Happy New Year! In the Southeastern US, we have a lot of food traditions. One of them is that on New Year's Day, you are supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck and greens for money. And when people say "greens" in the South, they usually mean collard greens that are cooked with meat. Here's a vegetarian "greens" recipe you can use for luck and money (and important nutrients!) in the new year. It's not traditional, but it's good. I got it from Jennifer Biggs's column in The Commercial Appeal. She credited http://www.sweetandsavoryfoods.blogspot.com/. I served the sautéed baby collard greens with black-eyed peas and sweet potato casserole (recipe here, topping here) for a delicious, balanced, and pretty seasonal meal. The greens serve 2 - 4 people as a side dish.
baby collard greens (The recipe calls for "one bunch" of collard greens, which is pretty ambiguous. I got a bag of baby collards from a vendor at our local farmers' market, and I'd say it was about a 1.5-gallon bag that was full. Remember that greens reduce in bulk significantly when cooked.)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. crushed red pepper flakes (The amount here scared me a little, but it was totally fine with the quantity of greens I used.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt, to taste
vinegar (optional), to taste (I didn't use it, but it's pretty common in the South to put vinegar on greens, so feel free to give it a whirl.)
Wash the collards well in a sink full of water. You may need to wash them twice to get all the grit and dirt off. Remove the thick stems by folding the leaves in half at the stem and ripping the stem out. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, and whirl them in a salad spinner to get most of the water off.
In a large pan with a well-fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and the minced garlic, then add the collard greens and salt to taste (I salted pretty generously from a shaker...maybe 3 generous passes or so to start.), stirring everything to coat the leaves thoroughly. Cover the pan, and allow the greens to steam for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until they have wilted. Reduce heat to low and allow greens to continue to steam until a taste test reveals they are tender and flavorful. Serve, splashed with vinegar if desired.