Collard Green Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa & Creme Fraiche

collard green tacos with tomatillos salsa

It’s not unusual to hear a parent lament over their child’s fear of certain vegetables. Beets, brussels sprouts, and eggplant seem to be common offenders. But let’s face it, adults are afraid of vegetables too. When was the last time you filled your grocery cart with rutabaga, daikon radish, or any of the less familiar items that populate our produce departments? And I’ve venture to guess collard green tacos haven’t graced your table of late.

Expand Your Vegetable Repertoire

How are we to expect our kids to expand their palates if we aren’t doing it ourselves? I’m guilty of staying within the safety of the familiar myself, which is exactly why I signed up for a cooking class last month specifically devoted to taking the mystery out of some of the more mysterious vegetables.

Taught at 18 Reasons, a non-profit associated with the venerable Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, the class involved learning how to buy, prep, and cook the likes of nettles, tomatillos, daikon radish, and collard greens. The results of our kitchen handiwork made me want to march straight to the farmers’ market to stock up and cook some of these new foods at home, starting with these Collard Green Tacos.

Nutritious Collard Greens and Tomatillos

Not only are they super tasty, collards are off-the-charts nutritious, right up there with kale and other dark leafy cousins. The tomatillo salsa also adds a nourishing punch and takes just a few minutes to make in a food processor.
tomatillos If collards are a stretch for your crew, try another vegetable, such as broccoli, spinach, or kale , or stick to more traditional fixings (just don’t skip out on the fresh salsa). My own kids stared down this vibrant green taco buffet with quizzical looks, but ultimately ventured forth and gave this new take on the taco an across the board “thumbs up.”

NOTE: If you live in or near San Francisco, or have plans to visit, it’s well worth checking out the schedule of classes and events offered at 18 Reasons.

If you like these Collard Green Tacos, check out:

Roasted Cauliflower Tostadas

Lentil Tacos with Indian Spices

Crispy Avocado Tacos

Delicata Squash Tacos

Collard Green Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa and Creme Fraiche

Unlike your standard meat and cheese numbers, these tacos are done up with tender collard greens topped with fresh tomatillo salsa and a dollop of creme fraiche.
Servings 3 servings
Author Katie Morford


For the collard greens

  • 1 large bunch collard greens , about 1 1/2 pounds, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water
  • 2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 serrano chile , stemmed and sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and sliced
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the salsa

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos , husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1/2 to 1 small serrano pepper , stemmed, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic , smashed, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro , roughly chopped
  • Pinch sugar
  • Generous pinch salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For serving

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Sliced avocado
  • Lime wedges


  1. Cut collard greens into approximately 3-inch squares. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add the serrano chile and garlic, and sautee for a minute or two. Add collard greens, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup water; stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook collards for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until sweet and tender. Uncover the pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. For the salsa: put the tomatillos, serrano chile, garlic, cilantro, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper into a a blender or food processor and pulse into a coarse puree. Pour into a bowl, taste, and add more salt if needed.
  3. To compose a taco: warm tortillas over an open flame or in a dry cast iron skillet over high heat. Top each tortilla with a generous spoonful of collards, a spoonful of tomatillo salsa, and a dollop of creme fraiche. Add avocado slices and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

Adapted and printed with permission from Michelle McKenzie, 18 Reasons


11.03.2014 at5:22 PM #

Patrick Reninger

Mom was from Mississippi, so I love greens, and I love Mexican food. This was wonderful. I sauteed some onions and some thyme and mexican oregano. I need to cut down on my meat comsumption due to kidney stones, so this really fit the bill. The sugar and onions added a sweetness, the garlic and peppers give the dish some heat and collards have a wonderfully earthy flavor. This is now a regular meal time staple and will share with friends. Thanks.

11.03.2014 at5:22 PM #

Katie Morford

So glad you liked it. Collards are relatively new to me and I love them in these tacos. Appreciate the comment.

01.22.2018 at2:31 PM #

Rima Kleiner, MS, RD

Yum! Your collard green tacos look fantastic, Katie. Can’t wait to make a batch!

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