Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Southern cuisine isn’t known for being healthy (hello, chicken fried steak and gravy!), but when prepared correctly, collard greens are a nutritional jackpot, with tons of vitamins A, C, and K and plenty of antioxidants and flavonoids to guard against disease. Use these smart swaps to green up your diet with collards.
Chicken Hummus Collard Wraps
Collard greens can be tough. Before cooking, trim the bottoms, then use a sharp knife to shave down the tough stem that runs along the spine.
Makes: 4 servings
- 8 large collard leaves, trimmed and prepped
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 lb cooked chicken breast, sliced
- 1 large carrot, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
Place 2 collard leaves head to foot (stalks at opposite ends) and partially overlap. Repeat with remaining leaves. Apply hummus down the bottom third of each pair and top with equal amounts of chicken, carrots and peppers. Drizzle with lemon juice. Roll tightly, tucking in the sides as you go. Cut in half to serve.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 319 cal, 32g prot, 15g total fat, 16g carbs, 452mg sod, 3g fiber
Sub for Spinach in Smoothies
Collard greens provide almost twice as much bone-building calcium as spinach, plus they’re a great source of synergistic nutrients magnesium and potassium.
- Blend 1 cup milk, 1⁄2 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup torn collards, 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, 1⁄2 cup frozen mango and 1⁄2 frozen chopped banana.
Supplant for Spuds in Chips
Augment your vitamin A intake for improved immunity and increased endurance.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Add 1 bunch shredded collards to a bowl with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper and toss to coat. Spread greens on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until crispy.
Swap for Romaine in Caesar Salad
Collard Greens have more protein and less carbs than romaine, so they’re great for Keto eaters.
- Whisk together 2 tablespoons each mayo and white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 chopped anchovy fillets, 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons oil. Pour over 8 cups chopped collard greens. Add 1⁄2 cup each roasted chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes.
Bump for Basil in Pesto
Triple your consumption of folate, which plays a critical role in muscle cell development.
- Use a food processor to combine 1 bunch blanched and chopped collards, 1⁄2 cup cashews, ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 chopped garlic cloves, juice of 1⁄2 lemon and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. With machine running, slowly pour in ⅓ cup olive oil. Use on pasta or zoodles.
Trade for Tortillas in Burritos
Level up your vitamin C intake to hold onto your hard-earned muscle.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Add 1 chopped onion, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 3⁄4 pound ground pork, 1 sliced bell pepper and 1 teaspoon fajita seasoning; cook until peppers are tender. Mash together 1 large avocado and juice of 1⁄2 lime. Spoon pork and avocado into collard leaves with toppings of choice.