Coconut Bacon Collard Greens (15 minutes!)

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A plate of healthy vegan Collard Greens with Coconut Bacon

Collard greens are one seriously underappreciated vegetable (hello, health perks).

I used to overlook them all the time. But, once I figured out what to do with them, they became a mainstay in our kitchen. Let me show you how.

Chopped collard greens on a wood platter for making vegan Collard Greens with Coconut Bacon

Origins of Collard Greens

Collard greens originated in the eastern Mediterranean and have been around since prehistoric times. They were introduced to America in the 1600s by Africans who cooked the greens down into a gravy called “pot likker”. These delicious and nutrient-packed greens became a staple in African-American cuisine (source).

How to Make These Greens

This dish is simple, requiring just 1 pan, 20 minutes, and 8 ingredients to make!

My version is modeled after traditional, Southern-style collard greens, which typically require bacon or ham.

Instead, I relied on garlic, Coconut Bacon, and red pepper flake. Coconut sugar brings balance to the dish, while lemon juice is the perfect finishing touch for a bit of acidity and brightness.

Cast iron skillet filled with a quick and easy vegan side dish of Collard Greens with Coconut Bacon

I think you are going to LOVE this dish! It’s:

Super healthy
Comforting
Delicious
Flavorful
Quick
& Easy to make

These veganized Southern-style collard greens would make the perfect side dish to mains like my Best Vegan Pulled ‘Pork’ Sandwich, Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger, or Vegan Sloppy Joes. Or pair it with BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich and Best Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread for the ultimate comfort meal.

For more collard green recipes, check out my Coconut Curried Greens and Collard Green Spring Rolls with Sunbutter Dipping Sauce!

Last but not least, if you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Using a wooden spoon to stir Collard Greens with Coconut Bacon in a cast iron skillet

Coconut Bacon Collard Greens (15 minutes!)

Easy 15-minute, 1-pan collard greens with coconut bacon for a smoky, crispy crunch! A delicious, healthy, plant-based side dish or snack.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate of healthy vegan Collard Greens with Coconut Bacon
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Southern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping Tbsp coconut oil (or sub other neutral oil like avocado or grape seed oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (yields ~1 1/2 Tbsp as original recipe is written)
  • 2 large bundles collard greens* (finely chopped // see photo // organic if possible)
  • 1 healthy pinch each salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Bacon (or sub Eggplant Bacon)
  • 3-6 Tbsp vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional // for serving)

Instructions

  • Heat a large metal or cast-iron (my preferred) skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and very slightly golden brown.
  • Add collard greens and a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally until bright green in color and slightly soft.
  • Add coconut bacon, vegetable broth (start with lesser end of range- 3 Tbsp or 45 ml as original recipe is written), a bit more salt and pepper, coconut sugar (start with lesser end of range- 1 tsp as original recipe is written), and red pepper flake. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Continue cooking to desired tenderness. I like mine with a little crunch left, so I leave the vegetable broth at 3-4 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), but you could continue adding vegetable broth (up to 6 Tbsp // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and simmer up to 15 minutes for more tender collards.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more coconut sugar for sweetness / flavor balance, salt and pepper for overall flavor, red pepper flake for heat, or more coconut bacon for smokiness and crunch.
  • Serve immediately with additional coconut bacon and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional). Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

Notes

*If you can’t find collard greens, curly kale will work in this recipe as well. Just reduce cooking time by a few minutes, as it typically requires less time to become tender.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with coconut bacon.

Nutrition (1 of 2 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 166 Carbohydrates: 12.9 g Protein: 4.6 g Fat: 12.9 g Saturated Fat: 10.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 351 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Sugar: 2.5 g

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My Rating:




  1. Madison says

    This looks amazing!! I am new to cooking and your blog has helped me gain confidence (lol) while making food that tastes good!! One question, how do you measure out a bunch of collards?

  2. Ida Moser says

    Perfect!! I had leftover baby Bok Choi so I mixed those with some greens. Recipe is easy, flavorful and very satisfying! I will definitely prepare again.

  3. Erin says

    I made this last night, Dana, and although it took me forever to prepare the collards, I wish I had made twice as much because I can’t stop eating it! Thank you for the recipe!

  4. Nicole says

    Dana? I love this recipe! Made it this week. Coconut bacon is amazing. I love your blog! Just went and purchased your book. I have a request- could you put your other recipes in a book? I am enjoying so much and I like to flip through a book and follow instructions- more so than trying to remember where I found it on the net! Haha.
    I truly appreciate your blog and beautiful pictures. My carnavore family liked the bacon too! I’ll show them the beauty of a high vegetable diet yet?
    Blessings, Nicole

  5. Lauren says

    I had never had collard greens before but just got some from my CSA so decided to give this a try. Just wanted to say i was amazed by how much i loved this. I did use extra coconut bacon but other then that followed the recipie exactly. Loved it.

  6. kungaa joseph says

    after my fiasco with the curry dish I decided to buy one batch of collard greens. This was so delicious.
    I forgot to buy coconut for the bacon; had some vegan bacon that I used. and I put a 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika in the mix. I could of eaten the whole thing, but didn’t. This is a keeper. Thank you so much.

  7. Maria says

    I love collard greens, and this looks great! But, I just want to say that your coconut bacon and eggplant recipes are both killllller!! Loving them both!

  8. Heidi @ Red Checkered Tablecloth says

    These look delicious! I’m totally new to collard greens–but they’ve been on my “to try” list. Do you also use them raw in salads or smoothies, or do you think they’re best cooked like in this dish?

  9. Tanya says

    Please could you make your images pinnable for interest, would love to pin them to my food board so I can use the recipes later on

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tanya! If you scroll down on the page, you’ll find a menu of social icons! All of the recipe images are pinnable by just clicking the Pinterest icon. Hope this helps!

  10. Simone says

    Hi Dana,
    I’m so happy finding your page! So inspiring!
    I’ve made this recipe today with Pak Choi. So easy, but so yummy! Especially the tasty “bacon”…
    Many thanks!
    Kindly regards from Hamburg!

  11. Kyla Mucci says

    I have been hoping I would find this recipe! Thank you. By the way, I was always told to hand rip the greens to avoid bitterness. I am going to try this tonight!!!

  12. Natalie says

    So you’re saying that these are not slimy? I grew up in the south, but girl, those collards just never did tempt me because I have a texture thing, and slimy greens just don’t feel good on the tongue. I’m eager to try collards, but not if they are just going to disappoint me. How do you keep them from getting slimy?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Nope! They really aren’t! I think not adding much fat (traditionally from pork) helps. In addition, they are cooked less in more of a sauté/steam situation rather than boiling. Hope that helps!

  13. Heather@WillSingForDessert says

    Melt my heart this looks incredible. I’m a sucker for anything with bacon and I am so excited to try this out!

    • Brian B. says

      I don’t even know what collard greens are but this looks delicious. Does anyone know if this recipe would help with weight loss? I’ve been trying to find foods that will help boost my metabolism. I was on another blog and there was a link that offered info about foods and recipes that get your metabolism charged up.

  14. Amanda Dal says

    Ooo I LOVE collard greens! I like that your recipes are simple and quick :) No fuss is the way to go!

  15. Karlie says

    How creative! I’m loving collard greens (mostly because there aren’t too many other choices at my local market right now!) xx