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Sweet-and-Tart Collard Tangle

Let this gorgeous salad keep you healthy and strong during the holiday rush and through the dark days of winter. Slice raw collard leaves thin and then massage and marinate the resulting tangle so it remains lively without being rebellious. Fruit and nuts add color, sweetness, and more protein. This salad can shine as your potluck contribution or serve as your antidote to December's sugar rush. One of the sixty scrumption recipes in my book Fifty Weeks of Green.

easy raw collard and fruit salad for holiday potlucks or winter meals

Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 20 minutes minimum, but best after marinating at least two hours. Yield: 8 servings.


  • 12 ounces collards (340 grams or about 8 medium leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 sweet apple, perhaps a Gala or Fuji
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (27 grams)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (40 grams)


  1. Cut or pull stems away from collard leaves and save stems for another use. Cut into very thin strips. The stack, cut, roll, and slice technique shown below is a fast way to do this. Put collard leaves into a non-reactive container (see tips).

    cut stems from raw collard leaves then stack and slice to make raw collard slaw

    roll collard leaves and slice thin into ribbons for quick collard ribbons

  2. With clean and loving hands, gently squeeze and massage the collards five or six times until they relax a bit. Inhale their deep green fragrance and admire your wild collard tangle.
  3. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour this dressing over the collard tangle and toss until all the green ribbons are well coated and glossy. If convenient, cover and refrigerate for two to twenty-four hours before finishing the recipe.
  4. Core apple, slice, and cut into small pieces. Chop walnuts if needed. Toss the fruit and nuts with the collard leaves, making sure to coat the apple pieces well so they don't brown.
  5. Serve chilled at once. Keeps without browning or losing its chewy spring for at least twelve hours. (I'll update this as I learn more.)

vegan raw collard salad with apples walnuts and raisins.


  • Momentum. If you are cooking for someone who prefers softer food or just when you are tired of eating the chewy tangle raw, steam it briefly to further relax the leaves and bring out the sweetness of the fruit. You can do this in a steamer over the stove or by microwaving it with a teaspoon or two of water in a covered container on high for about 45 seconds per serving. Cook once, enjoy several times!
  • A non-reactive container is one that does not leach out into the food when exposed to acids such as lemon juice. Glass, Pyrex, ceramic, and stainless steel containers are not reactive. Some but not all plastic is non-reactive. Aluminum, copper, and cast iron containers are reactive. Using a reactive container may make your food taste odd, and pit the container. See this guide from Health Canada for more information on the health benefits and risks of cooking with reactive containers.

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