Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vegetarian Collard Greens: Done Mama's Way!

I do admit that I use to make my collard greens with some kind of pork added to them for flavor but, then I experimented with this dish and came up with a delicious yet healthier version.  Why not.

It's Easy...

Nothing can intimidate a cook more than trying to make some collard greens, yet it is a very simple process once you have learned just how to make this lovely pot of deliciousness.  There are just as many recipes as there are people that cook collard greens.  

Yes this is a vegetarian recipe and you might turn your nose up to that very fact but, I promise you if you make them my way, you too will have your family sopping up that pot liquor with a nice biscuit, as they finish up that bowl of greens you placed in front of them.


4 pounds collard greens (fresh)
2 onions
1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange)
3 stalks of celery
2 (Large) carrots
6 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked (sweet) paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons honey
A pinch or two of red pepper flakes

Wash those Greens 

When you get your bunches of collard greens home, cut off the bottom stems, leaving only the leaves.  Fill a 'cleaned' out sink (or use a 'big' bowl) with cold water, add your collard green leaves.  

I think of my hand as a washing machine and I start the rinse cycle on these greens, making sure I get all the dirt off.  You might have to drain your water and repeat this process if they are really dirty, as most are.

Cut UP

As I am removing my collard greens from the sink, I stack them in a neat pile, this will help when you go to cut them up.  

After you have stacked your collard greens, you then want to cut most of the stem and the (thick) vein that runs through your greens off.

Do this to each and every leaf but, as you start to get to the middle of your collards you will notice you have a few small leaves with hardly any stem.  

Don't worry about removing those stems, just lay them on the stack of those you have already taken the stems and veins out of.

Roll & Slice 

Yes as I am taking the stems and veins out of each leaf I stack them in another pile and I make the pile as net as I am able to.  This will help with this next step you are about to take.

Take about 5 leaves as a time, roll them up and cut cross ways, about one inch thick, repeat this process until you have finished all of your collard green leaves and set aside.

I am sure you will be amazed just how much of these greens you have after cutting them all up but, they will shrink down while cooking and you then will be amazed how little you have after they are cooked.

Did I hear "Veggies!" 

Slice your carrots into 1/2 inch rounds.

Dice your celery in a medium dice.  

Dice your onions in a medium dice.

Peel your garlic cloves cut in half, saving one whole for later usage.

Cut your bell pepper into strips. 

In a big frying pan, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add your (minus garlic cloves) vegetables.  

Saute until they are soft but not to the point of turning brown.  Then add your garlic cloves and half your salt and saute for one minute.

Bundle UP 

Cheesecloth, you just gotta love this stuff, what a better way to add flavor and yet those worn out vegetables will be easy to take out.  At times it is so frustrating looking for that one bay leaf you pot in your pot of goodies, this way, you just scoop one bag out and no hiding seek is played on you.

Place your collard greens into your crockpot, yes it will be overflowing but as I have stated before, they will shrink down.  On a plate, place a double layer of cheesecloth, place your cooked vegetables and 1 bay leaf on the cheesecloth and then tie it off.  Grab the corner of one side of your cheesecloth and then the opposite side, tie up and repeat with the other two corners.  Place the bundle into your crockpot.

Flavor Town 

In the same (big) frying pan you saute'd your vegetables, on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  

When the oil is hot add your whole garlic clove, paprika, cracked black pepper, pepper flakes and the rest of your salt, saute for about one minute. 

After one minute is up add three quarts of water and your honey, allow the water to come to a boil and then ladle the broth over your collard greens. 

I know you might be thinking, why not just pour the juice over it well, I use the ladle so I can control the flow of juice, I have a lot of collard greens in the pot and I want to make sure I am hitting all side of the crockpot, so as to shrink the greens down a bit, so the lid will fit just right.

Place your crockpot on high for 1 hour, stir your greens and then lower the temperature and cook on low for 6 hours.  After the 6 hours take out your cheesecloth, taste.  If it needs more salt or pepper, this is the time to add it.

That Easy folks

Yes, it is just that easy and delicious, oh lordy are they good.  Us folks here in the south call the broth that the collards, vegetables and spices 'pot liquor'.  So when you dish you up a bowl of these delicious collards, add some of that pot liquor to your bowl, I am sure you too will be sopping that goodness up.

Here are a few more of my vegetarian recipes...

Southern Style:  Boiled Peanuts

Potato Salad:  Done Mama's Way!

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan 

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)


  1. Got these in my pot...just noted you didn't mention carrots in your ingredients list and you didn't say what to do with the honey??? I am sure it will still be great...had carrots, used 2 large and omitted the honey to be added later if needed.

    1. Dear Barb, first of all, thank you for visiting my blog and also, thank you for pointing out my errors, they have been fixed. I am able to tell you are a cook hon, it is exactly two large carrots, cut in three's. Also the honey, it is southern trick when you cook most greens, as they become a bit bitter as they stew, the old way is to use about a tablespoon of white sugar but, I find a good 'sweet' honey, like orange blossom works great, to combat this minor issue while making southern greens. Also, it just kind of gives you the salty, sweet, sour (bitter) and a bit of spice combination. I hope you and your family enjoyed your pot of greens. Once again, thank you for stopping by.:)

  2. I would love to try this recipe, but how do you save it to a laptop?