Italian Stuffed Collard Greens – Are you a collard green skeptic? I was, until I discovered this amazing way to transform them into a meaty, cheesy, and good-for-you Italian dinner!
Today a cooking challenge presented itself in the form of a vegetable I just plain don’t like… The thing is, I love almost any vegetable, the only exceptions being lima beans and collard greens. Blah! This week I got a bunch of collard greens in my crop share so I had to face my disdain for the vegetable. Honestly, the only time I’ve enjoyed collards is in a black eyed pea soup. Since the Philadelphia weather has been a balmy 99ºF, however, I haven’t exactly been in the mood for soup, so this vegetable really had me puzzled.
That’s when I figured that cheese and marinara sauce make everything better, so I decided to make these Italian Stuffed Collard Greens. In the end, I surprised myself with this recipe because I LOVED it – and so did the rest of my family. Who would have known..? Collard greens are good!
The process for stuffing collard greens is actually pretty easy. The key is to first blanch the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes and then cool them under cold, running water. This will make them soft and easy to roll without breaking.
Bake over a layer of your favorite tomato sauce and the result is a cheesy, rice-and-sausage center wrapped in a tender collard green bundle. Delicious enough for the biggest collard green skeptic!
- 1 bunch of collard greens (10-12 leaves)
- 1 16 oz jar marinara
- 1 pot salted boiling water (about 1 Tbsp salt)
- 1 lb. Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
- ½ C diced sweet onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1½ C cooked brown rice (3/4 C dry)
- 1½ C part skim low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ C parmesan cheese
- ¼ C fresh basil
- Cook the collard greens in a pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water and arrange the leaves so that they are laying flat and won’t break.
- Cook the rice per package instructions. Plan on cooking ¾ C brown rice to equal about 1½ C cooked rice.
- Over medium heat, cook the sausage and onions in a skillet until the sausage is browned. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute, then remove from the heat. Allow the rice and the meat about 20 minutes to cool so that it doesn't melt the cheese when added.
- Add the cooked rice, mozzarella and fresh basil to the cool skillet with the sausage and onions and stir to evenly combine.
- Line a baking dish with the jar of marinara sauce.
- Place ⅓-1/2 C (depending on the size of your leaves) of the sausage and rice mixture in each cooked collard green leaf, roll, and place in the baking dish until all of the rice mixture is used.
- Cover with foil, and cook in a 350ºF oven for 35-40 minutes. Allow 5 minutes to cool and then serve immediately.