Kale, who?

Eating raw collards may not seem appealing to most. But if you are a kale fan, you’re keeping it all in the family. Collard greens are traditionally braised, or slow cooked with liquid to soften the leaves. If prepped and massaged prior to consumption, then you can reap all the benefits of eating them raw.

Collard greens (and other vegetables in the cruciferous family — think broccoli, bok choy and cabbage) provide bountiful nutritional benefits. A low calorie diet that is high in vegetable intake has been proven to decrease the risk of a number of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Just a few health advantages:

- vitamin K: modifier of bone matrix proteins and improves calcium absorption
- glucosinolates: sulfur-containing compounds that prevent the cancer process at different stages of development for lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.
- alpha-lipoic acid (ALA): an antioxidant that can lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent changes related to oxidative stress in people with diabetes. It can also help to regenerate liver tissue.

And just a note, like with many foods, cooking some cruciferous vegetables can reduce the levels of nutrients. So we’ll keep the collard greens raw in this recipe, try something different! Plus salads are all about texture and flavor — this one packs a punch.

Implementing bright dressing that includes lime and ginger will balance out the dark, leafy greens. The dressing may seem cumbersome, with the number of ingredients, but it is so worth it. It is an authentic Thai peanut dressing recipe I learned while training in Koh Samui. Note: I’ve adapted it a bit, based on the availability of some ingredients. I suggest doubling it, because it just is too tasty.

This is a vegan recipe, packed with vegetables and herbs! If you’d like extra protein, sautéed fish or shrimp will be a guilt-free addition. Otherwise, happy chopping!

TIP: Prior to making the salad, massage the collards with a bit of lime juice and salt until it starts to soften, after about 3 minutes.



thai collard greens salad w/ peanut dressing

15 min total prep time, serves 2 to 4


1 bunch collard green leaves, stems removed and thinly julienned
red cabbage, shredded
scallions, chopped
carrots, thinly shaved
red bell peppers, chopped
mung bean sprouts
bunch fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
handful of chopped peanuts

½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of sriracha
water, as needed



Whisk all dressing ingredients together, one by one. If the dressing is too thick, use a bit of water to thin  it out, but not enough to dilute the flavor. Set aside.

Combine all salad vegetables in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and throughly toss.

Note: you may not need all the dressing for the salad.

Top with extra cilantro or crushed peanuts. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

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