By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
Full of vitamins and minerals, collard greens are surely one of nature’s super foods. Like other leafy greens, collard greens have cancer-preventive properties and may offer protection against heart disease, as well. This Asian style side dish – featuring garlic, ginger and tamari sauce – is as tasty as it is easy to prepare. Remember, it’s good to go green!
- 1 bunch collard greens, washed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Squeeze of lemon
- Remove and discard stems. Cut leaves, crosswise into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
- Heat olive oil and sesame oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.
- Add garlic and fresh ginger and sauté for 3-5 minutes until garlic has turned golden in color.
- Add collard greens and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the greens just start to wilt.
- Add tamari sauce and water, reduce heat, and cover for ~ 5 minutes to allow for further wilting; less for crisper greens and more for softer greens.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the greens just before serving.
Yield: approximately 4 servings
Key Ingredient Benefits
Collard Greens: This green powerhouse is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, manganese, folate, calcium and dietary fiber. Collard greens are also a great source of magnesium, iron, and B vitamins, to name a few. The cholesterol-lowering ability of collard greens may be the greatest of all in the dark leafy green family. Research also suggests collard greens may help lower our cancer risk by supporting our detox and anti-inflammatory systems.
Garlic: Vampire jokes aside, garlic can protect us in many ways. It contains compounds that may protect cells from cancer and improve our antioxidant defense. Research suggests garlic may help to boost our cellular antioxidant production. This may explain why a diet rich in garlic appears to protect against various cancers, including prostate, colon and breast cancer.
Ginger: This flavorful root contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds. This may explain why some people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience less pain and more mobility when they up their ginger consumption. Ginger also helps with gastrointestinal distress, motion sickness and nausea. Finally, research suggests that ginger may have antioxidant and anti-tumor effects on cells.
Lemon: This fruit contains citrus bioflavonoids that help the immune system and have anti-oxidant properties. Lemons also have anti-microbial properties and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, among others. The lemon’s bioflavonoids may prevent inflammation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Olive Oli: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.
Sesame Oil: This oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatting acids including omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are crucial for growth and development and may help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.
Tamari Sauce: This cousin of soy sauce is high in sodium, but offers a more robust flavor than salt. Note: if you have been told by your doctor to limit your salt intake, you may want to use less and/or a low sodium type soy sauce.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.