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Collards in place of spinach?

After reading a recent 'minestrone' thread I feel the urge to make soup tonight. At my local shop they have collards in. I am on the west coast of canada and have only seen collards in the store a few times but a lot more in the last 2 yrs. I have never eaten them or cooked with them. I like to put a spinach or chard in my soup can I use collards? I think you have to cook them a lot longer? so maybe stew them for 30mins in broth before adding first veggies so will cook about a hour total? Or will the flavour be overpowering or unsuitable? Just eat them plain as Ive seen on tv shows?

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  1. Aside from texture, and cooking time, which you seem to be aware of, collards also taste quite different from spinach.

    Where spinach can almost have a very delicate floral sweetness to them, collards can be, and are, quite bitter (esp in comparison to spinach).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      My opinion is biased by the fact that I grew up in Atlanta :) I find collards quite mild. But nothing like spinach. And, yes, they need quite a bit more cooking than spinach.

    2. I find collards to have a more interesting flavor than spinach in soup .

      1 Reply
      1. Definately use collards! I cut out the big stem in the middle and then slice fairly thin. They withstand cooking a long time, so its perfect for soup. Just treat it like cabbage.
        I don't find the flavor overwhelming but it is more similar to chard than spinach.

        1. I am making soup tomorrow instead of tonight but like someone said I had a feeling it is going to be a much stronger taste. More like a chard/ spinach/broccoli leaf/dandy lion green? lol

          1 Reply
          1. re: daislander

            it's hard to describe. It's definitely a more muted taste than broccoli rabe or dandelions....not as bitter. Earthier than spinach, so more like chard....but a really nice earthiness, kind of fullness, than spinach. As others have suggested, cut out the tough stem, shred very finely, cook a long time. It turns very tender and is full of calcium and other good things. Sorry, hard to describe...would love to hear what you think after you try!

          2. i also have found collards can give off more liquid when cooking almost like cabage so you may want to reduce some of your other liquids

            1. flavor will be fine.
              imho, collards don't need to be cooked 30 minutes; i just cook them 5 minutes past the time they are wilted.

              2 Replies
              1. re: westsidegal

                Growing up in the South, I became accustomed to olive drab collards. In the mid70s I saw the light :) I now chiffonade them and cook like kale - not terribly long.

                1. re: c oliver

                  depending on the dish, i will cook collard greens both ways.
                  in minestrone, i don't cook them very long and they don't take on that drab olive look,
                  when i cook the Ethiopian version of stewed collard greens though, i will cook them longer and they, therefore,end up looking a little more like southern collard greens.

              2. I do not find the two to be compatible for this nor many other dishes. They are very different in flavor and texture.

                As a possible suggestion if your market has escarole I would recommend that before collard greens.