seed kit in your garden this year, then you know that two greens in particular have been rockstar standouts deserving of celebration: fluffy Matilde Escarole and impressive Ultracross Collard!
This fall, we’re celebrating special greens friends through Chicory Week and Collard Week.
Click below to learn more!
Cooking with collards
Quench your hunger for knowledge and connections to global collard communities (and also just quench your literal hunger) with these five unique takes on collard greeens. Many thanks to Bonnetta Adeeb, Dana Honn, Millard and Connie Locklear, Steven Satterfield and Ira Wallace for telling their food stories through these gentle instructions. Spend some time preparing one or more of these recipes during #CollardWeek2023 and share photos of your creation using the hashtag #CollardWeek!
By Millard and Connie Locklear, New Ground Farm, Pembroke, NC
- Collard leaves, chopped – chop stem if more fiber is desired
- Bacon or fatback
Procedure 1: Millard’s version
- Boil collard leaves until wilted. Remove from pot, set aside.
- Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat.
- Remove bacon, set aside, reserving bacon fat in pan.
- Fry the boiled collard leaves in the fat until cooked through.
- Add seasoning to taste.
Procedure 2: Connie’s version
- Stew collards in a pot with water until soft.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- 1 c. cornmeal
- ¼ c. flour
- Mix all ingredients until it reaches a medium-thick consistency.
- Spread a spoon of the batter on a greased skillet heated to medium high. Spread the batter into the diameter you desire.
- Flip when browned.
On top of one piece of cornbread, add a heap of greens, top with another piece of cornbread. Serve with bacon and chow chow or other savory pickles.
Collard Green, Squash, Black Bean & Smoked Mushroom Rice
By Chef Dana Honn, Cooks’ Alliance, Cafe Carmo, New Orleans
- 2 cups collard greens, chiffonade
- 2 cups cooked black beans (sub any other comparable bean)
- 4 cups cooked medium to long-grain aromatic rice, dry
- 2 cups seasonal fall squash, 1/2 inch dice, par cooked to 75-80% done or very al dente.
- 1 cup smoked mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh aromatic mild to medium-heat pepper, diced (e.g. aji dulce, banana, wax, poblano)
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 cup green onions, chopped (use entire onions)
- 1/2 cup raisins, dried cherries or cranberries
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- sea salt and fresh-milled black pepper to taste
Preparing the primary ingredients:
Any type of local mushrooms will work, oyster, chanterelle, lion’s mane, etc.. The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need a large amount to prepare it. Take a handful of mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups) and place it in your smoker on the lowest heat possible, warm to cold smoking works great. We’re not trying to cook the mushroom and we don’t want the resulting flavor to be bitter or acrid with smoke, so don’t overdo it. As far as recommended woods go, again, something fairly light like maple or a fruit wood like cherry. Generally speaking, 20 minutes in the average home smoker should be plenty. Dice in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces.
A simple thin 1/8” chiffonade is perfect. Be sure and rinse the collards and and remove the ribs first.
Black beans (or other comparable bean)
Simply cook these until they’re done, but not mushy. Throw in a little salt and garlic for seasoning.
If you have access to local or regional varieties, all the better. Heck, mix in some wild rice, if you like! The main thing is you want rice with some flavor, which is normally referred to as aromatic. Make sure you wash your rice and let it sit until it has cooled and all of the moisture has been absorbed, overnight if you need to. We don’t want mushy rice for this dish!
Whatever seasonal fall squash is available in your area; kabocha, butternut, turban, acorn, etc. all work well. Dice in 1/2 inch pieces and either roast or pan fry until they’re 80% cooked but still “toothy.”
In a large wok or cast iron pot, on medium to high heat, pour 1/4 cup olive oil. Before the oil smokes add garlic, a dash of salt, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and half of the green onions. Next, add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes, or until you begin to smell the smoke from the mushrooms infusing the oil. Immediately add the remainder of the olive oil, fresh peppers and dried fruit. Allow the pan to heat up a little before adding the collard greens and squash. Once added, mix continually, and allow any residual liquids to burn off, as controlling the moisture content is essential. Again, no mushy rice! Once the squash is cooked, the collards should be done as well. Add in your black beans (make sure they’re well drained), rice and the rest of the green onions. Crank up the heat to the highest setting and vigorously mix and toss. Add a little more olive oil if it’s sticking. Taste and adjust salt, crushed and black pepper to your liking.
Optional Garnish: Toasted nuts, chopped, delicious and highly-suggested (pecans or almonds are especially good); fresh light herbs like parsley or chervil; minced hot peppers
Though this dish is vegan and nutritionally balanced as is, you can certainly add diced sausage or ham (vegan if you like), seasoned fried tofu or even dried (soaked) or fresh shrimp! Simply sauté them in a bit of olive oil and add them for the final toss.
Serve with your favorite hot sauce!
Quick Southern-Style Collards
By Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 to 2 bunches tender collard greens, well washed, stems removed and chopped
- ½ cup rich savory broth or ¼ cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coat the bottom of a large cast iron skillet with the olive oil then add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the chopped collards to the pan along with the broth or vinegar, optional red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper and cook until tender, but still bright green, 4 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve with bottled hot sauce and vinegar at the table.
Zane’s Grandmother's Collards
By: Steven Satterfield + Zane Myrick, Miller Union
- 2 bunches collard greens; thoroughly washed, stems removed and reserved
- 1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
- 1 medium sized onion, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- While you are stemming the collard greens, tear the leaves into pieces and wash them in a large bowl or a clean sink. Remove them from the water and set aside. Place the stems on a cutting board and slice them crosswise about the same size as the diced onion. Set the stems aside and set up to start cooking.
- Set a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil to the pan. Add the collard stems and the diced onion to the pan and season with 1 tablespoon of the measured salt. Sweat for 12 to 15 minutes until the stems become more tender and the onions turn translucent. Add the cider vinegar, stock or water, remaining salt, maple or brown sugar, worcestershire and chile flake and bring the liquid up to a simmer.
- When the mixture is hot, add the torn collard leaves in bunches. If the pot seems like it won’t hold them all, just put some in at a time until they wilt then keep adding until they all fit. Just keep stirring until they make contact with the liquid. If you don’t have enough liquid to cover them, simply add a little more.
- Let simmer for about an hour on low heat until tender and delicious.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
By Bonnetta Adeeb
This can be served as a stew over jasmine rice, as a side dish, or as a cold collard green sandwich as MaLee used to eat it. This recipe comes from our dear adopted Sista, Mirelle Ghbetholancy (Mimi), from Niger, West Africa.
In West Africa, dried fish sets the flavor profile for the signature flavors. In Nigeria they call it stock fish, but with over 3,000 languages spoken in Africa, the name of the dish is not what counts: It’s the flavor, baby. While pork is often used in southern cuisine, you can substitute fish, goat, beef or shrimp. The protein ingredients can be it dried or smoked. That’s how you achieve that African flavor in this dish.
- Cleaned chopped greens: They can be, collards, turnips, kale or mixed.
- Natural peanut butter, egusi, ground nuts, almond butter, cashew butter, or nutter nut butter.
- 2 medium onions.
- Sweet bell peppers — red, yellow green, orange. The more colorful the better (small diced).
- 1 can tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes.
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 8 ounces of either canned salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, oysters, or mussels.
- 1 lb shrimp, fresh or dried
- 1-2 lbs of another protein option such as lamb, goat or pork
- 2 ounces of dried fish can enhance the flavor as well
Many seasonings are very salty so use them to taste.
- 2 – 4 cubes of shrimp, vegetable or chicken bouillon (Maggi or Knorr)
- 1 tbs Fish sauce (Thai)
- 2 tbs of Olive oil (add more as needed)
- 1 tsp Matouk’s hot sauce (A Jamaican brand that uses scotch bonnets and papaya)
- Slap Yo Mamma seasoning to taste
- Parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, bay leaf, Italian seasoning — any spice you can get your hands on
- Peppers – such as scotch bonnets (very hot); other peppers are ok
- 2 bay leaves
Cook the greens separately from the preparing the sauce. Cooking in two pots speeds up the process when preparing for a party or larger event. You can speed up your cooking time by using canned greens and simply combine all the ingredients into one pot. But if you use canned greens, reduce the salty ingredients like fish sauce and bouillon.
Preparing the greens pot
- Set up two large pots (One for the sauce and one for greens).
- Use a deep pot for the cooking the fresh greens.
- Add your chopped cook them with onions and garlic.
- Add the vegetable or chicken bouillon.
- You can refrigerate or freeze the greens and can bring them out as needed.
Preparing the Mimi Sauce
- Dice the onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, scotch bonnets or available peppers.
- Heat pot then pour olive oil and additionally squeeze the liquid/oil from the canned fish.
- Sautée vegetables and add in seasoning.
- Cook vegetables until tender then add 1⁄2 cup of natural peanut butter or some other nut butter.
- Egusi (melon seeds) can be used also.
- Cook this mixture until it is smooth.
Add the sauce, one large ladle at a time into the large pot with cooked greens until thoroughly combined. This is an art. (You may not need to add all the sauce you prepared. If there is left over sauce freeze or refrigerate for another dish.)
Once greens have absorbed the sauce and they have a creamy consistency, you can begin to add your protein option of seafood, canned fish, lamb, shrimp, beef, and cook on low heat until the shrimp or meat is either pink or completely cooked. Put on a tight fitting lid and turn off for the dish to rest.
Serve over a bed of Jasmine rice.