The first time I ever had collard greens, I was at a birthday party where everyone brought something to eat, and the food was set up buffet style. I had no idea what I was eating, but I loved it, and I had to find out. A couple years later, I recommended my dad plant collard greens in his garden. These have turned out to be one of the fastest growing and most abundant crops in his garden, and I'm always coming up with new ways to use up the greens. I was so surprised when I scrolled through the PD recipe log and didn't see a recipe for classic, southern-style collard greens! This is my go-to collard greens recipe, and it can even be made in a crockpot with a couple tweaks.
Traditional southern-style collard greens typically have ham and bacon in them. These give a smoky flavor to the greens. To replicate this flavor, I substituted red bell pepper for the ham and smoked paprika for the bacon. These substitutions added a nice substance and smoky flavor to the greens without the artery-clogging fat of animal products. I served my collards over rice, but these are extremely versatile--throw them in a wrap, scramble them with tofu for breakfast, or eat them alongside your dinner as a side.
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the onions and peppers to sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for only another 30 seconds, as garlic tends to burn easily.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low, and add the shredded collard greens to the pan. Let the greens cook for about a minute, or until you see the leaves start to wilt, and then add the vegetable broth.
3.Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer, cover the pot, and leave this over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes.
4. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice. Stir well and serve warm.