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Who loves collard greens?

Have you ever eaten collard greens? Be honest. Those of us out here in the Rocky Mountain West don’t make a habit of eating these hearty (hardy) plants, but you Southerners do, don’t you?

Okay, we’ll start from scratch. Although collard greens have the exact texture and feel of household rubber gloves, they’re actually quite tasty if you prepare them right. And they are SO healthy — they definitely deserve super food status.

Just look closely at these pictures I took of my Grant Family Farms organic collard greens. Look at the veins, the deep green color, and the firm, fresh leaves. You can literally see the vitality of the plant, the life-force. Not to mention all that fiber. Now, don’t you know this stuff has to be good for you?

Why collard greens are on my list of super foods: 

• contain compounds that help the liver detoxify icky (scientific word) substances
• one of the highest sources of plant-based calcium (yeah! good for us dairy-free people)
• low in calories, high in nutrients
• excellent source of vitamins K, A, C
• excellent source of manganese and folate
• high in fiber

How to prepare and store collard greens:

• rinse well, but avoid soaking as some of the nutritional value will be lost
• I use stems and all; stack or roll-up leaves and cut in 1-inch slices
• the stems contain a LOT of fiber, so use the whole plant
• sauté in small amount of broth or olive oil for about 5 minutes
• store in plastic bag in refrigerator; they stay fresh about 5 or 6 days

Nutritional considerations

Collard greens are part of a class of foods that contain goitrogens. Goitrogens are foods containing certain substances that can disrupt thyroid function in humans. Cruciferous veggies, which include collard greens, and soy-based foods are the main sources of goitrogens (see complete list below). Although there is some controversy about goitrogen foods and thyroid activity, there are also no definitive research studies indicating these foods should be avoided if you have a healthy functioning thyroid. Discuss any concerns you may have regarding this with your health care practitioner.

Goitrogen containing foods

cruciferous veggies
broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, turnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi

soy-based foods
tofu, tempeh, soybeans

other goitrogenic foods
millet, radished, peanuts, spinach, strawberries, peaches

Collard greens and beans recipe
what you need

• one small onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup diced squash (I use zucchini or yellow squash, but it doesn’t matter)
• 3 cups or so of washed and sliced collard greens
• 1/2 (or a little more) cup of GF chicken or veggie broth
• 1 can cannellini beans, drained (15 ounce can, drained)
• 1 can diced tomatoes (reserve a little of the juice)
• sea salt and ground pepper to taste

what you do
Chop onion, garlic, and squash and set aside. Rinse and chop greens. Heat a few tablespoons of the broth over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Once broth is steamy, add onions, garlic, and squash and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the broth, tomatoes (and a touch of the juice if you need more liquid) and the beans and simmer on medium-high (almost to a boil). Add collard greens and simmer for another 5 minutes. You want the liquid to reduce so it’s like a big warm bowl of salad, not a sloppy bowl of soup. This is one of my “launching pad” recipes, so there’s lots of room for changes.

Go forth and play with your food!

In good health,

7 Responses to “Beans and greens (recipe included)”

  1. Lo! says:

    Great post, Melissa! We love collard greens around our house — both for their flavor and nutritional value!

    Love your blog too… have been poking around all morning, and there’s some great stuff here.

  2. CeliacChick says:

    Love the photos- especially the rubber glove one! Cute!
    My bad, I have eaten collard greens in Brooklyn prepared by my adopted granny with lots of hamhock badness that tasted so good. Yum! A little ham is ok, eh? Someone else prepared them for me with smoked turkey necks instead as a healthier alternaive and they were quite tasty.

  3. Tevis says:

    Hey Mom!

    Way to bring back collard greens! I ate collard greens almost every day when I lived in Mobile, AL and eat them almost every time I go to Karyn’s Cooked here in Chicago. They are so wonderful!

  4. michelle says:

    Beautiful! I actually do eat collards often (they come in our CSA though, so it’s like cheating…almost) but I really like them! I love that your recipe is simple and doesn’t cook them forever because so many do and I think it just takes away from their taste and nutrition! When I can have beans again, I’ll be trying this! Love the gloves pic 😉

  5. Melissa says:

    Hey Lo (rather than Hi Lo),
    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it! You’re right, collard greens are flavorful and nutritious. Good stuff, for sure.

    Ham is okay. Actually, it’s really high in B vitamins. Hmmm? I’ve never had smoked turkey necks. I don’t think I’d seek those out, but I trust you that they’re tasty.

    Hey T — you’ll have to take me to Karyn’s Cooked some day. 🙂

    Michelle — my abundance of collard greens is from my CSA too. Just skip the beans with this recipe. It’s a “launching pad” recipe. One of those that you just make up and tweak accordingly!

  6. Emilia says:

    The pictures look great 🙂

    I rarely eat collard greens, they slow my thyroid (which went really bad during my vegetarian years), and my stomach doesn’t exactly love them, but for healthy people they are probably a good source of nutrition.

    Still, I sometimes eat broccoli and the likes, just because I like how they taste, but soy is something I never eat nowdays, because of my thyroid and because of a soy allergy developed during ten years of being a vegetarian.

    Do you know if cooking really destroys the goitrogens? There is so much different info about this and I am feeling confused about this subject.

  7. Melissa says:


    Yes, we have to figure out what works right for each of us. No soy for me either. And you’re so right, some (a lot) of the health and nutritional information about food is very confusing. I almost always lightly cook goitrogen foods just to be on the safe side because I eat so much of the stuff.

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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