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Southern Collard Greens, collard greens, plant based, vegan, vegetarian, whole food plant based, gluten free, recipe, wfpb, healthy, healthy vegan, oil free, no refined sugar, no oil, refined sugar free, dairy free, dinner, lunch, beans, legumes, greens

Southern Collard Green

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  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner


When you want to treat your taste buds to a totally rocking flavorful packed meal, this Southern Collard Greens is just the ticket! Packed with veggies and healthy ingredients, this nod to Southern Collard Greens dish breaks the away from traditional Southern recipes with a *vegan high five* plus, it’s so good for you!  Full of flavor, texture, vitamins, minerals, and yumminess, makes this dish an ah-mazing Whole Food Plant Based recipe! Vegan, no oil, no sugar, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.


  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced, cut on the diagonal
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 ½ cups low sodium vegetable broth *
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Spice/Herb Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (+/- to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake (+/-)
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt (+/-) *
  • Dash of black pepper (+/-)

Other Ingredients: 

  • 2 – [ 15 oz. cans ] kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large bunches collard greens, stems removed, chopped into 1-inch squares or strips
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or arrow root powder) optional *

Serving Ideas:

  • Splash of apple cider vinegar for tang
  • Splash of lemon juice to brighten
  • Splash of hot sauce for heat
  • Serve over rice of choice
  • Serve over baked potato
  • Serve over our Cornmeal Biscuits
  • Serve over boiled potatoes


  1. Wash and rinse the collard greens. Cut out the center vein, and cut the collard greens into 1-inch chunks or strips. Set aside.
  2. Prep all your veggies.  Place all the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, add the onions, celery, and green peppers into an enamel/ceramic lined Dutch oven or deep stock pot. Sauté for 5-7 minutes to soften the veggies.  Then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, lemon juice, liquid smoke, cayenne pepper sauce, and the Spice/Herb Mix. Do not add the cornstarch.  Stir to mix well. Bring up to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.
  5. Add the collard greens to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  The tenderness of collard greens is a personal preference.  Some of our family prefers the collard greens cooked for about 45 minutes or an hour until they are really tender, while others in our family prefer them to be “blanched” (about 10-15 minutes) preserving the raw flavor and texture.
  6. Determine what you think will work best for you family, then add the kidney beans. Simmer with a gentle boil (not a rolling boil) until the collards reach the desired tenderness.
  7. Check the flavors, add in more seasoning, liquid smoke, etc. based upon personal preference.
  8. Serve over your favorite rice, baked potato or cornbread. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or hot sauce to individual servings.


Tips for Success:

  • Tenderness of the Collards: This is really a personal preference.  If you like your collards really tender like some of our family members do, then this can take from 45 minutes to an hour. Do not use a rolling boil, use a low gentle boil.  Do not place the kidney beans into the pot until later as they can split open.  If you know you are cooking them for a while, then wait until about 25 to 20 minutes before they collards are done to stir them in.
  • Serving Tips:  Collards are best when you add acidic toppings.  We love using a splash of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or hot sauce.  It really adds dimension to the dish and makes them perfect.
  • Sauce/Juice Thickness:  The dish sauce is thin.  We like to add just a hint of thickness to the sauce.  You can achieve this by creating a cornstarch slurry.  See notes below.

Notes Continued:

*Vegetable Stock:  We use Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.

*Cornstarch (Arrowroot) Slurry: We like the “sauce” to be slightly thickened.  It is perfectly fine to leave it as is; however, if you would like the sauce thickened to a more stew-like consistency; take 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch and thicken with 3-4 Tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Whisk well to remove lumps, then add to the Dutch oven at the end by pulling the collards and beans to the side of the pot, then dumping the cornstarch slurry in and stirring to thicken. You may have to increase the heat to activate the slurry to thicken. Cook for several minutes to cook out the cornstarch flavor.

*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary restrictions.