Ask a Chef: John Cochran

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How can I brighten up winter meals with collard greens?

We asked John Cochran, chef and co-owner of The Wild Cow veg restaurant in Nashville, Tenn., where actors Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson and musician K.D. Lang have been known to dine. Here’s what he said.

• Boil shredded raw collards for about 10 minutes; drain. Sizzle chopped garlic and jalapeño in olive or canola oil, and toss collards into the pan; sauté about 5 minutes. Layer collard greens over cooked brown rice; top with a layer of Liquid Smoke-flavored pinto beans that have been boiled with cilantro and garlicky fried onions. Garnish with a garlic aïoli made with Vegenaise and spiced with gingerroot and jalapeño.

• Boil finely shredded raw collard greens in coconut water for about 30 minutes. Drain, and garnish with thinly sliced caramelized onions and diced Roma tomatoes.

• Use raw collard greens as wrappers, the way you would grape leaves.

• Substitute collard greens for spinach in veggie lasagna.