Delicious Vegetarian Collard Greens: A Nutritious Meal

As I sit down to write this recipe, I can already feel my mouth beginning to water at the mere thought of these tangy and spicy collard greens. This vegan collard greens recipe is a true Southern classic, packed full of flavor and nutrients. If you’re craving something truly soulful, this dish is sure to satisfy.

But before we dive into the ingredient list and recipe how-to, allow me to give you a little background. Collard greens are a staple in Southern cuisine, often served alongside other soul food favorites like smoked brisket or ham hocks. Traditionally, they’re cooked low and slow with plenty of bacon fat or ham hocks for added flavor.

However, since many people are looking for healthier and meat-free alternatives, we’ve created this 100% vegan collard greens recipe that retains all the delicious flavor of the traditional version without any animal products. In fact, this recipe is so good that even non-vegans won’t be able to tell the difference!

One thing that sets our recipe apart from others is the tangy twist we’ve added by incorporating apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. These ingredients add a depth of flavor and balance out the bitterness sometimes found in collard greens.

So whether you want to impress friends at a cookout or just need a comforting meal after a long day at work, our sweet and tangy collard greens recipe is sure to hit the spot. Follow along as we walk you through all the steps to create this mouth-watering dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tangy 'n' Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens
Tangy ‘n’ Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens

Ahem, please lend me your ears, dear food lovers! I have a recipe that will tantalize your taste buds in ways no other greens recipe can! Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the Tangy ‘n’ Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens Recipe – a soulful and aromatic preparation that will leave you swooning with every bite.

What sets this recipe apart, I hear you ask? Well, for one, it’s a healthier take on the classic southern-style collard greens, without compromising on its rich and comforting flavors. These greens are sauteed in just enough olive oil to ensure their tenderness while retaining their nourishing powers.

But what truly elevates this dish from good to great is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy flavors infused with a spicy kick. Apple cider vinegar is added to create the sweet-sour tang that we all love, while brown sugar gives it a mild sweetness that blends perfectly with the heat from red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce.

And let’s not forget the herbs! Dried thyme and onion powder provide an earthy flavor that balances out the sweetness and adds depth to this dish. The liquid smoke further elevates the taste, giving it an irresistible smokiness that feels like a warm hug of flavors.

But wait, there’s more! This recipe is versatile, as it can be easily adapted to different dietary requirements. It’s vegan-friendly (hooray!), but if you’re a meat lover, you can always add smoked brisket or ham hocks to enhance its soul food appeal. Lastly, if you’re looking for something beyond collard greens, feel free to switch things up by using turnip or mustard greens instead.

So dear readers, if you want to indulge yourself in some good ol’ comfort food without sacrificing your health or dietary restrictions, this Tangy ‘n’ Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens recipe is just what you need on your plate. Trust me; once you try these savory treats, they’ll become a regular staple in your kitchen!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to spice up your life with these tangy 'n' spicy collard greens!
Get ready to spice up your life with these tangy ‘n’ spicy collard greens!

Let’s dive into the ingredients needed to create this tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens recipe. Below is a rundown of all the ingredients you will need to collect before starting to cook. Don’t forget to double-check your pantry and fridge for existing supplies.

Ingredient List:

  • 2 pounds collard greens, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

These ingredients are a perfect blend of spices, seasonings, vegetables, and liquids that when combined, make a delicious dish. The recipe is very flexible, so if you prefer additional spice or prefer to omit an ingredient, make sure to do so.

The Recipe How-To

 You won't find any meat in these vegetarian collard greens, but you'll still get all the flavor.
You won’t find any meat in these vegetarian collard greens, but you’ll still get all the flavor.

Now that we have all the necessary ingredients, let’s get cooking! This Tangy ‘n’ Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens recipe is quite easy and quick to make.

Preparing the Collard Greens

Firstly, rinse your collard greens leaves under running water and trim off the tough stems. Roll up stacked leaves and thinly slice. Set aside.

Sauteeing the Aromatics

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in 1 medium onion, finely chopped, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Then, add in 4 garlic cloves, minced, and stir until fragrant.

Cooking the Collard Greens

Add the sliced collard greens to the pot with aromatics. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons yellow bell pepper flakes (optional), 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine all seasonings with greens.

Finally, add in 1/4 cup brown sugar and gently stir to mix well all ingredients in the pot.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for at least 2 hours or until collard greens are tender.

Finishing Touches

Once the collard greens are cooked, remove from heat and check for seasoning. Adjust seasonings based on your preference for a sweeter or spicier taste by adding more sugar or hot sauce respectively.

Serve these tangy sauteed collard greens as a side dish for any meal on their own or paired with smoked brisket or beans for a vegan Southern-style meal!

This recipe can also be made in an Instant Pot for even quicker results – cook on high pressure for just 10 minutes followed by quick-release of steam.

Enjoy as these tangy collards will bring soul food straight to your table!

Substitutions and Variations

 Collard greens are a classic southern dish, but this tangy twist will take it to a whole new level.
Collard greens are a classic southern dish, but this tangy twist will take it to a whole new level.

If you’re looking to add a twist to this classic southern-style collard greens recipe, here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Greens: While collard greens are a staple ingredient in this dish, you could also substitute them with other hearty greens such as kale, mustard or turnip greens for a slightly different flavor.

– Vinegar: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, white distilled vinegar or red wine vinegar will work just as well. Some people like their collard greens with a stronger vinegar taste, so feel free to add more if that’s your preference.

– Sugar: Brown sugar adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the dish, but you could also use honey, maple syrup or even molasses for a deeper flavor.

– Spiciness: Adjust the spice level to your liking by either adding more or less dry crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes. For an extra kick, try using hot sauce or fresh diced jalapeno peppers.

– Cooking Method: While this recipe is traditionally made on the stovetop, you could also try using an Instant Pot or slow cooker for a hands-off approach to making collard greens.

– Vegetarian/Vegan Variations: To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the slab bacon or ham hocks usually used for flavoring in southern-style collard green dishes. Instead, add a teaspoon of liquid smoke for a similar smoky flavor. For vegan variations, replace butter with vegetable oil and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth if preferred.

Experiment with these substitutions and variations to find your perfect combination of sweet tangy and spicy collard greens.

Serving and Pairing

 Who says vegetarian food has to be bland? These collard greens will prove the skeptics wrong.
Who says vegetarian food has to be bland? These collard greens will prove the skeptics wrong.

It is time to indulge in the soulful and enlivening taste of these tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens. Serve the dish hot, straight from the pot, and watch as your guests relish in their first bites with a satisfied look on their faces. This Southern-style collard greens recipe is perfect as a side dish for any meal or can be enjoyed on its own.

For those who crave sweet and tangy flavors, this collard greens recipe is perfect. The greens are cooked in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and brown sugar, giving them that irresistible balance of sweet and tangy. The addition of red pepper flakes and liquid smoke also adds a smoky flavor that makes this dish unforgettable.

Pair these vegan collard greens with other soul food favorites like ham hocks, mustard greens, or turnip greens for a complete Southern-style feast. They would also be delicious alongside beans or served as a main dish with rice. The possibilities are endless when it comes to serving these tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens.

To add even more depth and flavor to the dish, consider serving it with hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce on the side. A sprinkle of chopped onion or a few slices of yellow and red bell pepper can also add some color and crunch to the plate.

Overall, this Southern-style collard greens recipe is sure to please even the pickiest eaters at the table. It is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy that will leave everyone wanting more.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Feeling a little unadventurous in the kitchen? Let these collard greens be your inspiration to try something new.
Feeling a little unadventurous in the kitchen? Let these collard greens be your inspiration to try something new.

As with most collard green recipes, this Tangy ‘n’ Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens Recipe gets better with time. If you’re planning to serve them for a special event or you want to be able to enjoy them throughout the week, consider making them ahead of time.

To make-ahead: Once the collard greens have finished cooking, let them cool before transferring them to an airtight container. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to five days.

To reheat: To reheat the collard greens, you can either microwave them or reheat them on the stove. If you choose to use the stove method, add a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent sticking and cook on low heat until heated throughout.

If you prefer your collard greens with a bit more crunch, reheat in a skillet over medium-high heat for just a few minutes. Keep in mind that collard greens will continue to soften as they cook, so be careful not to overcook them.

If you’re cooking for a larger group, consider making a double batch of these tangy and spicy collard greens in an Instant Pot. They’re perfect for potlucks or backyard barbecues and can be easily reheated in the same pot they were cooked in.

Whether you serve them fresh or enjoy them as leftovers, these sweet and spicy collard greens are sure to become a favorite side dish among your family and friends.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Take a bold step and try these tangy 'n' spicy
Take a bold step and try these tangy ‘n’ spicy

To make sure that your tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens come out perfectly every time, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First and foremost, be sure to rinse and trim your collard greens properly. This means removing any thick stems or tough parts of the leaves. If you leave these parts in the dish, they can make the greens tough and difficult to eat.

I also recommend cooking your collard greens low and slow, especially if you’re using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. While it may be tempting to speed up the cooking process, this can actually make the greens less flavorful and less tender. Instead, try cooking them for at least two hours on a medium-low heat setting.

Another key tip is to add just the right amount of apple cider vinegar. This tangy ingredient is what gives the collard greens their signature flavor, but it’s important not to overdo it. I recommend starting with a small amount and tasting as you go until you find the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations. While this recipe is delicious on its own, you can also try adding other ingredients like beans or turnip greens for an extra soul food flair. And if you prefer a milder dish, feel free to reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or hot sauce.

Follow these tips and let your creativity shine through – you’re sure to end up with a delicious batch of tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens every time.


As a vegan chef, I’m always on the lookout for ways to help people create delicious plant-based meals. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about this tangy and spicy vegetarian collard greens recipe. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, these answers will help you to prepare this dish with confidence and ease. So, let’s dive into some of the most common queries about this southern-style collard greens recipe!

What does adding vinegar to collard greens do?

Adding vinegar to the collard greens not only enhances the taste but also helps eliminate any unpleasant bitterness. It’s best to let the people decide on the amount of vinegar they want to add. While apple cider vinegar is a traditional choice, others may prefer white vinegar or hot sauce as alternatives.

Why do you put sugar in collard greens?

Adding a tablespoon of sugar can help create a well-balanced dish with the greens. To spice things up, you can incorporate some red pepper flakes. Alternatively, you can enhance the heat by serving the final result with hot pepper vinegar or hot sauce on the side.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this tangy ‘n’ spicy vegetarian collard greens recipe is sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests. Not only is it a healthy and satisfying side dish, but it can also be customized to fit your preferences with various substitutions and variations. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors paired with the slight kick of heat creates a flavor profile that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Whether you are a vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, this recipe is a must-try. Plus, with the added benefits of apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke, you can indulge in the flavors of Southern-style collard greens without any guilt.

I urge you to give this recipe a try and experience the sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors of these delicious collard greens for yourself. Trust me, your taste buds – and your body – will thank you. Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family who enjoy soul food or are looking for a new twist on classic Southern dishes. Here’s to happy cooking and healthy eating!

Tangy 'n' Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens

Tangy 'n' Spicy Vegetarian Collard Greens Recipe

These greens definitely have a kick. They're a perfect mixture of spice, veggies, herbs, and smoke, without the meat. They've got an edgy spice to them that authentic Caribbean and Mexican-cuisine lovers will enjoy. Even better, they're good for you - without the meat, without the fat, and without all the salt. For this recipe, use a regular eating spoon as your "teaspoon," and make all of your tablespoons slightly heaping (and slightly overflowing, for your tablespooned liquids). Enjoy!
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 293.6 kcal


  • 3 bunches cleaned and cut collard greens
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thin 2 inch long strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thin 2 inch long strips
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried bay leaf, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coriander, tied in cheesecloth
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 -2 tablespoon dry crushed red pepper
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup water (optional)


  • Clean 3 bunches of collard greens thoroughly by sprinkling with salt, washing and rinsing. Cut greens as desired, then set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat 7 cups of water and brown sugar to boiling.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sautee garlic, onion, and both peppers until tender. Add contents of skillet to the water and reduce heat to medium.
  • As water continues to boil gently, add liquid smoke, vinegars, bay leaves, thyme, celery salt, black pepper, cheesecloth-bagged coriander, onion powder, red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to pot.
  • Add all greens to pot, stirring gently to submerge greens into broth.
  • Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes.
  • Then reduce heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Taste the "pot liquor" and add the extra cup of water if desired to reduce the "kick", making your greens more mild and less spicy.
  • Serve with sweet cornbread.
  • Enjoy!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 876gCalories: 293.6kcalCarbohydrates: 40.1gProtein: 11gFat: 12.1gSaturated Fat: 1.7gSodium: 97.7mgFiber: 15gSugar: 11g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Collards, Easy, Greens, Vegetable
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