Recipe Adapted from
Nature’s Greens, W. P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.
Collard greens have been cooked and used for centuries. The Southern style of cooking of greens came with the arrival of African slaves to the southern colonies and the need to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. As the slave diet began to evolve and spread when slaves entered the plantation houses as cooks, their African dishes, using the foods available in the region in which they lived in, began to evolve into present-day Southern cooking, becoming a huge part of the Southern American culinary tradition known as “soul food”.
This recipe uses collard greens in a unique way, borrowing for the Italian culture with the use of orzo, tomatoes and dried Italian herbs, which comes together for a quick and easy meal that can be served family style for a hungry crowd, that is both healthy and tasty at the same time.
1 cup uncooked orzo
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 pound collard greens, washed and chopped *
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add orzo and return to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the pasta has thoroughly cooked, about 6 to 9 minutes. Drain pasta and return to the pot, add the Italian herbs and gently toss to mix. Cover and set aside.
In another large stock pot, heat on medium and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic and tomatoes and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the same stock pot. Add the collard greens and toss to coat. Saute the greens for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the orzo, garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice. Stir and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a rustic crusty bread, if desired.
* If fresh collard green are not available, an excellent alternative substitute are the commercially available “Natures Green Collard Greens” which can be found in the produce section of most local supermarkets and grocery stores.
For a variation, you can add sweet Italian sausage to this dish. Pinch little pieces of the sausage from the casing and roll them into 1-inch balls. Brown them in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove the sausage meatballs out of skillet and set aside. Following the recipe, add the sausage to the stock pot when adding the orzo, tomatoes, collard greens and lemon juice. Stir to combine and proceed with the recipe.