Braised Collard Greens ♥

Braised Collard Greens
Fresh collard greens braised with garlic, a touch of sugar and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Weight Watchers 1 point and low-carb. Traditional at New Year's. "Vegan Done Real".

~recipe & photo updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

2008 Original: Since greens are a traditional way to bring on financial fortune in the new year, I half expected to hold this recipe, if it turned out, til next year. But the collard greens turned out so well, were so easy and tasted soo good, I decided not to wait.

Besides, if the pile of collards at my local supermarket on Monday is a prediction, it should be easy to find collard greens for the next few days. Plus, if there's a season for hearty greens like collards, kale and chard, it's right now and through the next couple of months -- one of the few fresh vegetables right in the middle of winter.

2011 Update: Wow. What a knockout recipe once the greens are cooked until soft and almost buttery. I could have eaten the whole pot myself.


Hands-on time: maybe 15 minutes with occasional attention afterward
Time to table: maybe an hour
Serves 4 with large-ish servings, 8 in small-ish ones

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or more large garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound fresh collard greens, cleaned, trimmed & chopped (see below for more detail)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used balsamic, the inspiring recipe called for cider vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar (don't skip this, it really helps counter the bitterness that greens can get when cooked)
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

HOW TO CLEAN/CHOP COLLARD GREENS (If you're cleaning/prepping the greens yourself, you may want to do so before starting the skillet, for it takes some time to clean and chop the greens.) Wash the greens well. I rinse them under slightly warm running water. Others like to let greens soak in water for a few minutes to loosen any dirt, then rinse well. Trim away any rough stems pieces or bruised leaves. Cut out the stems from all the leaves, collect together and chop into one-inch pieces. (In 2011, I discarded the stems, my mistake, looking at the notes!) Roll 1 - 2 leaves into 'cigar rolls'. Holding a roll with your fingers, to hold it together, slice into it lengthwise, turn ninety degrees and cut lengthwise again. Then cut cross-wise about an inch apart, you'll end up with one-inch squares.

COOK THE COLLARD GREENS Heat the olive oil in a large skillet til shimmery. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the greens, stirring to coat. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook til tender about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.

MAKE WITHOUT FAT? I suspect that these collards could be braised with no fat, which would bring the Weight Watchers point value to zero.
HOW LONG TO COOK COLLARDS I cooked these just til tender, so there was still plenty of structure and chewiness. This went over well with the grown-ups at the table but the 'kids' were less excited. Next time I might cook them to the point of butter-iness.
SMALL SERVINGS Heavy greens like collards, I think, can be served in slightly smaller servings. I think of a pound serving 8, not 4, as is usual for vegetables here on A Veggie Venture.
LEFTOVERS These taste good cold, too! The leftovers will be chopped up and sprinkled with lemon juice for a quick lunch salad.
BUDGET IDEAS Bunches of fresh collard greens were selling for $1.35 a pound. For $3, there were also one-pound bags of fresh collards, already cleaned and chopped. Collards are especially easy to clean and chop, it took maybe 10 minutes. That makes the 'convenience' factor worth about $10 an hour.

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Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yum. Good for you for going with some Southern greens for the new year! We had braised kale last night with sundried tomatoes and jerk sauce--a recipe that I tweaked from with cornbread for dinner. I was going to throw in some black-eyed peas, but we apparently forgot to buy some. Anyway, Happy New Year!

  2. looks great! nice to meet a fellow vegetarian who's not an indian:)

    Wish you a happy and healthy 2008!!

  3. Hey babe :) happy new year to you and the family!

  4. I discovered last year that I just love collards, so this looks like one to try for sure!

  5. If you toss the stems instead of adding them in, the collards will be less bitter and you can skip the sugar.

  6. This is a good recipe, but most of the time people eat collard greens because of there bitterness. so the only thing i did different is got rid of the sugar

  7. Sally ~ Ooo, sounds good!

    Mansi ~ Oops, well it's nice to meet you too but I'm not a vegetarian -- nor Indian!

    Cynthia ~ To you too!

    Kalyn ~ For sure!

    Amy ~ Great idea. I liked the stems, however, so for such a small amount of sugar, think I'll keep them.

    Anonymous ~ Or wait, maybe not! I did like the tiny bit of sugar (and if you look at the 600+ recipes here, I bet only a handful include sugar) but will see how it tastes without, the next time.

  8. Woah Alanna this is amazing. I received a bunch of collards in my CSA box this week and wasn't sure how to prepare them. You are my veggi queen.

  9. I added corn and onions to mine... will try this with vinegar - should add a nice tang

  10. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    I love your site! I just want to thankyou:)


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna