Collard greens – What can you do with them?

Never heard of sorrel? Neither had I, until last May when we moved into our house. Our new neighbors were enthusiastic about our garden plans as much as their own. They quickly introduced us to a friend of theirs who lived just around the corner and who happens to work at this wonderful place. One afternoon Jared found himself going over to this friend of a friends house to help him pick up something.

An hour or so later Jared comes home arms full of what looked like some spent grassy weeds and a few cuttings of mint. Jared had the biggest smile on his face because he knew how excited I’d be about these new plants, but then he couldn’t remember the name of the said plant and we played a quick round of me asking “what did it start with?” or “what did it sound like?”. Somehow we finally came up with sorrel. I had nowhere to put it at that moment so I threw the whole plant into a large bucket filled with dirt and called it good.

Collard Greens

The plant looked totally dead and I may have neglected it a little, but it still managed to grow last year and the next thing I knew the whole plant was going to seed before I had a chance to use it. Luckily it’s a perennial and a hearty one around here at that; the light green, sour lemony leaves came back this month so I could finally give them a try. They look a bit like spinach, but a little lighter and yellower in color. They’re great tossed into salads or soups to add a fresh brightness.

I pureed the sorrel leaves with yogurt for a tasty cooling sauce to top off the slightly spicy collard and quinoa mixture. It’s not totally necessary and if you can’t find sorrel leaves you could possibly use fresh lemon juice instead. However, I made extra to so I could spread it on top of sandwiches and tuck it inside some scrambled eggs.

Collards & Quinoa with Sorrel Sauce / serves 4

1 bunch collard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into half circles
pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup dry)
1/3 cup Asiago cheese
salt and pepper
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
sorrel sauce to serve, recipe below

De-stem the collards and thinly slice the leaves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Then finely chop up the stems, this is optional, but I try to avoid wasting perfectly edible food when I can.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the leeks, garlic, collard stems (if using), red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the finely sliced leaves and cook down until they turn dark green and soften up.

Place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl and toss with the collard mixture. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving top with the toasted almonds and serve with the sorrel sauce on the side.

Sorrel Sauce
Adapted from Plenty
3 cups sorrel leaves, washed
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt to taste

Place everything into a food processor or blender with a pinch of salt and blitz into a light green sauce. Taste then add more salt if desired. Keeps, covered, in the fridge for a couple days.