Move aside boring salads! This bright and zesty collard greens salad is marinated in a flavorful vinaigrette until tender and tossed with citrus, almonds and a dash of Parmesan.
I'm used to sticking to Instant Pot vegan collard greens, but my boyfriend recently had the idea to make a collard greens salad. I was hesitant at first but wow - collards make a great salad!
This salad is zesty, flavorful and super filling. You'll find tangerines, almonds, and a few more tasty ingredients. Repeat after me: no more boring salads.
Why this recipe works
- Tender - Marinating makes the collard greens tender
- Customizable - use kale or mustard greens in place of collards
- Diet-friendly - Vegetarian, vegan-optional, gluten free
- Quick & easy - Only 10 minutes of active time needed!
Collard greens contain a wealth of nutrients but are often overlooked for salads due to their tougher texture. Massaging and marinating the collards overnight softens the greens and reduces their volume in much the same way that cooking them does.
Tangerines add a pop of sweetness to this otherwise tangy salad. Clementines or segmented oranges can be used in place of tangerines.
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar make the backbone of the marinade. If you're able, I recommend choosing a "nicer" oil and vinegar because they contribute so much flavor.
Whole grain mustard helps hold the olive oil and vinegar together in the marinade. The mustard flavor is not strong at all.
Steps to make this recipe
- Start by tearing individual leaves into bite sized pieces. You will be left with woody stems which can be chopped up into small ½ 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 ½ teaspoon salt.
- Massage the collards. Use clean hands to lightly "massage" the greens with your fingertips. Massage for 2-3 minutes, or until the collards are softened (image two).
4. Mix together the marinade/dressing. Toss the massaged greens in the marinade. Top with tangerines, sliced almonds and shredded Parmesan.
Recipe FAQ and Expert Tips
Yes! Kale, turnip greens and mustard greens all work in place of collard greens.
I recommend marinating them for at least 4 hours. Leftovers are best enjoyed within 2-3 days. Keep stored covered and in the fridge.
Yes! Raw, unmarinated collard greens are a bit tough but are edible. Marinating them makes them much more tender and easier to eat.
1 bunch of collards usually equals about ¾ pound.
Exclude the Parmesan to make this salad vegan. Not all Parmesan is vegetarian. Check the ingredients or package label for "vegetarian" or use a similar cheese like shredded Asiago.
More ways to get in your greens
Did you try this recipe? You can leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in the recipe card or a review in the comments section below. I always appreciate your feedback! Or check out my new cookbook and follow along on my YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, or sign up for my newsletter!
Marinated Collard Greens Salad
- 1 and ½ pounds collard greens (see note 1)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup diced red onions
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes more to taste
- 2 small tangerines peeled and divided into individual pieces
- ½ 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 ½" pieces. Combine in a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle greens with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ 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 ¾ 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. You an also use all kale or mustard greens in place of collards.
- Leftovers: Leftovers are best enjoyed within 2-3 days. Keep stored covered and in the fridge.