I was looking for the healthiest, most affordable way to cook collards. I found that, plus my new favorite recipe in the taste department! These are so good that I had the extra for breakfast today. Even people who eat collards solely for the mighty greens’ nutritional mojo find that the lime juice masks the bitterness and the peanut butter adds a silky richness. One serving of Steamed Collards with Lime-Peanut Sauce contains seven grams of protein, no cholesterol, and plenty of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber.
Serve your friends and family Steamed Collards with Lime-Peanut Sauce on New Year’s Day. Tradition holds that the more greens you eat on January 1st, the more folding money you’ll get in the coming year. You’ll appreciate the quick cooking time, everyone will enjoy the taste, and no one will miss the sulfurous smell of overcooked collards.
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 20 minutes. Serves four.
2 cloves garlic
1 pound fresh collards, kale, mustard, or other sturdy greens
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger in a pinch)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon chipotle
- Mince garlic and put into a small bowl. Rinse collards well.
- Set up a steamer by putting about an inch of water in a large pot, adding a steamer basket, and covering the pot. Heat steamer over high heat until water starts to boil, then turn temperature down to low so water barely boils.
- Cut or tear collard leaves away from the center stems. Cut off the bottom of each stem, then cut stems into quarter-inch lengths. Add stems to steamer basket and cook for about four minutes.
- Cut collard leaves into ribbons about two inches by one-quarter inch. Add collard leaves to steamer and cook until tender, about five minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients to bowl with garlic and stir to mix. When collards are tender, transfer them to a serving bowl, top with lime-peanut sauce, and stir to mix.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. Refrigerate any extra and reheat briefly before serving.
- Because you stir in the sauce after steaming the collards, you have a chance to adjust the heat level to suit everyone. Delay adding the chipotle and stir the mild but still flavorful sauce into some of the greens for heat-adverse diners, then stir chipotle into the remaining sauce. You can also serve plain steamed collards and pass the sauce separately, as shown above.
- Make a double batch of sauce and refrigerate or freeze it for use on your next batch of collards, on shredded raw vegetables for slaw, as a marinade, or thinned slightly as a salad dressing.
- Steaming many vegetables until they are just tender brings out their bile-binding powers to lower cholesterol and reduce fat absorption, according to a 2008 study in Nutrition Research. Collards, kale, and mustard greens are champs, with other vegetables also doing a good job : broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, green peppers, and cabbage (shown with most effective vegetables first). The researchers conclude:
Inclusion of steam-cooked collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage in our daily diet as health-promoting vegetables should be emphasized. These green/leafy vegetables, when consumed regularly after steam cooking, would lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, advance human nutrition research, and improve public health.
- Build on that heart-healthy advantage by using cholesterol-free peanut butter instead of fatback or other meat to season the greens. One serving of Steamed Collards with Lime-Peanut Sauce contains seven grams of protein and no cholesterol.