This vegan collard green recipe is also in my cookbook, SWEET POTATO SOUL. Purchase your copy today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indie Bound, or iBooks.
I am so excited to start a new weekly recipe series called, Soul Food Sunday. This week we’re cookin’ up a big ol mess of vegan collard greens. No pork on my fork! To replicate the smoky rich essence of Grandmama’s greens, we’re using smoked paprika, tamari (soy sauce), tomato (extra umami), and plenty of garlic. I’ve been making vegan collard greens for years, and my whole family loves them! Serve these tender greens with cornbread, with fried Cauliflower “Chicken”, with Hearts of Palm “Crabcakes”, with Mac & Cheese, with Red Beans & Rice, or with Chipotle BBQ Oyster Mushroom Sliders. Or just skip the main dish and go all in on collards. Your body won’t mind.
Collards are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. However, outside of the South, these beautiful dark leafy greens don’t get much love in the United States. Collard greens, are high in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, calcium, b vitamins, iron, vitamin E, fiber, and so much more! While folks are praising kale like it’s the father, the son, and the holy ghost, collards sometimes get the side eye. Collard greens are so underrated. Like I mentioned, they’re extremely nutrient dense. Instead of relying on one dark leafy green (ahem…kale), add other greens like collards to your weekly rotation. Big ups to mustard greens and turnip greens as well 🙌🏾
Collards are delicious in salad (you’ll want to thinly slice them and massage with dressing), as wraps (to replace bread or tortilla), and in soups. There are so many ways to prepare collard greens, but this classic simmer is my favorite!
Vegan Southern Collard Greens
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 juicy ripe tomatoes diced or 1/2 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 large bunch of collard greens stems removed, and leaves very thinly sliced (removing the stems is optional)
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoons tamari or normal soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika + more to taste
- Warm oil on medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add the garlic, and sauté on medium-low until it begins to turn golden.
- Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped collard greens and a sprinkle of sea salt, and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, and cover the greens. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes, or longer depending on your preference.
- Turn off the flame, then stir in the soy sauce and smoked paprika. Season to taste with more soy sauce if necessary.
Anne / December 2, 2021 at 2:57 pm /
This recipe is so yummy!! I never made collard greens before and these were so good. Just as good as some I had years ago at a restaurant in Atlanta. I didn’t have any soy sauce on hand so used a splash of apple cider vinegar. Thanks so much.
Tatiana / November 27, 2021 at 11:39 pm /
So I made the collards for Thanksgiving and can you help me say, “game changer”! I will be making them like this from this day forward. I did purchase your book. I can’t wait to to make more of your recipes. I even made the pound cake. It too was delicious. Thanks for sharing
Stephanie / November 25, 2021 at 12:31 am /
I love this recipe. I don’t even miss the smoked Turkey tails or ham. My family also loves it. This year I’m going to mix the collards with cabbage and turnip greens. I hope the flavors balance!
Dane / November 24, 2021 at 7:23 pm /
Greens novice here! I just finished cooking these for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner & they’re REALLY good! For the past 37 years of my life, greens magically appeared on the table for holiday dinners. Today, I know the labor of love that each & every person who has served me greens has endured. And I now know that vegan greens an be just as delicious as non-vegan ones. I used half collards & half kale; was too generous with the salt, so I only added 1tbsp tamari. I’m not sure I like the smoked paprika in them, so only added the 1 tsp. I’ll taste tomorrow once the flavors have settled & will make adjustments as necessary. And because greens take FOREVER to clean & prep, I’m setting some aside for New Years Day. I won’t be making greens again until Thanksgiving 2022 unless someone else cleans & cuts them. Lol Thanks Jenne!
Pan / November 24, 2021 at 3:35 pm /
I made these greens last week as practice for Thanksgiving. It’s my second time making thanksgiving meal, and was my first time making greens. I never liked them as a kid, but have a taste for them, now. I really liked them, but I thought the tomatoes made them too sweet, or at least I was really missing that savoury flavour that greens with meat might get from smoked neck or something. I’m going to try cooking them with some mushrooms and hope for the best. Either way, I really loved this recipe and I could eat them every day, and I’m so happy I found your recipes.
Bree / October 7, 2021 at 12:51 pm /
Omgoodness! I was concerned about adding tamari to my greens but this recipe was absolutely amazing! If you are on the fence, try it! You won’t regret it!
Sharon Shefts / August 22, 2021 at 9:58 am /
Although we aren’t vegan, I was looking for a collard greens recipe that didn’t have meat in it, but had the same yummy goodness of my grandmother’s collard greens that simmered for hours on the stove. This was all of that and more! Flavorful, smoky- wow!
This is now my “go to” recipe.
Jenne / August 27, 2021 at 2:01 pm /
Yay! I’m so happy to hear that. Thanks for sharing, Sharon!
Andrea / July 11, 2021 at 6:04 pm /
This was sooo good. This was my 1st attempt at making greens as a vegan. I’ve never used tomato before and usually use broth- however, I tried this recipe as is, but with less oil. Wow, this will be my new go-to recipe! Thank you
Leigh / June 24, 2021 at 1:00 am /
I am not joking when I say i have been making these at least once a month for the last three years. I add some vegetable stock to make a tomato gravy and it is absolutely divine. Salt, fat, acid, heat, this dish has it all. Thanks for putting this recipe out there, it’s genuinely helped me eat more greens.
Kim / September 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm /
From the discerning foodie palate of the San Francisco Bay Area, my coworkers loved this dish! I included the stems chopped and cooked them for 15 minutes ahead of adding the leaves. Also added a touch of Truvia to help balance any bitterness or tartness. Thanks for sharing this meat-free collards recipe!
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / October 9, 2019 at 4:42 am /
Nice! I love that. I’ve been adding the stems these days too. Extra fiber, and I love the crunch 🙂
Donna / September 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm /
These were absolutely fabulous. I get together with friends about once a month to cook, laugh and eat. Yesterday’s theme was soul food. I made these and we all loved them and each of us had more than one serving which is kinda unusual for our group. I changed the recipe only slightly. I left out the oil, salt and I reduced the tamari by one half. I will definitely make this again and will look though your recipes for more deliciousness. Thank you for contributing to a very successful cook day. I was unable to post with data disqus so will be a guest.
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / September 24, 2019 at 12:58 am /
Wow! That is so wonderful to hear. I’m so happy you all enjoyed them 🙂 What a great theme for a cooking get together!
Tasha Walker / August 4, 2019 at 5:50 pm /
I stumbled upon your site and it’s SO BEAUTIFUL! I’m excited to find you and buy your cookbook! I printed out a couple recipes and as a southern girl myself (Texas originally) I cannot wait to try them. Sending you love and light for a continued prosperous journey to share the awakening my sister!
Brittany Branch / April 10, 2019 at 11:28 pm /
This was my first time cooking collards myself, and this recipe is soooo good! The only thing I did different was adding coconut aminos instead of tamari. I’d definitely make these again. Thank you!
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / May 12, 2019 at 1:59 am /
Yummy! So glad you liked it 🙂
Luisa / March 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm /
Thank you thank you thank you. I have your cookbook and get your emails. I made these famous collard greens for Thanksgiving and just made some today. I am always so amazed with the flavor and also the ease. I remember cooking Collard Greens and it felt like it took forever. For some reason this recipe has cut down the cooking time and has helped enhance the flavors. I add a few other spices that I love and don’t use the soy sauce since I can’t have much sodium, but it is still delicious nonetheless. I appreciate your videos and all the good things you put out there for the vegan community. Hope all is well. Stay blessed.
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / May 12, 2019 at 1:59 am /
So great to hear! Thank you so much 🙂
Meaty Yum Steve / January 1, 2019 at 9:12 pm /
Randi / December 8, 2018 at 12:34 am /
This is the first time I’ve ever had collard greens. They were delicious! Thank you for the awesome recipe. The only thing I did differently is I left out the oil
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / December 14, 2018 at 3:35 am /
So glad you enjoyed them!!!
Adlena / November 22, 2018 at 5:12 am /
Hi Jennè, I’ve ordered your book and am using it to make Thanksgiving dinner! So far I’ve made 2 pecan pies and 2 sweet potato pies and 2 batches of skillet cornbread for the dressing! I will be skipping the crouton step in the dressing but only to save time. In the morning I will make the Mac and cheese, messa greens, green bean salad, spicy fried cauliflower chicken and fried okra from your recipe book. I’m also making a oven roasted veggie mix to go on top of brown rice. I really love that I’ve found you! I’ve just started my vegan or almost vegan journey late September (no meat and mostly vegan). Thank’s for sharing your gift!
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / December 1, 2018 at 12:13 am /
Fantastic! You don’t know how happy that makes me. How did it go?!
Patricia / November 7, 2018 at 2:01 am /
O.M.G. Using this recipe my entire family is wondering where collards have been all our lives! So good! Thank you!!
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / November 8, 2018 at 6:25 pm /
I love that!!!