Last weekend, I stopped by Native Roots Market for some groceries, hoping to find some inspiration while I was there. Some beautiful, local collard greens from my friends at Peach Crest Farm caught my eye. It seems strange that after living in the borderline-Southern state of Oklahoma my whole life, I’d never tried collard greens. I’ve been trying to branch out and try different kinds of produce, so into the basket went the collard greens.
At home, I tore off a little piece and nibbled on it, raw. Nothing special, tasted sort of like kale. Later, I recalled some collard wraps I’ve seen in blogland and tried using blanched collard leaves as wraps for the last of my lentil curry. The taste wasn’t worth the effort.
Then I recalled my friend Matt telling me how great collard greens are when they’re sliced super thin, so I got to googling. I googled my way past all the slow-cooked, bacon-heavy Paula Deen recipes and found a tutorial for Brazilian collard greens.
The idea is to slice the greens as thin as possible, and sauté them for just a few minutes, until they’re dark green and fragrant. The technical term for this slicing technique is chiffonade. I tried cooking up one big leaf in this manner for “dessert” and hello, lover! I’m smitten with collard greens. This lively spaghetti dish came to me as I twirled my fork in those spicy, skinny greens and fortunately, it is just as good in reality as it was in my head.
I don’t know whether to call this recipe Southern due to the collard greens, or Brazilian because of the method, or Italian since it’s a pasta dish. Southern-Brazilian-Italian fusion, anyone? Never mind. Whatever you want to call this dish, it’s spicy and bright, with bold lemon flavor, and comes together in a flash! The one-to-one ratio of whole wheat spaghettini to produce is just the way I like my pasta. I hope you’ll give collard greens another chance with this lemony pasta recipe.
Lemony Collard Greens Pasta
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Super quick, bold and bright pasta dish tossed with thinly sliced and sautéed collard greens, lemon juice, pine nuts and spices.
- 8 ounces fresh collard greens (about 10 big leaves)
- ⅓ or more of a package of whole wheat thin spaghetti or “spaghettini”
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- olive oil (the good stuff)
- 2 small cloves garlic, pressed
- big pinch red pepper flakes
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese
- ½ or more of a lemon, cut into wedges
- Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions. Drain quickly, reserving a bit of cooking water, and set aside.
- Cut out the center rib of each collard green. Stack a few greens at a time and roll them up into a cigar-like shape. Slice across the roll as thinly as possible (⅛″ to ¼″). Shake up the greens and give them a few chops so the strands aren’t so long.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed 12″ skillet over medium heat and toast the pine nuts until they start to turn golden and fragrant. Pour them out of the skillet and save for later.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and pour in a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle in a big pinch of red pepper flakes and the garlic and stir. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, toss in all of your collard greens. Sprinkle the greens with salt. Stirring often (try not to let them clump), sauté the greens for about three minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat. Scoop the greens into the pasta pot and toss with another drizzle of olive oil, adding pasta water if necessary. Divide onto plates, top with pine nuts and Parmesan shavings and serve with two big lemon wedges per person.
- Serves two.
- Although I haven’t tried it, I think walnuts would make a fine substitute for the pine nuts.
- Vegans, you can totally skip the cheese. It’s still great without it.
- Use a cheese plane to create Parmesan shavings. I’m over grated Parmesan; shavings are the way to go!
- Peach Crest collard greens, Bionaturae spaghettini, Canaan olive oil and pine nuts kindly provided by Native Roots Market.
This recipe is fantastic!
I typically sauté or steam collard greens and then mix vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a 3:3:2 ratio and add to greensfor a light sauce. I think it’s a Korean-inspired recipe.
Delicious — thank you! I substituted slivered almonds for the pine nuts, and they worked fine, too.
Thank you for sharing, Vicki!
I’m really looking forward to making this, and just put collard greens on my grocery list! I’m mostly vegan but cheat occasionally with parmesan lol. My very easy pasta is a hit every time I make it, and it takes about 7 minutes. Massage baby spinach with a little olive oil and lemon and place in pasta bowl. Then place pasta on top. If you want, add (any left over grilled or roasted veggies or none),halved cherry tomatoes, quick squeeze of lemon, drizzle with evoo, and top with shaved parmesan. Looks really pretty and tastes great! Use spices, salt and pepper to taste.
Thank you for sharing, Stace!
This is delicious. The idea to chiffonade the collards is brilliant!
I zested my lemon and tossed it in with the pasta. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts. Thanks
You’re welcome, D! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Fantastic recipe. I was looking for something to do with collard greens I got in my CSA share that did not involve cooking them to death in bacon. Stumbled upon this and decided to give it a try. Healthy, easy, filling, and quick to prep. And, mostly importantly, delicious!
I’m glad you loved it, Sarah!
I just made this for dinner using collatd greens from our garden. My husband raved about it. Each piece (garlic, lemon juice, etc.) added a specific element. I’m looking forward to making this often this summer. I also used slivered almonds instead of pine nuts and it turned out great!
So…I don’t fully understand the phenomenon of folks rating a recipe before making and tasting it.
On another note: I have been making this recipe for several years and love it, as is. It was my introduction to eating collard greens and it is now on regular rotation. I love the lemon & red-pepper-flake flavor combination, with the toasted pine nuts, and also, yes, with the collard greens! Kudos to Kate for this fantastic creation.
Hi Kate! Could I still make this recipe omitting the pine nuts due to a tree nut allergy or would an important ingredient then be missing? I know your recipes often note how to adapt for various situations but didn’t see that here so was unsure. Thank you for your help!
Hi Alyssa! I have’t tried it with an alternative, sorry.
Wow! Didn’t expect such a delicious result. It is awesome.
Great to hear, Immanuel!