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.
- 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.