A southern staple gets a makeover, and it works perfect every time. If ham hocks aren’t your thing, then you’ve got to check out how these collard greens get their amazing meaty flavor.
This southern girl loves her collards. I’ll eat a huge bowl of them doused in pepper sauce and be happy as a clam. My mom made the best collard greens, and when I discovered her trick I could hardly believe it.
Why were they so good & not greasy? Ah, the secret is gonna shock you!
Plus, this is a dump in the slow cooker kind of dish. So if you’re into set-it and forget-it dishes, then this easy Southern Collard Greens recipe is gonna make your day!
Fresh Collard Greens
For this recipe, we’re using fresh collard greens. In fact, we’re using the pre-washed, pre-cut collards. All you have to do is dump the bag into the crock pot.
Of course, you can use fresh un-cut collards. You’ll just need to wash (really good), and cut the bulk of the stems out of each collard. I prefer to take shortcuts, but you do you.
Collards Take Time to Cook
The most important thing to remember about collards is that they need to cook, cook, and cook some more. That’s why the crock pot is such a gem. You can dump the ingredients into the slow cooker and forget about them.
That said, this recipe works on the stove top, too. But, it will definitely require monitoring, stirring, & adding water potentially throughout the day.
How to Take the Bitterness Out of Collard Greens
So, this is where things get interesting with collards. They’re a dish that you serve with pepper sauce, vinegar, and tobasco. But, they also require a pinch (or more) of the sweet stuff.
If you’ve ever had bad collards, it’s usually because of one of two things:
- They were tough
- They were bitter
And, both are an easy fix. First, cook them longer. Easy. Second, add a table spoon or two of sugar. Easy-peasy.
Any sugar will work–granulated, raw, even brown. Hell, I’ve even had friends who’ve added a can of Coke to their collards for the sweetness. I mean, what’s more southern than throwing in a Coke to your veggie dish? LOL
Whatever you use, you need a little sweet to get the greens you really want. Otherwise, I promise you–they’ll fall flat.
Secret to Meatless Collard Greens
I have cooked collards a MILLION times, and I have used this little secret every single time. Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate. I swear.
It’s got MSG. It’s not gonna be on anyone’s whole foods list, but I’m telling you right now, this stuff freaking works like magic. My mama made the best collards, now I do. And, if you try this recipe, you will, too.
I’m beyond confident about that, friend.
Collards Must Be Well Seasoned
Last but not least: seasoning. Collards require loads of cook-time, a pinch of sugar, and salt. Whether or not you get into the spiciness of collards, you will need to add sufficient salt. Or, again, they’re just not gonna turn out like you want.
So, don’t be shy: add the salt. (And, maybe a pinch more).
Southern Collard Greens
Easiest trick to get perfect collard greens without meat but still have LOADS of that pork flavor that you want.
- 2 lbs. Fresh Collard Greens (Pre-washed, pre-sliced bag)
- 2 packets Goya Ham Concentrate
- 1 TBLS Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
- 2 TBLS Sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- Water to fill crock pot
- Optional: Hot Pepper Sauce
- Using a slow cooker, turn on high, and add pre-washed / pre-sliced collards straight into the crock pot. Fill to the top. Push down. Add a few more. Push down again & really pack them in there. Don't worry, they'll cook down a ton.
- Sprinkle Goya packets, Tony seasoning, sugar & salt all over the top of the collards.
- Add water to fill the crockpot. The collards should be mostly submerged in the water. If the very top of the collards aren't covered, that's okay. They'll cook down in a few hours. But, you want to add plenty of water here. Take your spoon & apply pressure to the top of the collards. You should be able to see water near the top of the heap.
- Cook on high for 8 hours.
- You will stir once or twice just to make sure all the collards are getting cooked evenly.
- Collards will take all day to cook. They need time. Don't rush it, or they'll be tough.
- Serve with hot pepper sauce, Tabasco, or Chow Chow.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 1081mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g
Easy Collard Greens Without Meat
Yep, it’s doable. And, yep, it’s easy. Let it be easy, amiright?
If you’ve got a slow cooker, then you, too, can be a master of southern collards. With the use of the Goya seasoning, collards become so much easier to get right.
Just remember: give them loads of time to cook, don’t forget to add a pinch of sugar, and be liberal with your salt.
Boom. You’re on your way to cooking the best collards this side of the Mississippi. (Or, that side…wherever you are, they’re gonna rock your face off).
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