Traditional Southern-style collard greens have always been a staple on the holiday table throughout my life. But those collard greens were typically made with smoked ham, bacon fat, lots of salt, and boiled to oblivion. They were mushy and a brownish-green color. At the time, I liked them, but after my high cholesterol diagnosis in 2007 (when I was only 35 years old), I started looking more closely at the foods I was eating, including my holiday favs like collard greens.
I went through a phase where I reduced the amount of smoked ham or opted for smoked turkey. But my favorite, by far, is the recipe I adopted in 2012. Why? Because this recipe promotes health.
As a licensed nutritionist and someone whose life has been completely transformed by changing what was on the end of my fork, I’ve come to appreciate all the micronutrients, antioxidants, and disease-fighting compounds found in superfoods, like collard greens.
Southern-Style Collard Greens Elevated has 6 key ingredients
- Fresh collard greens
- Reduced sodium vegetable broth
- Reduced sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Hot sauce
If you prefer a smoky smoky flavor, you can add a ⅛ tsp of liquid smoke or ¼ tsp of smoked paprika.
In addition to the high nutrient density of this holiday favorite, it's also faster to prepare. Most traditional collard greens take between 3 and 4 hours to make. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes, leaving you more time to spend with loved ones or figuring out all the features on the new smartphone you got for Christmas.
How to prepare
- Chop a medium onion and two bunches of collard greens (about 10 cups), separately and set aside.
- Preheat a large pot over medium high heat
- Once hot, add the chopped onion and dry sauté for about 5 minutes. Once it starts to brown, reduce heat to medium low let it continue to cook and caramelize.
- Add in reduced sodium soy sauce and reduced sodium vegetable broth, as well as liquid smoke (or smoked paprika), if using. Stir to incorporate with the cooked onions.
- Immediately add the chopped collard greens and using tongs, work it into the onion sauce mixture.
- Put a lid on the pot and allow collard greens to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes. They should be bright green and tender, but with a bite.
- Add in apple cider vinegar and hot sauce. Stir to mix in. Remove from heat, dish up and enjoy! Salt and pepper to taste or add more hot sauce to your liking.
If you grew up eating a typical soul food meal for the holidays as I did, this recipe is an example of how you can put a new spin on tradition. Check out our Crustless Vegan Sweet Potato Pie for another example of putting a healthy twist on a holiday favorite.
I hope you enjoy!
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