Collard greens are the underdog of leafy greens. They’ve been pushed aside to the farthest corner of the produce aisle to make way for 17 different varieties of kale. It brings me great sadness to know that while collard greens are in their prime, restaurants and grocery stores are still saturating the food market with pesky kale. This is why I broke down some reasons why this should be collard’s breakout year, and we can finally put kale to rest.

Most importantly, collard greens are more nutrient-dense than their crinkly counterparts. According to the USDA Food Composition Database, a serving of raw collards is lower in calories and higher in calcium while still boasting the same vitamins that made kale so popular among health gurus.

Raigon Wilson

One of the reasons I’m not a big fan of kale is because it tastes like—well, it tastes like a vegetable. And I mean that in the most offensive way possible. While still hearty, I find collards to be a milder green. In the winter months when they’re in season, even the stems, which usually go to waste when preparing kale, taste sweet. I like to snack on the stems raw while I’m cooking, or repurpose them in recipes that call for celery. 

Just like with kale, you can make salads, stews, smoothies, and even chips out of collard greens. The wide, flat leaves of collards also make them the perfect leafy green for wrapping and stuffing. Fill those bad boys with a grain, lean protein, or more veggies for a fun, healthy meal. Kale’s pretentious, curly leaves can’t stand up to the challenge.

Finally, there will always be a very special place in my heart, and my palate, for a big pot of greens made by the hands of a Southern grandmother. If you let collard greens simmer long enough, they become tender and oh-so-flavorful. For the full Southern effect, add a ham hock and 1 lb. of salt, but I prefer to keep things simple (and vegan) with garlic and onion when I cook my greens.

Next time you need a veggie fix, give collards a chance, and together we can give this green the glory it deserves.