What Do Collard Greens Taste Like?

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Thinking about trying collard greens? We'll tell you what to expect in terms of flavor and texture. Plus, we'll give you some tips on making it super scrumptious.

Raw Organic Green Collard Greens on a Background

Let's get started...

What Do Collard Greens Taste Like? 

The most obvious flavor in collard greens is bitterness. It's not at all far from the bitterness of kale, but it's less potent. In this way, collard greens can be said to have a mellower bite.

Their green flavor is also nicely muted. It lends an agreeable earthiness that's detectable but not overpowering. In short, collards are not too pungent and perfect for sauteing with a whole lot of garlic.

Collard Greens Texture 

Collard green leaves are sturdy. They're thick and a little tough, so they need longer cook times to soften up than greens like spinach and Swiss chard.

When collards are cooked until soft, they're still dense enough to be chewy, adding nice texture variation to vegetable medleys or the main course in a side dish.

Can You Eat the Stems of Collard Greens? 

You can indeed eat the stems of collard greens. The vein that runs up the middle of the leaf is quite fibrous and hard, however, so your best bet is to cook it really well.

You may even decide to ditch the stems entirely if you can't get them soft enough. That's perfectly fine. Just cut away the leafy parts (or pull them off by hand) and discard the stems before cooking. 

Do Kale and Collard Greens Taste the Same? 

Kale and collard greens are very closely related. As we mentioned earlier, these cruciferous vegetables are both bitter, though collard greens are slightly milder.

The "green" taste is more pronounced in kale. This is in part why it tastes more bitter. Altogether, collard greens are softer and gentler in taste.

How Do You Get the Bitter Taste Out of Collard Greens? 

A neat trick to get the bitter taste out of collards is to soak or cook them in salted water. You might also braise them in vegetable broth, but the saltiness is the most important element.

Something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar goes a long way in reducing bitterness, too. It's also said that overcooking collards can amplify it, but the ingredients you cook them with will do the work in cutting it down.

Collard Greens Serving Tips 

Collards are the kinds of vegetables you want to save for hearty dishes. Now let's see what you can do with these majestic greens. 

Collard greens are a mainstay of many Southern diets, but they're typically cooked with ham. Check out this video for a flavorful vegan method of preparing collards.

Here's what you need:

  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Veggie broth
  • Smoked salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Collard greens
  • Black pepper
  • Hot sauce

Here's a vegan gumbo that you'll want to try on comfort food nights. Note that the chef doesn't specify vegan Worcestershire sauce, but make sure yours says that it's vegan, or it will contain anchovies.

Grab these ingredients: 

  • Flour
  • Cooking oil
  • Bell pepper
  • Red onions
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable stock
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried fennel
  • Oregano
  • Gumbo filĂ© powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce (make sure it's vegan)
  • Rice
  • Scallions

Wrap Up 

If you love kale, try collard greens, the up-and-coming star of the show. Remember to cook your collards in a salted liquid or with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to reduce the bitterness. Try vegan stews and gumbos or even braised collard greens with rich vegetable stock for dinners you'll start to crave.

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