These vegetarian collard greens do away with the traditional pork in favor of shiitake mushrooms and smoked paprika for a similar hit of umami.
Braised collard greens are a classic Southern and soul food side dish – often served at barbecues, with fried chicken, and/or cornbread. They’re juicy, savory, slightly bitter, and thus great at balancing out rich foods.
Collard greens belong to the “brassica” family of vegetables – which includes broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Like their cousins, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so they’re super good for you. Raw collard greens have a sturdy, fibrous texture. After braising, though, the leaves soften and take on a soft, silky texture.
Traditional Southern collard greens are flavored with smoked pork – either ham hocks or bacon. For a healthier (and more sustainable!) option without meat, I turn to a combo of shiitake mushrooms and smoked paprika. Together, these two impart a similar “meaty”, smoky flavor. My vegetarian version also has plenty of garlic and a kick from chili flakes. Let’s jump in!
What’s In These Vegetarian Collard Greens
This savory side dish consists of collard greens, shiitake mushrooms, fresh garlic, smoked paprika, chili flakes, and a bit of lemon juice to brighten everything up.
Vegetarian Collard Greens Step-by-Step
Prep the Greens: To start, clean each leaf thoroughly under running water. Because collard green stems are tough, you’ll need to remove them before cooking: fold each leaf in half along the stem and slice the stem off. After de-stemming, roughly chop the greens.
Cook the Mushrooms: In a large heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven), heat up some olive oil and cook the sliced mushrooms until golden brown. Then stir in the garlic and spices, and cook for another 30 seconds.
Braise the Greens: Add the greens, and stir to coat them in the oil and seasonings. Keep stirring until the collards are bright green and starting to wilt. Then add salt, pepper, and a bit of water, and cover tightly with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the greens are completely collapsed and darker in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking.
Season to Taste: When they’re ready, turn the heat off and stir in some lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt or pepper if needed.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a uniquely savory flavor that’s ideal for replacing meat in many vegan scenarios and essential for these collard greens. They’re available in most supermarkets and in Asian stores. If you can’t find fresh ones, look for them in the freezer section.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds the smokiness traditional collard greens get from smoked pork.
- Chili Flakes: Lends a bit of heat to the greens, though not totally necessary.
More healthy greens this way…
- Lemon Garlic Sautéed Kale
- Stuffed Portobellos with Spinach and Farro
- Palak Tofu
- Vegan Spanakopita Pie
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag your creation with @thenewbaguette on Instagram.Print
Vegetarian Collard Greens
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
These vegetarian collard greens do away with pork in favor of shiitake mushrooms and smoked paprika for a similar hit of umami.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 pound collard greens, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- Add 4 sliced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the collard greens, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to coat in the mushroom mixture and cook until the collards are bright green and starting to wilt, about 1 minute
- Add 1/2 cup water and cover tightly with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the collards are totally collapsed and dark green, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 70
- Fat: 5.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 2.5 g
Keywords: shiitake, collard greens, vegetarian, braised
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