Collard greens are one of my family’s favorite vegetables. My grandparents grew collard greens in their garden and we always had an abundance of fresh greens to enjoy. Growing up I would help my mom prepare the greens for cooking. I removed the stems on the greens and my mom would cut the leaves into smaller pieces. My mom put the cut greens into a sterilized sink filled with cold salted water to clean all the dirt from the leaves. While the greens soaked in cold salted water, my mom would put smoked ham hocks or turkey wings into a big stockpot along with vinegar, hot peppers, onions, garlic, a touch of sugar, and water.
Mom cooked the meat until the water was infused with smoky goodness and transformed into a stock. Once the meat became tender, she would cut it into smaller pieces, add the chopped greens, sea salt, and black pepper, and slowly cook the greens until tender and infused with the smoky essence of the stock.
Our family enjoyed these greens with cornbread or corn hoecakes, green onions, and sliced tomatoes. Since there are many recipes with greens that use smoked meat to flavor them, I decided to create a vegan recipe for people who don’t eat meat. The following recipe uses vegetable stock and chipotle pepper to infuse the vegetable stock with heat and smoky flavor.
Collard greens are a superstar cruciferous vegetable that contains over 45 antioxidants. Antioxidants are important compounds that help protect our bodies from environmental toxins and degenerative diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation and free radical damage to our cells. When you enjoy collard greens on a regular basis you will help strengthen and protect your immune system.
Collard greens are also an excellent source of phytonutrients, folate, chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, ALA-omega-3 fatty acids, glucosinolates, iron, calcium, and over 5 grams of fiber per cup. I recommend that you include this superfood into your diet on a weekly basis and enjoy all the amazing health benefits!
Slow Cooked Collard Greens
4 large bunches collards greens (8 cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 peeled garlic cloves—minced
1 small dried chipotle chili pepper—seeds and stems removed and diced
1 medium peeled white onion—diced
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons coconut sugar or Rapadura
2 tablespoons white wine
4 cups vegetable stock
Prepare the greens for cooking. Remove large ribs from greens, stack 4 or 5 leaves on top of each other, roll into a tight cylinder, and slice lengthwise into large ribbons. Place cut greens in a clean sterilized sink filled with cold water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and clean dirt off thoroughly. This may take several changes of water. Transfer greens to a strainer or salad spinner and allow water to drain off. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large pot and add minced garlic, chipotle pepper, and onions. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so vegetables don’t burn. Add greens and sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, sweetener of choice, sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Add wine and vegetable stock, cover and cook for 45–60 minutes or until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Enjoy immediately.