Leafy greens are sadly missing from the Standard American Diet (SAD). So many people have never tasted kale and collard greens. These veggies used to be a common food on the table here in the States yet somehow they have slipped off the charts and become unfamiliar and unwanted. That’s sad (no pun intended), because these greens are so nutrient dense; very high in vitamins K, A and C, folate, manganese and calcium-they offer a powerhouse of vitamins in every bite. They are cruciferous vegetables which are a part of a cancer-fighting diet and have cholesterol lowering properties as well. Add the anti-oxidant, heart disease reducing, vision boosting effects of carrots and you have one amazingly healthy dish!
This dish is always a surprise because it is such a sweet dish. It is a staple in my home and after you get the hang of cooking the greens and carrots to your desired consistency, you will love it. I serve this frequently to guests (I always put another veggie on the table…just in case) and they are always surprised that they like it. It always goes and I am often asked for the recipe so I know they’re not just being nice- which is always a possibility. If you can get your hands on fresh carrots the dish will be that much sweeter.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of Extra- Virgin Olive oil
- 1 large bunch of kale or collard greens*
- 1 large onion, sliced very thin
- 2-3 large carrots, julienne finger length (they don’t need to be too thin) – fresh if available
- Wash greens and stack leaves on top of each other and slice or chop into small bite size pieces depending on your preference.* Set aside
- Heat olive oil in pan
- Add the sliced onion and cook over medium heat until wilted and starting to brown
- Place the greens on top of the onions. Cover and allow the greens to wilt a bit over low – very medium low heat. They aren’t cooking at this point; they are wilting.
- After 3-4 minutes toss greens and onion with a rubber spatula, mix well.
- Cover and cook over a medium-low flame- slowly. Toss every 3-4 minutes and taste each time. If the leaves were not that wet, you may need to sprinkle a little water on top.
- Cook until just tender,. Do not cook too fast or they will overcook.
- Place sliced carrots on top of greens and cover pan. Do not mix.
- Allow the carrots to cook sitting on top of greens for about 3-4 minutes on a little higher than a low flame before mixing into the greens.
- Mix carrots into greens, stirring ingredients thoroughly, replace cover and cook over low heat just until carrots are slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes. It is important not to over-cook the carrots. The carrots are just cooking in the heat of the greens, and this will sweeten the whole dish. Check in, toss a little and taste the carrots. It’s cooked as soon as the carrots are softened.
A Note about Preparation of Greens
If you don’t feel like cleaning and chopping you can by the pre-cut, pre-washed bag of greens at your supermarket, and you can by julienned carrots ready to go also. They won’t be as fresh, but it will be a lot easier. You will need to sprinkle some water on top of the greens when you begin to cook.
Collard greens are a lot easier to handle than kale. They are easier to clean, and unless the stems are very thick, you can leave them intact; just be sure to stack and cut into thin bite size strips.
If you don’t usually eat kale, you may want to strip the kale from the stems. This is very easy to do- just hold the bottom of the stem and slide your hand up- the leaves will come right off. I like the stems, so you can skip this step if you think it won’t matter; they’re a little crunchy, so it’s up to you. If you can locate Lacinato kale (usually available at Whole Foods), it’s a much easier kale to cook; they are narrow, thin and have no tough stems.
If you are trying to sell this to your family for the first time, remove the stems, cut the greens up small and make sure they are cooked through. Don’t rush the cooking- take your time and make sure they are tender.