Collard "Gringo" Tacos

I’ve gleaned quite a lot of collard greens at the farm this fall and I am just now eating down the last of them. I just recently tried and became a fan of this close relative to cabbage. The best way I can find to describe them as a dark green flat leafed cabbage. The flavor is pretty mild and they are pretty easy to grow too. Just a tip, they are a cold weather crop that grows best in the early spring and late fall. In fact, the taste actually improves after a frost, which makes the leaves become slightly sweet. If you have not tried them I implore you to do so, at least just once.

Confession time! I like veggies but I sometimes don’t feel like eating them, so I have to get creative to keep my palate interested. The mild flavor of collards makes them complement almost any dish they‘re added to. The past few months I’ve pretty much tried putting them in almost anything I am having for dinner including stir fry, leek soup, potato salad, and yes, on my tacos.

Last week I came home from work and whipped up some tacos before I had to be out the door again. I didn’t have lettuce handy and was feeling guilty that I had not eaten some greens yet. The thought came to use the collards so I went with it. I wouldn’t say it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever made, but it was a nice twist on a classic. The only reason I decided to post the recipe was because the name, Collard Gringo Tacos was too good to keep to myself. The name came while I was eating and I started to laugh and it almost became a bit of a situation. Anyway, I had to make my Pa proud and show him that I am out in the world flapping my little bad joke wings.

Mo’s Collard Gringo Tacos:
  • Taco meat
  • Corn tortillas
  • Steamed Collard Greens
  • Top with the usual suspects: cheese, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, or avocado

For the taco meat, I usually just grill up some ground beef, chicken or pork with some chopped onion, olive oil, salt, few cloves of garlic and chili powder. Get the corn tortillas warm and crispy by putting them in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil. Assemble taco and devour.

Cooking Collards: The best way to eat them, as it is with most things in the mustard family, is lightly cooked. I prefer to steam them, if you don’t have a steamer here is the best way I have found. First, I chop collards to sizes suiting my little hearts desired (sometimes I cut the midrib out, sometimes I don’t). Place them in a pot and rinse thoroughly. Drain out excess water; place a lid on the pot and put it on the stove top under medium/high heat. Open lid once or twice to stir the greens while they are cooking. When leaves are slightly wilted remove from heat. I am not a fan of over cooking any greens. It tastes gicky-yucky, makes the texture bla and it’s not as nutritious.