Kickin’, Smokin’ and Vegan “Collard Greens”

#sorrynotsorry for the scare quotes, but we ended up eating two very different versions of this dish twice in one week and my mister and I, being the curious creatures that we are, did a whole lot of research (and quite a lot more “did you know…?” met with “yes, but did you know…?”-ing, as well) into what a “collard green” is and it seems that it can refer to a dish, but mostly refers to a specific vegetable that happens to be a heartless cabbage.

To my mind, all cabbage is heartless, anyway.

As such, I am very confused because I grew up with the notion that collard greens are leafy greens cooked in a delicious, smoky stock that typically begins with bacon and is most excellent for dipping biscuits in.

But this recipe ain’t that.

But it is close and shares all of the smoky, spicy, greenness of the dish that may or may not be known as “collard greens”.

How much this makes really depends on how you intend to eat it. It’s great alongside the biscuits and mushroom gravy recipe, but I could easily eat the entire batch as a meal straight out of the frying pan.  It does come out to about four cups of food in the end, though. It’s also super-simple and so delicious and will definitely be making an appearance on our table many more times.

What you need:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 large leek or red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 lb kale, spinach, beet tops or, you know, proper collard greens

What you do:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt in a large, cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek or onion and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown.
  3. Stir in the remaining olive oil, the paprika and the chili flakes.
  4. Stir in the leafy greens one handful at a time, until completely combined with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Continue cooking until the greens are completely wilted.
  6. Serve hot with more chili flakes.
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