Tangy, tender sautéed collard greens are addictively delicious. They only have three ingredients and take less than 15 minutes to make!
I made a panful of these sautéed vegan collard greens to go with my lunch the other day, and they were so perfect that I immediately cooked myself a second pan!
They were so good, that I knew I had to write down the recipe for y'all. Let's do this!
Chances are, you're used to collard greens made in a slow cooker, but I hope that you'll give sautéed collards a chance.
You can basically saute collard greens just like you would kale or any other dark, leafy green. They do take slightly longer to cook than kale, but it's really only a few extra minutes.
Collards are tough veggies, which is why I like to saute in a little bit of oil, then douse in liquid at the end.
This technique, similar to braising, produces tender, flavorful collards in minutes.
What takes the bitterness out of collard greens?
There's a reason why people put vinegar in collard greens. It balances the flavor like a dream!
Salt is great for counteracting the bitter flavor in dark, leafy greens like collards. Instead of using table salt, though, I'm bringing the salt with a healthy dash of seasoned rice vinegar.
In addition to salt, the rice vinegar gives these a lovely sweetness and a touch of acidity. All of those elements are perfect for balancing out the earthy bitterness of collard greens!
That quick steam in vinegar at the end is what makes these sautéed collard greens so addictive. They have just the right amount of sweetness and acidity from the vinegar and the perfect texture.
Seriously, you're going to love them!
Do you have to soak collard greens before cooking?
I've seen some people recommend this, so I wanted to talk about how to clean collard greens. You don't necessarily have to soak your collards, but you do need to wash them well.
These leafy greens grow pretty close to the ground, and you don't want sandy grit ruining the texture of your cooked greens.
I like to clean my collards by placing them in a colander, then using my hands to agitate them under running water for a few minutes. You can soak them, though, if you prefer, though you'll still have to rinse thoroughly afterwards.
Can you overcook collard greens?
The short answer is: not really, especially with this stovetop recipe.
Collard greens are very hardy, so you'd have to really try hard to overcook them. With this stovetop recipe, where they're only in the pan for seven to 10 minutes, you don't need to worry about overcooking them.
Like I mentioned above, a lot of people cook collards in a slow cooker for hours and hours. This method definitely yields a softer texture than on the stove, but slow cooker collards aren't overcooked. It's just a different technique with different results.
What do you eat collard greens with?
Dish up these collard greens as a side anywhere you'd use other leafy greens, like sautéed kale or spinach. Here are some ideas:
- alongside olive oil mashed potatoes and BBQ tofu
- in a rice bowl with Instant Pot pinto beans
- tossed with pasta and white beans or your favorite plant-based protein
- as a holiday side with your favorite vegan holiday roast and farro pilaf
They're a great addition to any meal that could use a little bit of green, really.
Leftover collards will keep for three to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To reheat, you can toss them back into a frying pan with a little bit more oil until they're heated through. You can also reheat them in the microwave for one to two minutes on high.
Sautéed Collard Greens Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups sliced collard greens - See note.
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the collard greens, and cook until they turn bright green and begin to wilt, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the rice vinegar, stirring well to coat the greens, and cook just about two minutes more.