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.
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.
I think you are going to LOVE this dish! It’s:
& 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!
Coconut Bacon Collard Greens (15 minutes!)
- 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)
- 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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with coconut bacon.