Vegan Collards (or other greens)


Vegan cooking can be mighty delicious! I was born into the Greek kitchen and grew up eating mostly vegetarian and vegan dishes, but I didn't know it! Everything was delicious and nutritious and fresh. When I married into a Southern family, I adapted to feed my sweet husband some of the dishes that he'd grown up with and some that I was familiar with from my Greek heritage. Learning how to cook collards took a little time, but I do believe that I have mastered this cookery of greens. In fact, I even developed a recipe for Collards using a traditional Greek heritage cooking method. My recipe for Greek Collards calls for stewing together with tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley and green beans. Talk about a healthy dish! I can feel the cholesterol-lowering energy from here. 

Today, especially when I'm in a hurry, I cook up this quick and simplified version. If the collards are tender, the cooking time will take only about 30 minutes. Not bad for a healthy and yummy weeknight dinner! Now, if you have time, put a small Boston Butt in the crockpot with plenty of sea salt and pepper and let it cook on low and slow all day. When you get home from work, cook up the collards and serve them in a bowl with a generous chunk of that slow-cooked pork. Swooning is most appropriate.

You can substitute any sturdy greens such as kale, Swiss chard or turnip greens.


Ingredients:
  • 1 bouquet of collards (typically this is 2 to 3 bunches tied together)
  • 1 really large sweet onion like Vidalia ( about 2 1/2 cups when chopped)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (I promise it won't make the dish greasy)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (chopped or pressed)
  • 1 (32 oz) container of organic vegetable broth *
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coarse sea salt (I use grey/Celtic sea salt)
*I often use 4 cups of water and add more salt. For a meat-eater diet, I use organic chicken stock instead of vegetable.

Instructions:
  1. Strip leaves from the stalks. Wash the collards leaves two or three times. Transfer to a big bowl.
  2. In a large pot on low to medium setting, heat all of the oil and add the chopped onion. Stir in the sea salt to help the onion release its juices and sugar.  Cook slowly for about five minutes until the onion has softened and is translucent.
  3. Halfway through, stir in the garlic. (Waiting to add garlic ensures that it will not burn, which happens easily and faster than you or I may think. Experienced garlic-burner speaking.)
  4. While the onion is doing its thing, stack collard leaves several layers high and roll. Slice through the leaves. This will help in the cooking process and speed things up.
  5. Once the onion is ready, drop big handfuls of sliced leaves into the pot and stir to coat the leaves with onion and oil. Turn up the heat to high. As the leaves begin to wilt, add more until everything is in the pot. There is some residual water that comes with the collard leaves, so let them stew in that for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the pepper and broth or water, stir and bring to a boil. Place the lid on the pot and set the timer for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, stir, put the lid back on and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the collards, they may require a little less or a little more cooking.
  7. If there’s too much liquid remaining in the pot, remove the lid and continue to cook until most of the potlikker has evaporated and you’re left with a delicious broth (likker) into which you’ll definitely want to dunk your cornbread. Oh, yes!!! 

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