Thursday, March 15, 2012

Collard & Benne Seed Salad

I'm way overdue with this.  I totally made this salad Monday with the intention of sharing it yesterday.  It's totally good for a Thursday, though!  In fact, it's super duper healthy.  I mean, if this doesn't have fiber, I don't know what does.  Plus you've got some collards for a bit of color and a tangy mustard dressing.  I've called this a salad, but don't let that make you think it's dainty.  No, this is a heavy lifter.  Oh, and benne seeds are just a Southern way of saying sesame seeds.  So get to it!

Easy ingredients: Collards, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, brown rice, olive oil, and black-eyed peas.
The rice is definitely what takes the longest.  Just prepare it according to the package instructions.  If you've got leftover brown rice this is a perfect time to use it.
The black-eyed peas don't take quite as long as the rice, but they need a solid 25 minutes.  Bring them to a boil with a teaspoon of salt, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
 Wash your collards free of dirt and debris.  You want to tear the leaves off the thick stalk because it won't cook up right in the oven.
Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the pepper flakes over the collards.  Toss them to get 'em good and coated.
Spread the leaves out in an even layer over a baking sheet.  You'll probably need a few baking sheets to do this, and you might have to cook them in batches.
When the black-eyed peas are tender, drain them and set aside.
We can't forget the benne seeds!  Toast them in a pan over medium heat to bring out some of the nuttiness.
When the collards are crispy pull them out of the oven.  I love the rainbow effect they get from being crisped!
Okay, dressing time.  You need: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, Dijon mustard, cracked black pepper, salt, and a touch of sugar.
It's pretty much a lot of whisking.  Start by mixing up your mustard and vinegar.
Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the dressing.  Add the sesame oil and the salt, pepper, and sugar.  Give it a taste.  If it's seasoned to your satisfaction, get ready to put the salad together!
 Toss the peas and rice together first in a big ol' bowl.
Add the collards and toasted sesame seeds.  Toss it up!
Give yourself a hefty portion and drizzle it with the mustard dressing.  Consume with gusto.

Collard & Benne Seed Salad (serves 6)

3 c brown rice, cooked
1 1/2 c black-eyed peas, frozen
2 c water
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1 bunch collards, rinsed and torn from the stalk
6 tbs olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs sesame seeds (benne seeds), toasted
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
Cracked black pepper, to taste

  • In a small saucepan, bring the black-eyed peas and water to a boil.  Add 1 tsp of salt and cover the pot.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the peas until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the oven to 350º.  In a large bowl, toss the collards with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the red pepper flakes.  Spread the collards out in an even layer on baking sheets.  Cook them in the oven until crispy, 6-10 minutes.  
  • While the collards cook, prepare the dressing.  Whisk together the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl.  Whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, the sugar, sesame oil, and pepper.  Whisk to combine.
  • In a large bowl, combine rice and black-eyed peas.  Add collards and sesame seeds and toss to combine.  Serve in large portions and drizzle with the mustard dressing.

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