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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Collard Greens and White Bean Casserole

collard green casserole


Greens. What's not to like about them, right? Packed with important nutrients and readily available, greens seem like the obvious choice for daily consumption. Of course, the tough part is learning which greens to eat, how best to cook them, or should we cook them at all, and is it true that eating greens raw is always better...

Mature collard and kale and mustard greens and radish tops and such are so much tastier after steaming or light sautéing, and I'd rather not eat the woody stems. But, tender dandelion leaves, arugula, and baby spinach are wonderful raw, especially in salads.

Radish tops, Beet tops, Pea shoots, Turnip tops, Sorrel, even small Dandelion leaves- I relish them all as much as the usual Chard, Kale, Collard, Mustard, Spinach greens plus the everyday varieties of lettuces and cabbages.

Anyway, enough expounding on the virtues of the greens... This Collard greens casserole recipe is quite simple and lends itself to many possibilities. If I feel indulgent, I cook it much like the traditional Green Bean Casserole recipe with the French fried onions adding the crunch. Sometimes the sauce is creamy and cheesy, and at other times it is full of flavorful herbs in a tomato base. Sometimes it is layered and baked much like Eggplant Parmesan or Lasagna; and sometimes, collard greens are thrown together with other vegetables and finished off with a layer of melted cheese on top.

Collard Greens and White Bean Casserole


I don't have exact measures for this recipe - that's the nice thing about casseroles, it is hard to get them wrong.

Ingredients
Chopped collard greens, steamed till a bit tender
Cooked white beans or black-eyed peas or Mayo Coba beans
Andouille chicken sausage (optional), cooked, diced
small red and orange bell peppers, diced
Onion, chopped
Garlic minced
1 Tbsp oil
Tomato sauce
salt to taste

herbs/spices: lemon pepper, paprika, cumin, parsley

Cheese for topping: Colby Jack, Mozzarella, freshly grated

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, sauté the onions, garlic, bell peppers; add the tomato sauce, cook for a few minutes
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a casserole dish, and stir in some of the grated cheese, reserving the rest for topping
  4. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes, checking once or twice
  5. Top with the rest of the grated cheese and cook for another 5 minutes or so till the cheese melts






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