Quick, flavorful and healthy way to get a bowl of collard greens on the table any day of the week.
We love collard greens in our house, especially a big ole pot of southern collard greens sitting in a bath of delicious pot liquor. However, outside of Sunday dinner occasions, I’m too busy workin aka making those donuts and don’t really have the time to cook traditional collards during the week. So short on time, but with a strong desire to enjoy a comforting bowl of greens during the week, I created this curry sauce braised collard greens recipe. Given my affinity for Island food and culture, curries and coconut are ingredients/flavors I’m quite familiar with and leaned on them in this recipe.
How to make a curry sauce
This isn’t a traditional curry sauce made with a paste. This is more of a coconut based sauce with curry spice as the main flavor. I wanted a sauce that could come together rather quickly, but still be rather balanced. This sauce calls for some pungency from fresh ginger, slight chili pepper heat balanced against the coconut sweetness. Heating spices always intensify flavor as well as adds that aroma. So I tend to let there aromatic elements (garlic, ginger, chili pepper, thyme) simmer in heated oil (coconut in this case) before adding the main ingredients (collard greens). This ensures the sauce flavors will have come together well and will be in perfect harmony to flavor the greens.
How do you cook greens fast?
The question of “how” always comes up when talking about quick greens recipes. The easiest and most effective way to cook good tasting greens fast is to cut the leaves into smaller pieces. In Brazil, they roll their collard green leaves into cigars and then cut them crosswise into thin strips and saute in oil. This method works perfectly with braising as well.
Is there Meat in these collard greens?
This recipe contains no meat nor meat-based stock so it qualifies as a vegan or vegetarian collard greens recipe for those of you looking to enjoy this soul food staple sans meat. The flavor comes solely from the coconut curry sauce.
This recipe is not a vegan version of southern collards. This recipe is meant to introduce a new and different way to enjoy such a great, nutritious, yet underrated vegetable. Curries run the gamut on the flavor spectrum. This curry sauce flavor profile blends a few different cultures as there are both Caribbean and Asian components with a strong combination of both savory and sweet spices. I’d describe it overall as having a deep earthy flavor from the turmeric and cumin, brightened by the sweet coconut and fresh thyme. There is a slight hint of heat from the habanero but don’t fear there is no burn/fire.
Coconut Curry Braised Collard Greens Cooking Tips
- If using spice seeds quickly toast them in a skillet and then ground them right before using for next level flavor
- Time permitting saute onions a little long to concentrate their natural sweetness
- Take the time to cut the collards into thinner strips. This will improve cook time as well as allow the sauce to impart more flavor
- Give the sauce flavors time to gel before adding the greens. Once greens are adding, be sure to mix well.
- Don’t worry if it looks like you don’t have enough sauce. Once covered with the lid, the greens will wilt and break down in the sauce.
Making this Vegan Collard Greens Recipe
If you make these delicious and fragrant braised collard greens, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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Coconut Curry Braised Collard Greens
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 1 inch fresh ginger diced
- 2 fresh thyme stems
- 1 habanero chile whole
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 bunch collard greens cleaned, de-stemmed and cut into strips
- Heat oil in medium skillet on medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent (3-4 minutes)
- Add garlic and ginger and saute for another minute, stirring as needed.
Using the tip of a sharp knife, add small slits into the sides of the habanero chili. Add it along with the thyme, stock, and coconut milk. Let simmer 4-5 minutes.
- Add spices and mix well. Let simmer for additional minutes (2-3).
- Remove the chili. Add the greens and mix well. Cover the skillet and let the greens simmer 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. I like these greens with some crunch, so if you prefer softer let them cook a little longer.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Olive oil or canola oil can be substituted for coconut oil.