There’s a lot to love about hearty greens: they don’t bruise easily, they last for up to a week in the fridge, and they’re good in everything from stews to stir-frys. (Coconut-creamed spinach has become a recent food fav of mine.) Perhaps the best thing about hearty greens, though, is that they’re so dang interchangeable. Don’t have Swiss chard? That’s okay – use your turnip greens. Or your curly spinach. Heck, in a pinch, you can even toss the baby spinach you bought to use in a salad into a soup instead.
A quick list of hearty greens:
- Super-hearty kale/dinosaur kale makes great chips and is perfect for stews
- Mustard greens have a (surprise!) mustardy, sharp bite to them, so they’re perfect for spicy Indian dishes or for slightly bland dishes that could use a bit of perking up
- Turnip greens and collard greens are fairly interchangeable; both have wide, flat leaves that can be chopped and added to sautées or even briefly simmered and then used as wraps/edible containers.
- Curly spinach is the green we’re probably most familiar with. It’s my favorite hearty green in terms of flavor, so I often put this into stir-frys and other dishes where it’s going to be the main ingredient. Baby spinach is tender enough to eat raw, but you can still sautée or steam it if you’d like.
- Bok choy and other hearty Asian greens remind me of spinach in that they have a pleasant flavor that’s an easy match for most dishes. I like to sautée bok choy with cooked noodles, ground ginger, and a shot of tamari sauce for a quick Asian-themed meal.
And that’s only a short list of the many hearty greens out there! Popeye was definitely on to something. But back to my point about the interchangeability factor: I wanted to make a Florentine-style omelet, but I didn’t have any spinach…so I used leftover cooked collard greens instead. The result? A Florentine-esque, equally tasty breakfast.
Collard Greens Hotcakes
As far as portions go, one bunch of raw collard greens generally results in 2 cups cooked collard greens, and I used about 1 cup cooked greens + 1 egg per person.
Collard greens, coarsely chopped
Place raw chopped greens into a large stockpot and add 1/4 cup water. Cover and steam over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until greens have reached desired tenderness. Drain. Note that you can keep leftover cooked greens in the fridge for up to 4 days – make extra so that you can start the recipe from this point.
When the greens are cool enough to handle, run them through a food processor. Place greens and eggs in a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Season with a dash of salt.
You can use a griddle or a skillet to cook the hotcakes, but either way, grease your cooking vessel with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or a pat of butter and place over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add batter in 1/4 cup amounts and cook for 2 minutes or until the bottom is turning golden brown. Flip the cakes and cook for another minute or two. (You’re basically making pancakes…except that the pancakes are very green and not quite as pouffy as traditional pancakes.)
The hotcakes are ideal fresh off the stove, but they also make tasty breakfast or snack leftovers.