Collard greens are definitely underestimated. When we think of collard greens, we usually assume that all they are good for is to stew down with onions, tomatoes and bits of ham. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love this southern side dish. It’s a standard at Cracker Barrel for a reason. But collards can offer so much more! Collard greens are a full-flavored green that sometimes gets left behind in the minds of many cooks, but their versatility is actually quite amazing.
Collard greens are just as tasty as any other green that you’ve had the pleasure of running across. Collards really remind me a lot of kale. They both are very hearty, fibrous and have a bitter bite to them. But once you learn how to properly work with these leafy greens, they will quickly become some of your favorites! When you want to use a hearty green for a delicious salad there are two major things you want to keep in mind:
The first thing you should remember is that you will need to chop collard greens into smaller, bite-sized pieces because collards are dense and have a thick stem. Another rule of thumb to remember is that, unlike other greens like lettuce, collard greens can withstand the acidity of a vinaigrette much longer without wilting. The acid in a vinaigrette actually breaks down these tough leaves and makes them more palatable. The same goes for kale. When a sturdy green is paired with a full-flavored vinaigrette, it always delivers a filling, satisfying salad that people will love!
Fresh Collard Green Salad with Apples, Red Onions, Golden Raisins, and Peanut Vinaigrette
- 1 large bag collard greens (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 3 Granny Smith apples, sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Make the vinaigrette by first toasting chopped peanuts in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown and fragrant.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add vinegar, mustard, honey, minced shallot, and peanuts. Stir until combined.
- Slowly pour in olive oil while vigorously mixing with your whisk. Continue to add oil slowly until the mixture is emulsified.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Set vinaigrette aside. (For a warm salad, the vinaigrette can be slowly heated and kept warm.)
- Slice apples and red onions.
- Pour chopped collard greens into a large bowl. Add onion, apples and golden raisins. Dress with your vinaigrette at least 5 minutes prior to eating salad.