Chef Hilla Abel is our Holistic Chef Culinary Program Manager.
As a former Optometrist, Chef Hilla shares her eye-healthy Balsamic-Marinated Collard Greens recipe for you to try at home. Enjoy!
Learn more about Chef Hilla by visiting our faculty page.
Collard Greens are a Nutrient-Dense Leafy Green
Leafy green vegetables, such as collard greens, are among the most nutrient-dense foods, also known as “superfoods.” They are high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
As a former optometrist, I especially value their high content in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that protect the delicate tissues in the back of the eye from the harsh rays of the sun.
I like to say that consuming foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin is like “eating your sunglasses.” The body stores them in the back of the eye for protection. (But don’t get me wrong – actual sunglasses are helpful too!)
A Chiffonade Turns Collard Greens Into Thin Ribbons
I like to have a large repertoire of recipes for leafy green vegetables in my back pocket, and this particular one is both simple and elegant, thanks to a knife cut called a “chiffonade” (pronounced “shiff-ah-nod”). We teach this knife cut in the first course of our Holistic Chef Online Culinary Program. It transforms leafy greens into delicate ribbon-like strands that can be eaten swirled around a fork like spaghetti.
In this particular dish, the strands of chiffonade make the collard greens more delicate and gentle, since the collard greens are uncooked in the recipe. The chiffonade is also softened by sitting in the balsamic marinade for a couple of hours before serving, which provides some sweetness to the dish as well, balancing out the slight bitterness that some people notice when eating collard greens. If you don’t know how to chiffonade, you can still make the dish; the recipe will walk you through it.
To me this dish is perfect for autumn, even though it can be made year-round. It uses a hardy green leafy vegetable while remaining light, a happy medium of textures just as the weather is at its in-between place between the warmest and coldest months of the year. It is easy enough to make during the week but nice enough to make for a holiday meal if you so wish.
Balsamic-Marinated Collard Greens
Servings | 4-6
- 1 bunch (2/3 of a pound) collard greens
- 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup raisins
- Using a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the central stem of each collard green leaf so that two long halves of each leaf remain. (Save the stems for another dish.) Stack about 6 halves on top of one another, and starting from one of the long sides, roll them up into a long cigar. Cut across the width of the cigar in successive thin slices to create a chiffonade of collard greens. Repeat with all of the collard greens. Place in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic, and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil while continuously whisking. (Alternatively, place balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic, salt, and olive oil in a blender, and blend to combine.)
- Toss together the collard greens, dressing, and raisins. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
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