Collard greens are a quintessential side dish of the South. You can get them elsewhere, but this recipe is Southern through and through. Of course being a New Yorker, I recreated them with a Northern vegetarian twist. After our road trip South I was lamenting the absence of collard greens perfectly simmered in that smoky, juicy, meaty way. I had to recreate the flavor, but because we’re hyper aware of heart health these days, I needed to do so without the meat. How do you recreate flavor without a smoker or meat? Spices! I contemplated adding cumin or chipotle peppers, which I think would work really well, but I wanted these to be true to the real deal here and smoked paprika was the winner. Smoky flavors, layered with sour and sweet tones collide here without the fat brought in from the meat. Stewed in a bath of vegetable broth, the collards become infused with garlic and absorb all the flavor of a little vinegar and smoky spice. This recipe has become a regular at our table.
I’ve actually been really busy in the kitchen these days because my experiments in heart-healthy desserts continue. I’ve tested a bunch of different recipes and I’m so excited to be sharing them with you. I’m on a mission to keep delicious desserts in a diet that is heart-healthy. This often means cutting out animal fats, wheat based flours and refined sugars. It’s been a really cool learning curve for me and often I have to remind myself not to go down the rabbit hole of both science and philosophy. I’ve been listening to cool podcasts and found some pretty amazing resources.
I think I’ll always have that Bourdaine-esque quality about me in that I will probably at least taste anything and everything that’s edible, but in terms of knowledge and taking care of people in my family who have coronary artery disease (dad, uncle, grandpa, friend) or just taking care of ourselves in general, I’m ALL about making these desserts that you can enjoy heartily (pun intended) without qualms. That being said, some foods just feed the soul regardless of nutrition and I encourage that acknowledgment. But back to these collard greens.
When I make this recipe again later this week, I’ll be preparing them with Darya! Apparently collard greens are not a thing in France, especially given that France is not the American South. Darya and I started blogging at about the same time in 2012 and discovered each other early on. I’ve always admired her cooking, the simplicity of her food, her thoughtful encouragement and her interests. Over time we have actually developed a true friendship. And now she’s coming over to NY!!!
I think it will be hilarious (or terrifying) that another blogger will see how small my apartment is and the lengths that I go to simulate light, space, and the illusion that there isn’t a giant mess just outside of the frame of my photos. She will see that my apartment is barely 600 square feet and that the table we eat on every night is a bright red Spanish tiled table with colors louder than any dish I can imagine, but makes me feel like I’m outdoors in Spain. She’s coming to my office and will see what I look like in my day suit. I’m taking her for Mexican food, another thing that’s hard to come by in France. I’m so excited and hoping we can shoot a joint post to share, either something authentically green, authentically French, authentically Russian or authentically New York (which is probably a combo of all of the above).
SMOKY SOUTHERN VEGETARIAN COLLARD GREENS
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or spray
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound collard greens
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Juice of half a lemon, or to taste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 pinch salt
Remove the stem from the collard greens and rip into large chunks.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and cook until they start to wilt.
Pour in vegetable broth, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until greens are tender.