Did you know you can make fresh salads out of greens like collards, kale, and mustard greens? Neither did I until a few weeks ago when I learned from a friend how to soften the greens to a point where they are edible raw. How, you ask? Essentially, you massage the greens using salt, an acid (in this case lemon juice), and olive oil. The process only takes about a minute, and then you’re ready to proceed with either eating the greens as they are, or adding additional ingredients to make a mixed salad. That’s what I did here–I mixed the softened greens with several other vegetables, herbs, dried fruit and nuts.
1 bunch collard greens
1/4 of a red onion, cut into slices or diced
3-4 largish radishes, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley (any herb works beautifully here–cilantro would be great)
1 ear of corn, sliced off the cob
2-3 sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/3-1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and sliced or diced
Juice of one lemon
2 T extra virgin olive oil, or other cold-pressed oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 medium purple cabbage, shredded in a food processor or using a box grater, or sliced very thinly with a knife
Handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Handful raisins (here, I use a combo of golden and regular raisins)
First, tear the collard leaves off the stems, and place leaves in a colander or salad spinner. Rinse the leaves well, as collards can have some dirt. Drain.
Next, chop the collards by rolling up several leaves into a roll, and chopping thin slices. Once you chop the slices, cut the leaves down the middle to make even smaller pieces.
Once you’ve chopped all the collards, place them in a large bowl, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until the start to break down and become softer. This should only take about a minute or so.
Next, add the rest of the ingredients. This is a salad, so add whatever vegetables you want. I added what I had in my refrigerator. Shredded carrots would be a nice contrast to all the purple, but, alas I didn’t have any. Oh well.
At this point, you can add additional lemon juice or olive oil if you feel there is not enough dressing for the salad.
Yum! I love collard greens, and I’m so happy I found a new way to eat them. Mostly, I just sautee them in olive oil, and add lemon juice, soy sauce, or other flavoring, or I steam them or add them to soups. I’ve also used collard leaves (which are huge, by the way) to make wraps–i.e. use the leaf as you would a tortilla, and fill it with tasty things.