Forget Kale and Make Spicy, Creamy Collards Instead

February 19, 2015

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: It's time to take a break from kale and give collard greens the attention they deserve.

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Since kale has taken up residence as everybody’s favorite green, it’s sometimes hard for other leafy vegetables to capture time in the spotlight. Take collards, for example: Most of us have tried and enjoyed them in traditional Southern dishes, and the adventurous eaters among us might have experimented with using them as wraps, but for the most part, these deep-green vegetables don’t get the sort of attention they deserve. 

Part of what I love about collards is their versatility. I find them less bitter than kale (though not everyone would agree), less salty than chard, and more toothsome and substantial than spinach. They’re a perfect canvas for bold flavors, and they stand up really well to long, slow cooking preparations (like soups, stews, and braises). 

This recipe is a perfect example of how tender collards can become when you take the time to braise them gently, and the flavors -- a mixture of coconut milk, ginger, lime, and chili -- are unexpected. If you’re used to eating collards once a year with your Hoppin’ John, then prepare to be delightfully surprised. I love how creamy the greens become in this recipe (without dairy, no less), and the squeeze of lime helps to keep things lively. Serve the recipe with basmati or jasmine rice, baked tofu, or a hearty bean stew

Collard Greens Braised in Coconut Milk

Serves 4

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 pound collard greens, stems removed, cut into ribbons
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons tamari, to taste
Salt, to taste

Dash of red chile flakes, to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg

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    Gena Hamshaw
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Stephanie February 19, 2015
There is a filipino dish called Laing using taro leaves instead of collard greens stewed in coconut cream, flavoured with either shrimp paste or dried fish. Melts in your mouth. My last-meal-on-earth food.

Eat with bottomless rice... nothing beats comfort food.
Gena H. February 22, 2015
This sounds wonderful!