This bright and zesty Collard Greens Salad is marinated in a flavorful vinaigrette and tossed with citrus, almonds and a dash of Parmesan. Enjoy topped with chickpeas for a complete meal or serve as a side.
Move over spinach, kale and romaine — it’s collard greens time to shine!
I have to admit that I can’t take full credit for this recipe. I’m used to sticking to Instant Pot Collard Greens, but my boyfriend recently had the idea to make a collard greens salad.
Last week he packed me one of these salads for lunch and wow.
This salad is zesty, flavorful and super filling. You’ll find tangerines, almonds, and a few more tasty ingredients.
I’m guessing you already have most of the main ingredients on hand. If not, this recipe is easy to customize and it’s fun to get creative with the toppings.
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From calcium to iron, collards contain a wealth of nutrients. Unfortunately, they have a tough texture that doesn’t take as kindly to salads as spinach or romaine.
Don’t worry, we have a way to fix that!
Did you know that 1 bunch of collards cooks down to about 1/2 cup? Massaging and marinating the collards overnight (or for at least several hours) softens the greens and reduces their volume in much the same way that cooking does.
By massaging and marinating the collards you’re able to eat a larger serving of collard greens than if you were to eat them raw. That means maximum nutrients!
How to Massage Collards
Start by tearing individual leaves into bite sized pieces. You will be left with woody stems which can be chopped up into small 1/2 inch pieces for extra crunch (image one).
Add the bite sized leaves to a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Now to massage! Use clean hands to lightly “massage” the greens with your fingertips. Massage for 2-3 minutes, or until the collards are softened (image two).
By massaging the leaves we are basically breaking down the cell walls in the same way cooking greens does, making them easier to chew– how cool is that? This also makes digesting the greens easier for some.
Next up, the second most important part: the marinade.
This marinade is made of just a few flavorful ingredients:
- Balsamic vinegar
- Whole grain mustard
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Diced red onions
- Minced garlic
The mustard is added for flavor and because the seeds in the mustard helps to hold together — or emulsify — the marinade/dressing.
Toss the massaged greens in the marinade. Top with tangerines (mm that citrus flavor!), sliced almonds and shredded Parmesan.
I usually let the salad rest overnight for optimal flavor and texture, but it should be ready in 4 hours.
How to Serve
Add your favorite protein source — I usually add 1/2 cup chickpeas and a dash of Parmesan — if you’re enjoying the salad on its own. I usually pack a salad for lunch in these containers (seen above).
This marinated salad is also a great option for potlucks or holiday gatherings– I’m thinking the perfect twist on New Year’s beans and greens.
Marinated Collard Greens Salad
- 1 and 1/2 pounds collard greens (see note 1)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup diced red onions
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes more to taste
- 2 small tangerines peeled and divided into individual pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (see note 2)
- freshly grated Parmesan to taste
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the marinade: balsamic vinegar, diced red onion, garlic, mustard, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes. Let rest while you prepare the greens.
- Tear collard green leaves into bite sized pieces. Dice the stems into 1/2" pieces. Combine in a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle greens with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Using clean hands, light massage the collards for 2-3 minutes. The greens will be softer and feel almost wilted.
- Stir together the marinade and collard greens. Top with tangerines, almonds and Parmesan.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before enjoying. For best results, let rest in the fridge overnight (12 to 24 hours).
- Collard greens: 1 bunch of collards usually equals about 3/4 pound. You can use equal amounts of pre-sliced collards to cut down on prep time. Using a salad spinner is a life saver if you’re chopping your own greens.
- Sliced almonds: These are very thinly sliced almonds that you can find in the baking aisle or bulk section. I don’t recommend slicing almonds by hand. If you can’t find sliced almonds, roughly chopped almonds will also work.
- Other variations: Try half mustard greens and half collards for a zesty salad. I haven’t tested this recipe with kale, but imagine it would work.