Collard greens, a cruciferous vegetable similar in taste and texture to kale, are a nutritional powerhouse packed with fiber, calcium, and numerous vitamins. Here, the Southern classic — typically prepared with ham hocks — is made vegan and brightened by fire-roasted tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice. Cannellini beans add protein and elevate this simple side dish to main course status, if you desire. Or, mix genres and layer the braised collards into a tortilla for a hearty vegetarian taco.
In a hurry? See Recipe Tips for leafy green swaps that will enable you to serve this dish up in a fraction of the time.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
2 large bunches collard greens, about 1 1/2 pounds (see Recipe Tips)
1 15-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained (or 1 1/2 cups of cooked cannellini beans)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving
Salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the collards. Blanch for 4 minutes and transfer to a large bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon or tongs. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid. Coarsely chop the collards into 1-inch pieces.
- In a large lidded pan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and stir often until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and sauté for another few minutes until the onion is tender. Add the collards and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Add the beans and simmer for another 5 minutes until the beans are hot. Spoon into serving dishes and serve hot or warm, drizzled with lemon juice.
- There’s no need to remove the stems from these greens. The long cooking time ensures that the stalks will be tender.
- Can’t find collards? Kale is a good alternative and can be cooked in the same fashion. Swiss chard also works well but requires only take half the cooking time. Spinach cooks faster; simmer for 10 to 12 minutes only.
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