By Ama Shambulia

Collard Green Pesto with Pasta

Here’s a recipe to help us get ready for the Collard Green Cook Off!


Collard green pesto with pasta

  • 1 pound bunch collards, ribs discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 (13-ounce) box whole-wheat pasta (linguine, bow tie, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Blanch collards until bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer immediately to an ice bath to shock, saving the boiling water for cooking the pasta. Remove the collards from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels before transferring them to a food processor.

Add the pasta to the pot of salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, over low heat, toast the pecans until fragrant. Transfer to the food processor with Parmesan, olives and garlic. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until pesto comes together. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

To serve, put enough pesto to coat the pasta into a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and quickly add it to the bowl. The water still clinging to the pasta will loosen up the pesto. Toss to coat. Add more pesto, if needed. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and garnish with Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Vegan Variation: Substitute the Parmesan cheese for 1 cup soft or silken tofu or plain vegan yogurt.

Enjoy. See you Saturday!

You’re Invited



  • support growing food and growing community at WE Community Gardens
  • eco-friendly, sustainable silent auction
  • mouth-watering menu from Chef Chris Dupont

how to help:

  • buy a single ticket
  • buy a couples ticket
  • donate a silent auction item
  • become an event sponsor along with Cafe Dupont, Alabama Crown, Good People Brewing, The Modern Brand and Birmingham-Southern College!
Donate to Urban Ministry at

peace and gratitude
from the fields,

WE Blog: WE Eat Swiss Chard!

This week’s recipe first appeared on the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham’s blog. The Community Foundation is a generous supporter of WE Gardens! Thanks CFGB for investing in the health & wellness of Birmingham through WE Gardens. 

Blog West End GROW SignAsk Ama Shambulia what she most enjoys about her Mama Ama’s Marinated ‘Greens’ Salad and she’ll tell you it’s the recipe’s use of fresh, seasonal produce. “This salad is ALIVE with flavor,” she says enthusiastically.  But to get it right, she adds, it has to be made with love.  And Shambulia means that quite literally.  The recipe’s final ingredient is–you guessed it–love.

That word seems to frame everything Shambulia does, including her work as director of WE (West End) Community Gardens.  At the moment, the gardens (located at the corner of McMillon Ave. and 12th St. SW) are bursting with all sorts of gorgeous produce, including vibrant, oh-so-delicious red and golden chard–the base components of the salad.

Blog Swiss Chard“Thanks to the Community Foundation, we are able to reach over 700 people each year in healthy living programs and gardening activities. We are also able to provide fresh, natural foods at an affordable price here in our community.  The Foundation’s partnership and leadership throughout Birmingham are so valuable,” says Shambulia.

We are proud to have supported the expansion of WE Community Gardens, a program of Urban Ministry, with our 2011 grant of $50,000.  The grant, spread over two years, is designed to help in the development of a curb market and community center for long-term sustainability of this important effort. Together we are helping people lead healthy lives by making it easier to gain access to healthy food.

Blog West End SignVisit their curb market on Wednesday mornings from 10am to 1pm at Princeton Hospital (located in the Professional Building Atrium). WE produce is also sold at Pepper Place Market on Saturdays.  You can join WE visitors and volunteers by calling 205-781-0517.

The Community Foundation grant was made possible through Community Funds and additional donors through the Giving Together program.  Learn more about this strategy to help people lead healthy lives or add your support to this effort by contacting Erin Stephenson.  ContactKathryn Corey to learn more about our Giving Together program.


Mama Ama’s Marinated “Greens” Salad

Feel free to mix and match the greens based on what’s in season.  Ama likes to serve this alongside black-eyed peas.

4 bunches fresh greens (chard, collard, kale, mustard), washed and finely sliced

1 rib celery, finely sliced

1/2  red onion or 1 shallot, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 fresh thyme sprig, leaves chopped

Chopped cayenne pepper, to taste

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos*

1/4 cup olive oil



1. Combine greens and next 5 ingredients in a salad bowl.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and olive oil.  Pour over greens mixture; toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

*Bragg Liquid Aminos is available at your local health food store.  Substitute 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 water for Bragg Liquid Aminos.


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