You can eat is as a salad or a slaw, depending on the dressing you choose!
I didn’t realize that collard greens are only bitter when you cook them. In their raw form, they taste like cabbage, maybe even more mild. Cabbage is a super food, (and cole slaw still counts!) so this is an ultra-super food, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve read that one should eat raw cabbage and/or collards daily to reap the benefits. (Apparently cooking removes the beneficial compounds.)
Prepare your salad by chopping raw red cabbage and raw collard leaves into thin strips, then shorten the strips by chopping up a little shorter. Soak them in your dressing of choice for at least 2 hours. (See choices below…)
For a Coleslaw-type Dressing: Combine about a 1/2 cup of veganaise, a dollop of mustard, 2 splashes of vinegar,a few splashes of soy milk, a tsp of sugar, a little lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste. Mix well. Thin with more soy milk if you want it to be thinner. Add more veganaise if you want it to be thicker. Add more vinegar and lemon if you like more tang. Maybe some more sugar…..just adjust to your taste.
For a lighter,more subtle salad-style dressing:
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Mix well, and let this soak with the cabbage and collards overnight for best taste.
I’ve recently just started enjoying raw collards more. A few months back I attempted to cook them and failed. I didn’t want the Southern-style over-cooked-until-they-turn-grey collards. In those cases, they are heated so long that they go way past bitter into completely flavorless. On the other hand, lightly steaming them brings out all the bitterness that lurks in this high-oxalate leaf. They are so much like cabbage when they are raw, but cabbage becomes sweeter when cooked and collards go the other way.
My first breakthrough was when I wrapped fajitas in a collard leaf instead of a tortilla. In contrast to wrapping my fajitas in a raw cabbage leaf, the collard was better because it had less of a skunky flavor. Both ways were enjoyable and highly recommended as a tasty way to support your 5-veg-a-day.
For those who are a little cabbage and collard-shy, (my husband says that raw cabbage is too “cleanse-y”,) just think of how much you love coleslaw. That’s your way in. Soon you’ll be enjoying collards and cabbage chopped up in your salads along with your kale, or just by themselves. Enjoy!