HEALTHY RECIPE: African Sauteed Collard Greens with Red Onions and Roasted Garlic
On Thanksgiving and Christmas, we gather with family and friends to give gratitude to God for His providence. As Bishop Blake would say, “If God didn’t do anything else for us, we should still give Him thanks for the things He’s already done.” Our good health and our ability to awaken each morning give us another opportunity to make a change in our lives; an opportunity for the miraculous.
The Holiday season is also a wonderful time to honor our ancestors and our family traditions. This year, I made my first voyage to Africa as part of the West Angeles’ missions team sent to Nairobi, Kenya. One of the many wonderful things I learned which connects our African-American traditions to those practiced in the Motherland is that collard greens are an important diet staple in many African countries. Called “Sukuma Wiki” in Swahili, the Kenyans cook them with onions, spices, and even another dark leafy green added (like spinach or kale). BUT: pork and other meats are not usually added. It’s a healthier version of a traditional American favorite, but it’s just as tasty as the greens we grew up with.
To honor our African ancestry in our Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, here’s a tasty, heart-healthy update to one of our favorite traditional African-American dishes. Inspired by the Kenyan preparation of collard greens, this dish may even help to create a new tradition and earn a place of honor next to Grandma’s greens.
Sautéed Collard Greens with Kale, Red Onions, and Roasted Garlic
Total time: 45 minutes
2 lbs. collard greens, washed and cut into ½” strips (stems discarded)
1 bunch Lacinato kale, washed and cut into ½” strips
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
3/4 cup of hot water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bulb (or six cloves) fresh garlic
1 large red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- Dissolve bouillon cube in water; set aside. Heat oil in large frying pan. Add garlic; sauté until garlic is lightly browned. Remove from pan.
- Add onion to pan; saute until onion becomes translucent. Add collard greens and garlic to pan with ½ c. water mixture; mix spices and molasses into the liquid in the pan. Simmer over medium flame for about 15 minutes, until greens begin to soften.
- Add kale to the pan. Mix well, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until softened. Adjust seasonings to taste. Finished greens will be brighter and richer in color and a bit more crisp in texture.
*Alternatives: substitute “no-chicken broth” for an entirely vegetarian version. Use bagged, cut, pre-washed collard greens for a quicker prep time. For those who miss having meat in their greens, add chopped smoked vegetarian sausage, smoked turkey, or crumbled turkey bacon.
- To prepare collard greens for cooking, fold in half and tear the stem from the leaves from the back. Roll leaves into a tubular shape and cut the tube into 1/2″ slices.
- Did you know? Collard greens are extremely low in calories and are rich in folate, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins E, A, K, and C. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with cancer prevention, heart health, and detox and digestive support.
- Blackstrap molasses provides many healthy nutrients including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It is also a diabetes-friendly sweetener.
- Curry powder contains turmeric, which is beneficial for joint health. Red onions enhance our detoxification abilities and are said to regulate blood sugar levels, suppress cancer cell and tumor growth, and increase overall immunity.
Many thanks to West Angeles member Sister Linda Ike for the collaboration, and to Chef Nancy at Cornerstone Faith Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
Recipe and photos by Karen Lascaris.