Bring your salad game up a notch with this Spicy Collard Greens recipe and enjoy an appetizing mix of spicy, savory, and sweet flavors with a crisp-tender texture. This gluten-free and nutritious green salad comes together quickly and is super affordable too. You can enjoy it as a low-calorie, light meal. Or pair it with your fave entrees for a more substantial mealtime.
An Easy and Healthy Salad
Take a break from the classic Ceasar salad or Vinaigrette salad, and give this fiery green salad version a try! You can make this Southern BBQ staple in less than 20 minutes using a handful of veggies, pantry basics, and one pan only. The combination of crushed red pepper, hot sauce, and maple syrup gives it a distinctive kick, unlike any other salad you have tried.
Collard greens are cruciferous vegetables that boast quite an impressive nutritional profile. It is low in calories, nutrient-dense, full of vitamins, and is brimming with fiber and antioxidants! Though they can be eaten raw, we prefer them slightly cooked because they taste better and are easier to chew.
Spicy Collard Greens Ingredients
Aromatics - We used diced onions, minced garlic, and diced red bell pepper as a savory flavor base for this salad.
Collard greens - Are often confused with kale, but these are two different cruciferous veggies. While kale leaves are curly and narrow, collard greens are flat and large. They do taste similar though collard greens are milder in flavor.
Maple syrup – You can also use agave nectar as a substitute.
Crushed red pepper – You can sub with chili powder or paprika if you'd like.
Hot sauce - The amount depends on how spicy you want the salad to be. We find a couple of dashes are enough especially paired with crushed red pepper But feel free to reduce or add more.
How to Prepare Collard Greens
Unlike some green leaves like arugula and spinach, collard greens require a bit more preparation before cooking them. Do not worry; it is not a lot of work, though, just a few easy steps to ensure that you have perfectly delicious collard greens all the time.
The first step is to, of course, clean them. Wash the collard green thoroughly in running water until all the dirt has been removed. Pat dry with a paper towel or dry cloth. Place the leaves on a cutting board and slice off the stem and rib parts. These are tough and bitter, so you do not want them in your salad. Next, roll the leaves together in a bunch and slice through them vertically in about 1-inch strips. That’s it!
Note: If you are using collard greens in other recipes that do not require sautéing to soften them, I recommend steaming the leaves first to make them easier to eat and less bitter to the taste. I learned this from making my Collard Green Lunch Wraps, which you can try if you have leftover leaves.
How to Make It
1) Saute bell pepper, onion, and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes on a nonstick or lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
2) Add chopped greens, syrup, crushed red pepper, and hot sauce. Make sure to do a taste test and make adjustments to your liking.
3) Once the collard greens are slightly wilted and softened, remove from pan and serve warm.
Tips when Making Spicy Collard Greens
Make sure to completely dry the collard green leaves before adding them to the pan. If it is watery, it will create steam making the veggies limp and soggy.
You can add more green leafy vegetables like arugula, kale, and spinach to the salad. Not only will this give you a range of flavors, but it will also give it more body and texture.
Add more flavor and crunch by adding some nuts or seeds too.
Amp up the sweetness by adding dried fruits or berries like apricots, cranberries, and prunes. They will also add more color to your salad.
Spice it up by adding herbs like mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, cilantro, and dill. Looking for ways to keep your herbs fresh longer, check out this great guide!
Serving and Storing
This collard green salad is best served warm, right after cooking. In case you have leftovers, you can place them in a container in a fridge for a day or two. You can enjoy them chilled or warmed in the microwave for a few seconds.
Go healthy, and try these other easy Green salads too:
Garbanzo Bean Kale Salad - Made of protein-rich garbanzos and vitamin-loaded kale leaves, this super easy salad will be on your plate in just 15 minutes or less. Enjoy it as a light meal, or use it as a side to jazz up your main dish for lunch or dinner.
Vegan Broccoli Salad - Is a stunning assortment of fresh green florets, dried berries, and crunchies tossed in a light vinaigrette dressing. A merge of amazing colors, flavors, and textures that create a perfect light and refreshing salad. Make this delectable fall raw salad in just 10 minutes!
Wild Rice Fall Salad - Is chockful of fresh autumn ingredients, creating a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors and textures. It is a high-fiber dish full of amazing tastes, from the sweetness of apples and dried berries, nuttiness from the pecans, and wild rice with a hint of smokiness too.
In a nonstick or lightly oiled pan, saute the bell pepper, onion, and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add chopped greens, syrup, crushed red pepper, and hot sauce.
Cook until greens have softened, about 3-5 minutes depending how tender you like your collard greens.
This gluten-free and nutritious green salad comes together quickly and is super affordable too. You can enjoy it as a low-calorie, light meal. Or pair it with your fave entrees for a more substantial mealtime.