Collard Greens and Okra Salad – unique collard greens recipe that can be prepared quickly for an easy weeknight salad or can be added to your repertoire of Thanksgiving side dishes.
It’s pretty much a given that for any major holiday, collard greens in some form are going to be on our menu. The reality is we have collards at least once a week whether it’s a salad, condiment, or your typical Southern style collard greens.
A few local area farmers are still harvesting okra. As long as they have them, I’m buying them. Every week I feel like it’s the last week so I buy way more than I need with the confidence I’ll figure out creative okra recipes to enjoy them. One of these recipes is this collard greens and okra salad.
I figured I’d embrace green and just make a big green ass salad with crazy amounts of flavor. So in addition to the collards and okra, I added cucumbers, baby lima beans, pickled celery, and padron peppers. The pickled celery is so good, you’ll want to make enough to keep on hand. The best thing about these is they actually make celery edible. Ah yeah, I’ve never had celery that taste halfway good, let alone something I craved. I do not count drowning celery in ranch or blue cheese dressing as edible celery. The difference maker is the Thai influenced pickling brine which consists of coconut water and lemongrass.
Okra can be soft, almost mushy at times, so I wanted some crunch to this dish. The smashed cucumbers and pickled celery both add just the right amount. The lima beans add some heft, as well as good fiber and protein sources. Padron peppers are actually mild so no need to fear any real heat though the vinaigrette has a little zing to it.
The salad ingredients are actually brought together with an Asian vinaigrette I typically use for naked fried chicken. The recipe speaks to the versatility of the dressing. Unlike most vinaigrettes which include a higher ratio of oil to vinegar, this version has a higher amount of vinegar. The extra acidity is perfect for “cooking” the many raw ingredients including the bitter collard greens. The sweetness and acid breaks down the greens and gets rid of all that bitterness.
How do you get rid of the okra slime?
Any discourse on okra will eventually lead to slime concerns. What’s good for gumbo ain’t good for other okra recipes. A few things to consider in avoiding the slime factor:
- The smaller the pod, the less slime you’ll get
- Wash and dry okra very thoroughly. Drying is key!
- Generally speaking, cook okra at high heat levels using methods like roasting, searing, frying, or grilling. For this recipe blanching works well.
- Cook okra in small batches. Overcrowded pans bring temps down which leads to steam which leads to slime
- Add okra at the very end when you’re ready to eat the dish as this will minimize contact with moisture. The acid in the vinaigrette is actually good for slime mitigation.
Do other greens work in this recipe?
Yes, though this is a collard greens recipe the freedom is yours to flip the switch. There are many varieties that make good substitutes, particularly the tougher ones like black kale, chard, or other kale varieties. They stand up well to the vinaigrette relative to dainty greens like spinach.
Collard Greens and Okra Salad
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For another cool collard greens recipe try this Collards and Cabbage Pozole Soup.
Collard Greens and Okra Salad w/ Spicy Vinaigrette
- 12-15 Whole Okra pods
- 1 bunch Collard Greens cut into strips
- Frozen Baby Lima beans or edamame thawed
- Cucumbers halved lengthwise then cut into quarters
- Pickled celery optional
- Padron peppers optional
- 1 tsp Sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp Asian Vinaigrette
Spicy Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 2 tbsp garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ginger finely chopped
- 2 tbsp red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried herbs thyme oregano, basil
- 1 tsp crushed red peppers or fresh Thai chiles
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup Tamari Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 stalk lemongrass cut into pieces and lightly smashed
Make The Salad
Tightly roll Collard leaves into cigars and then cut into strips. Wash and drain.
Using flat side of chef knife smash the cucumbers by gently pressing down on them with your palm.
Blanch the okra pods by boiling for 3-4 minutes and then adding them to a pot of ice cold water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking. Slice each pod in half lengthwise.
Assemble the salad adding okra, collards, beans, and cucumbers in a bowl and mix well.
Toss with vinaigrette and then top with celery, peppers, and sesame seeds.
Make the Vinaigrette
Mix all vinaigrette ingredients and a mixing bowl and set aside until ready to use.
Pickled Celery Instruction
Blanch celery by boiling in a pan of water then removing from heat and allowing to stand in iced bowl of water. Place celery in a mason jar with lid
Bring remaining ingredients to a gentle simmer long enough to dissolve the sugar and salt
Remove from heat and add to jar of celery. Allow to cool, preferably over night in the refrigerator, but at least 30 minutes.
Collard Greens can be substituted with chard or kale Skirt steak can be added for a more main dish option