For the past few months I’ve been been experimenting with vegan cooking. I find it really interesting and challenging to cook in a different way than what I’m used to. In November I bought Alicia Silverstone’s new book The Kind Diet. The book has a lot of useful information on a vegan diet and lots of really yummy looking recipes. Sicilian Collard Greens is one of those recipes.
I used to think “greens” were gross. I couldn’t imagine ever eating them. Until I participated in a CSA program in 2008 and received a ton of mustard greens. I hate letting food go to waste so I had to figure out a way to eat them. I started out with Mustard Green Gratin, which is basically a ton of cheese mixed up with some steamed greens. Then I tried eating them just steamed with apple cider vinegar. Then a few months ago we made a side dish of cooked spinach with white beans one night from a recipe in Real Simple and I loved them. So I guess I like greens now. They sort of grew on me in a way.
Sicilian Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens
2 tbsp pine nuts (I used pepitas)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp raisins (I used Craisins)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cut out the central rib and stem from each collard leaf. Rinse the leaves in a sink of cool water, lifting them into a colander to drain a bit (you want some water to remain on the leaves). Tear leaves into smaller pieces. If desired, chop some of the stems into bite size pieces.
Toast the pine nuts or pepitas over medium heat in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes. Shake the pan often to keep nuts from burning. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In case you are wondering, pepitas are pumpkin seeds without the shells. I love ’em. This is what they look like:
Place the garlic and oil in a large skillet and saute over medium heat for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the damp collards and stir, then cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the raisins (Craisins) and pine nuts (pepitas) and stir. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
My take on it: The hardest part of this recipe is washing and trimming the greens. That takes the longest. Other than that, the recipe is pretty simple. I used Craisins and pepitas only because I didn’t have any raisins or pine nuts. We ate this with brown rice for a healthy dinner.
I liked this recipe while my husband didn’t like it as much, which is rare. Usually he eats everything and I’m the picky one. He said there was a flavor in there that didn’t sit right with him, though he couldn’t put his finger on it. He thought maybe it was the pepitas.
Bottom Line: We will make this again, but with a different nut or seed instead of pepitas.
See my first vegan recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes