Mouth-Watering Vegan Collard Greens Recipe

Welcome to my vegan southern collard greens recipe! As a chef, I specialize in southern-style cuisine and love to incorporate my passion for vegetables into my dishes. Collard greens is a staple in Southern cuisine, but it can be tough to find a vegan version of this delicious dish.

That’s why I’m excited to share this recipe with you. Not only is it loaded with flavor, but it’s also completely plant-based, making it perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and those who are health-conscious.

This version of southern collard greens is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. I’ve incorporated a few twists on the traditional recipe to make it even more flavorful and healthy while still paying homage to the classic soul food dish.

Whether you’re preparing dinner for your family or hosting a party, these vegan southern-style collard greens are sure to impress everyone at the table. So grab your apron and let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegan Southern Collard Greens
Vegan Southern Collard Greens

Welcome to my vegan southern collard greens recipe, where you’ll discover a refreshing balance of flavors and nutrition in every bite. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this recipe is perfect for you.

You’ll love this recipe for its smoky flavor and tender texture that will literally melt in your mouth. The secret ingredient to this dish is the smoky paprika, which adds depth and complexity to the mild collard greens. It’s the perfect combination of boldness and subtlety that will leave your taste buds craving more.

But let’s not forget about the health benefits of this dish. Collard greens are packed with vitamins and minerals that help regulate your immune system, aid digestion, and support overall health. Not to mention they’re low in calories, making them an excellent addition to any diet.

In my vegan southern collard greens recipe, I’ve removed the traditional ham hock or bacon and replaced it with vegemite and smoked salt, giving it a deliciously savory taste without any meat. This recipe is not only vegan but also cholesterol-free and dairy-free.

One great thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can serve it as a side dish with your favorite protein or mix it into your favorite bowl meal like rice bowls, salads or quinoa bowls. It’s also a stunning side dish for holiday celebrations or Sunday dinners with family and friends.

Overall, this recipe is an excellent choice if you’re looking for healthy vegan comfort food that captures the soulful essence of southern-style cuisine while being nutritious and flavorful. Give it a try today and satisfy your cravings while supporting your health goals at the same time!

Ingredient List

 A hearty Southern staple made completely vegan
A hearty Southern staple made completely vegan

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this vegan Southern-style collard greens recipe:


  • 1 bunch collard greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon smoked salt
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup vegemite
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon butter (use vegan butter if desired)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pro-tip: If you can’t find collard greens in your local store, you can try using mustard greens, turnip greens, mixed greens or even kale! Just make sure to adjust cooking time accordingly.

The Recipe How-To

 Get your greens on with this delicious recipe
Get your greens on with this delicious recipe

Let’s dive into how to make these vegan southern collard greens that will surely lift your spirits. Follow these easy steps using fresh ingredients, and you’ll have a tasty, healthy side dish that’s perfect for any meal.


Before starting with the recipe directions, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients.

Here is the list of collard greens ingredients you will need:

  • 1 bunch collard greens, washed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of smoked salt (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water


Now it’s time to get things cooking with these easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Cut off the stems from your bunch of collard greens, stack the leaves on top of each other, and cut them into bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches).
  2. On medium heat, heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion into the pot and sauté until they are slightly caramelized (around 5 minutes).
  4. Add in smoked paprika, regular salt and optional smoked salt and red pepper flakes.
  5. Pour in vegetable broth or water and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the chopped collard greens into the pot in batches until all have been added.
  7. Once all leaves are added, turn down heat to low and cover the pot.
  8. Cook for around an hour or until tender (can take up to two hours depending on how tough your greens are), stir occasionally.

That’s it! Your vegan southern collard greens are ready to serve and enjoy.

Slow Cooker Method

If you don’t want to watch the pot, you can also make these vegan collard greens in your slow cooker. Follow steps 1-5 on the stovetop before placing the ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-3 hours until tender.

Healthy Vegan Greens

Not only are these vegan Southern style collard greens absolutely delicious, but they’re also healthy too! Collard greens are chock-full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin A and calcium.

Smoky Vegan Collard Greens

If you want to add some smokiness to your dish, add a teaspoon (to taste) vegemite or another umami-rich ingredient during cooking.

Vegetarian Southern Style

This meatless Southern favorite is a staple side dish for a reason. If you’re looking for an authentic yet vegetarian soul food option, turnip greens or mustard greens can be used instead of collard greens — or mix all three together

Substitutions and Variations

 A warm bowl of comfort on a chilly day
A warm bowl of comfort on a chilly day

If you’re looking for ways to mix things up and give this vegan Southern collard greens recipe your own spin, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can try out. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Swap out the collard greens for other leafy greens such as mustard greens, turnip greens or even mixed greens to add more texture and flavor to your dish.

– Add a splash of cider vinegar for a tangy flavor that complements the smoky taste of the paprika well.

– Looking for something that packs more heat? Add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to give your dish a spicy kick.

– For a meatless Southern-style dish, use vegetable stock instead of beef or chicken stock when cooking your greens.

– If you don’t have vegemite on hand, try using other umami-rich ingredients like miso paste or soy sauce to give your dish depth and richness.

– Want to add some sweetness? Throw in some sweet potato with your collard greens for a comforting and delicious addition.

– If you’re short on time, try making this dish in a slow cooker by following the first few steps of the recipe before transferring everything to your slow cooker and leaving it to cook on low heat for 4-5 hours.

No matter what variations you choose, this vegan Southern collard greens recipe is sure to please!

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect side dish for your next soul food feast
The perfect side dish for your next soul food feast

Once your vegan southern collard greens are cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy! These flavorful greens make a great side dish for any meal. They’re perfect with vegan fried chicken, roasted veggies, or mashed sweet potatoes.

You can also get creative with how you serve them. One delicious and healthy option is to top your collard greens with sliced avocado and some fresh cilantro. The creaminess of the avocado complements the hearty texture of the greens perfectly.

A quick sprinkle of smoked salt or red pepper flakes on top gives an extra burst of flavor. For a light lunch, stuff these greens into a whole wheat pita with some hummus and fresh veggies.

These vegan southern collard greens also pair well with other soul food dishes. Serve them alongside sweet potato pie, cornbread muffins or black-eyed peas for a true southern meal that’s both savory and satisfying.

For a twist on tradition, try mixing in other leafy greens like mustard or turnip greens. You could also add a splash of cider vinegar for extra tanginess. Whatever your preference, these delicious vegan southern collard greens are sure to be a hit!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The secret to making perfect collard greens every time
The secret to making perfect collard greens every time

Isn’t it great when you can make a dish ahead of time and have it ready when you need it most? Well, the Vegan Southern Collard Greens is one of those dishes that taste even better the next day. If you have leftovers from a big meal, do not worry as these greens are easy to store and reheat.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container, and ensure that they’re completely cooled down before storing them in the fridge. The collard greens will last for up to five days if stored correctly. When reheating, place them in the pan with some vegetable broth to prevent them from becoming dry, and then heat them over medium heat until they’re warmed through. You can also heat them in the microwave by placing them in a microwave-safe dish and then heating them for about 30 seconds.

If you’re planning on making these greens ahead of time, then you’re in luck because they taste even better after sitting for a while. To make ahead of time, prepare the recipe as instructed above until step 3, then remove from heat and cool before storing in an airtight container. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat the collard greens in a pot with some vegetable broth until heated through.

In conclusion, this recipe is perfect for making ahead of time or storing your leftovers to have collard greens throughout the week. The make-ahead preparation also guarantees a flavorful experience with ease. So don’t hesitate to try this smoky vegan southern-style collard greens recipe as it offers both simplicity and flexibility!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Nothing beats a classic Southern recipe with a healthy twist
Nothing beats a classic Southern recipe with a healthy twist

Cooking collard greens can be tricky, but with the right techniques and tips, you can prepare a perfect vegan southern collard greens dish. Here are a few tips for perfect results:

1. Clean your collard greens thoroughly: Make sure you rinse your collard greens properly and remove any dirt or debris that might be hidden in the leaves. Then, chop them into thin strips before cooking.

2. Use plenty of liquid: Collard greens take longer to cook than most vegetables, so you need to ensure there’s enough liquid to keep them tender. Adding vegetable broth or water ensures that you cook the greens thoroughly without overcooking.

3. Don’t overcook: Cooking for too long makes the texture rubbery and unpleasant, and can give it an unpleasant smell too. Cook them until they’re tender but still firm to bite, which takes about 60 minutes in a pot on medium heat.

4. Season to taste: Collard greens can handle flavors such as smoked paprika or chili without losing their taste. Make sure you add some salt and pepper to your dish as well.

5. Try adding smoky flavor: This dish is traditionally made with ham hocks or bacon in Southern cooking, giving them that smoky flavor. However, vegemite or smoked salt can also create a similar effect in your vegan dish.

6. Adjust spices according to your preference: Some like it hot while others prefer mildness in their collard green dishes, but fortunately, spices are adjustable! Add more red pepper flakes if you want more heat or omit entirely if you don’t like spicy foods.

7. Turn it into a complete meal: You can also turn this traditional side dish into a hearty meal by adding sweet potato or mustard greens or another leafy green mixed with the collard greens to change things up and add variety.

Follow these tips for successful execution of this excellent vegan southern collard greens recipe that is hearty and perfect for family dinners, or weekend barbeques.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this vegan southern collard greens recipe is a must-try for any food lover looking to indulge in a healthy vegan soul food dish. With its smoky flavor, tender collard greens, and aromatic garlic and onion seasoning, it provides one of the most unique and delicious merging of tastes. The recipe is quick, easy to follow, and packed with healthy ingredients.

If you want to impress your family and friends with an irresistible southern inspired dish that doesn’t compromise on taste or health, this recipe is definitely for you! So why not switch up your regular leafy greens routine and try something new? I guarantee this recipe will become a staple in your weekly meal plan.

Vegan Southern Collard Greens

Vegan Southern Collard Greens Recipe

My friends love the ham hock collards I make and there's two recipes close my version (Recipe #221708 and Recipe #41320), but I always feel bad leaving out my vegetarian and vegan friends. This is what the vegan version I came up with for them and for myself when I was vegetarian. It still has a lot of the body the meaty version has, but less fat, and no pork. I brought this to a party recently and some people liked this more than my ham hock ones! Other types of greens can be substituted such as turnip or mustard greens. The prep time is for prepared collards (already chopped, stemmed and washed). In my grocery store I've found that the prepared ones are cheaper than the bunches of collards if you consider the yield after the stems are removed. Also it's a lot less trouble. If you need to prepare them yourself just take the hard rib out, up most of the back of the leaf, chop into pieces and then wash for a few minutes in cold water and drain.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon (I use the Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 teaspoon vegemite (but adds a bit of B vitamins and a nice body) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Bacos bacon bits (1 tablespoon of "bacon salt" is preferable, but may be difficult to find. Bacos and bacon salt are b)
  • 2 bunches collard greens, stems removed, cut into 1 inch pieces and washed thoroughly
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 cup water


  • Saute the onion and pepper in the olive oil until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). I usually do this and everything else in a large stock pot.
  • Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Mix in the bouillon, vegemite, bacon salt, salt and pepper and mix through to dissolve the Vegemite and bouillon.
  • Add a little water to dilute the mixture and then add the collards over a medium high heat. You should probably add in batches so it wilts easier, but you can go ahead and add all of the collards and water and cover and let simmer to wilt.
  • Once the collards have started to wilt and you make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot turn the stove to low or medium low and let cook covered for at least an hour or until the collards are as tender as you'd like. You may want to add water later if you would like more pot liquor for dipping cornbread.
  • I've tried substituting white wine for some of the water and this is also a good variation, but there's more than enough flavor without it.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 260gCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 11.9gProtein: 4.3gFat: 5.2gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 1194.9mgFiber: 5.8gSugar: 1.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Collards, Greens, Vegan, Vegetable
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