When I moved to Georgia from Colorado, I was excited to see how easy it was to buy collard greens. You can get them prewashed, shredded and bagged at the grocery store. No more special trips to the farmer’s market or Whole Foods!
Collards are cruciferous vegetables like kale and spinach and have similar antioxidant and nutritional values. My favorite way to cook them up is using Hugh Acheson’s recipe - Sweetened Collard Greens. He uses maple syrup (Hugh’s Canadian after all) but I use sorghum to take away some of the collard greens’ bitterness. Another way I like cooking collard greens is with rice vinegar in my Tangy Collard Greens recipe.
However, I usually cook greens as a side dish. This recipe featured in the current issue of Martha Stewart Living is a perfect dinner dish for Meatless Monday – Stuffed Collard Greens. It's so good that they've given me permission to share it with you!
Their recipe for Stuffed Collard Greens is reminiscent of stuffed cabbage leaves, and uses spelt, which is a whole grain rich in nutrients. (However, it's not gluten free.)
Collard greens get their signature richness from being cooked with ham hocks or bacon. (I make my greens with country ham, which I call the “poor man’s prosciutto.”)
For a vegetarian version that achieves the same depth of flavor, trying use Parmesan rind instead. It contains umami, the savory taste found in cured meat and soy sauce. The rind will hold its shape as the greens simmer. Just remove it from the pot when you’re done cooking.
Stuffed Collard Greens
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- Pinch red-pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup spelt
- 1 pound collard greens
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- Pulse tomatoes with juices in a food processor until chopped. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let cool.
- Stir spelt into a saucepan of salted boiling water. Reduce to a steady simmer; cook, uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and let cool.
- Meanwhile, add collard greens in batches to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and let cool. Trim off stems and thick ribs. Reserve 12 large leaves; chop any remaining leaves.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coarsely mash beans in a bowl. Add cooked spelt, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, cheese, sage, and any chopped collards. Stir to combine. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
- Working with one collard leaf at a time, arrange 1/4 cup filling in center. Fold stem end over filling. Fold in sides. Roll collard over to form a bundle, overlapping ends to seal. Transfer, seam-side down, to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Spread sauce evenly over stuffed collards. Cover with parchment, then foil; bake until sauce is bubbling and collards are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Serving size: 1 stuffed collard green
- Calories: 305
- Total Fat: 12g
- Saturated fat: 2g
- Unsaturated fat: 10g
- Sodium: 635mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 43g
- Fiber: 9g
- Protein: 11g
- Cholesterol: 3mg
Photography by David Malosh. Recipe and photograph used with permission.