A meatless take on a Southern favorite dish. This Meatless Southern Collard Greens recipe is full of flavor and tender and it's the perfect side dish for your holiday dinners.
Collard greens are a Southern staple and have always been a staple in my family for Sunday dinners, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and pretty much anytime we want them. We always cook the collard greens the night before to give the collard green potlikker (or pot liquor) the savory depth it requires. I was taught that low and slow is the best way to develop the flavors in the greens.
Many collard green recipes call for ham hocks or turkey necks for flavoring purposes however I follow a mostly vegetarian/ pescatarian diet and do not eat meat. But don’t worry, these collard greens are so good, you won’t even miss the meat element of the recipe! This dish is made from scratch and is typically served with cornbread for Sunday dinners, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season. For New Years we like to pair them with black-eyed peas as an old tradition for luck and wealth in the New Year. It’s an easy soul food recipe and everyone will love them.
Health Benefits of Collard Greens
Much like mustard greens, turnip greens, kale and spinach, collard greens are just as good for you! This dark leafy green vegetable is full of chlorophyll which contains vitamins and minerals. Collard greens are also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They are rich in vitamin K, and have a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients needed for making this southern collard green recipe is easy to find in most grocery stores. Below are the ingredients you’ll need
- Collard greens - Fresh collard greens were used. Most times, we purchase the pre-cut collard greens from our local farmers market. You can buy these if you wish. It will cut down on your washing process and save a lot of time. Or you can choose to buy greens that are sold in bundles.
- Vegetable stock - this recipe uses vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian / vegan friendly however you can also use chicken stock if you prefer.
- Seasonings - this recipe uses salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes for seasoning. You can also use minced fresh garlic for extra flavoring.
- Cholula chipotle hot sauce - this is optional but I love it in my greens.
How to Clean Collard Greens:
- Clean and prep your kitchen sink before washing your greens.
- Fill up the kitchen sink with cool water.
- Add the collard greens to the water with about 1 - 2 tablespoons vinegar.
- Swish them around so that the sand and dirt can settle to the bottom of the sink.
- Rinse with water and move the washed collards into a big bowl and drain the water from the sink.
- Repeat steps 1-5 about 3 more times or until the water is clear and free from dirt and sand.
How to Make the Meatless Southern Collard Greens
- Add the vegetable stock to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Toss in the cut collard greens to the vegetable broth, cover, and let simmer over medium heat until nice and tender, anywhere from 2 to 3 hours (or more).
- Add in the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes once the greens are tender. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Serve with Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce.
What to Serve with Southern Style Collard Greens
Storage and Reheating
- Storage: allow the greens to cool before storing. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
- Reheating: you can move them to the fridge the night before you want to eat them, and let them start defrosting. They are best warmed up slowly in a pot on the stove until they are warmed thoroughly and tender.
- Freezing: you can freeze greens in a freezer friendly air tight container for up to 6 months.
Collard Greens Tips and Tricks:
- You can find collard greens at your local farmers market. If you do not have one easily accessible to you, you can get bunches of collard greens at your local grocery store in the produce section.
- If you are short on time, when buying your collard greens look for greens already chopped up and bagged to save time.
- Collard greens cook down a tremendous amount, so buy at least 2 large bunches for this recipe, which depending on the size of the bunches, will feed 6-8 people.
- As you're washing, get rid of any brown or yellow collard green leaves.
- Because collard greens are a hardy leafed vegetable, cooking a day in advanced is recommended for seasoning purposes.
- Do not add salt to your greens until near the end once they are considered done.
They are leafy vegetables with thick tough stems. They are cruciferous vegetables and are in the same family as turnips, kale and mustard greens.
When collards are raw, they are bitter like kale, but when they are cooked and seasoned the heat makes them tender and brings out their earthy flavor.
Typically, when making the greens for the holidays they can be made a day in advance. You can let the greens stay in the pot in the potlikker overnight with a lid on the pot and reheat them the next day before serving.
More Recipes You May Like:
Meatless Southern Collard Greens
- 2 bunches of collard greens stems removed, washed, and cut into strips
- 42 ounces vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Cholula chipotle hot sauce to taste (optional - for serving)
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Toss in the cut collard greens to the vegetable broth, cover, and let simmer until nice and tender, anywhere from 2 to 3 hours (or more).
- Add in the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes once the greens are tender. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Serve with Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce.
- The greens will last in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 - 4 days.
HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to receive 6 Free exclusive homemade healthy smoothie recipes. You'll also get a sneak peak at upcoming recipes and nutrition and wellness tips.