Tender, smoky, and rich, these crockpot collard greens are easy to make and melt-in-your-mouth good. Make sure to fix enough for seconds!
When I think about southern cooking, collards spring immediately to mind. I still remember my childhood best friend's mom cooking crockpot collard greens all day long on the stove. Her collards featured bacon grease and ham hocks, and I loved them.
A lot of traditional southern cooking considers bacon a spice and cornbread made with lard a vegetable. But you can make a satisfying crockpot collards without any animal ingredients.
You just need some Tricks.
Hearty Crockpot Collard Greens
These are the tricks I use to make sure that my vegan crockpot collards are as rich and decadent as the ones I remember from childhood.
One of the keys to this recipe is the fat. Instead of bacon grease, though, you fry up the onions and garlic for this recipe in plenty of olive oil.
I don't always put bacon in my collards, but vegan bacon does bring a rich smokiness to the dish that makes it taste much more classic.
If you can't find good vegan bacon, just leave it out. You can add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to the pot, if you like. Or not! This dish is versatile.
The real secret to these umami-packed collards is the red miso paste. Unlike the vegan bacon, the miso is not optional. It is the key to transforming a potful of greens into a flavor explosion. It's also the reason there's no salt added to this dish. Miso is salty enough to do that job for you.
Miso in collards might sound odd, but the resulting flavor is really fantastic. Trust me. You won't regret it!
Making Other Slow Cooker Greens
You can really use this recipe to make any sort of hardy, leafy green.
Kale, mustard greens, or cabbage would all work well using these same cooking directions. Just keep an eye on things after you turn the heat to low.
Most greens won't need to cook as long as the collards to become nice and tender. Start checking other greens after an hour, and take another peek every 10-15 minutes.
Softer greens, like spinach or Swiss chard, won't work in this recipe. They cook down too quickly and too much.
Crockpot Collard Greens
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup sweet onion - chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 strips vegan bacon - I used Sweet Earth Bacon, but your favorite vegan bacon will work just as well., chopped
- 4 cups chopped collard greens - 6-8 large leaves will do it.
- 1 handful of fresh parsley - about ¼ cup chopped
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon red miso paste
- 1 cup water
- In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, saute the onion, garlic, and bacon until the onion softens, about 6 minutes. Transfer to your crockpot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot, and stir well. Use your spoon to break up that miso paste a bit. Cook on high for one hour, then give everything a good stir and turn the heat to low. Cook for two hours more.
- Crockpot or Slow Cooker