Having only ever made vegetarian collard greens recipes, I remember being shocked when I learned that collard greens, cooked in their “traditional” form, aren’t even remotely vegetarian. Who knew? Well, apparently most of the United States knew, because everyone I talked to about got a pretty good chuckle at the fact that I was so baffled. Anyways.
Traditionally, non vegetarian collard greens recipes are made with pork to get a nice, meaty, smoky flavor. If you’re really hoping to get the cured bacon flavor while keeping the recipe vegan, I’d recommend using a smoked sea salt, which, if you experiment with a few different varieties, you’ll find often taste a lot like bacon. Don’t add the salt until the very end, since salt will leech all of the water out of your greens, leaving them a gray, soggy mess. Adding salt to greens too early essentially does the same thing as overcooking them. And speaking of overcooking………
DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR GREENS. I repeat, DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR GREENS. No one likes mushy collard greens (or kale, spinach, or chard for that matter) and no one wants a kitchen full of wanna-be mustard gas, which is essentially what you get if you overcook your greens until they stink. This vegan collard greens recipe – and any other, in case you’re wondering – should be cooked just until the leaves are a brilliant shade of green and are tender enough to bite through without any fibrous resistance. Once they’re done, immediately remove them from the heat, salt to taste, and serve.
Slow Cooked Vegetarian Collard Greens Recipe
Yield: serves 4 as a side
Ingredients for Slow Cooked Vegetarian Collard Greens:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped to smaller bits
- 1 chipotle pepper, roasted and chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 8 cups chopped collard greens
- Smoked sea salt, to taste
- Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cooking until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add carrots and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to low and add vegetable stock and collard greens. Cover pot and allow to cook just until the greens are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Salt to taste at the very end to keep your greens from getting soggy. Serve hot.
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