Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comfort Food Gets Veganized

On the menu tonight: Smoky Sauteed Collard Greens and Spiced, Smashed Sweet Potatoes.

Ultimately, it's a meeting between classic comfort foods and the genius authors of Veganomicon.

Bonus: You'll have plenty of room for dessert :)

I tried collard greens for the first time this summer, during our vacation in Asheville, NC. Tupelo Honey Cafe--a delightful little restaurant that specializes in southern cooking with local, organic ingredients--offered a three veggie entree, featuring sauteed collards. Never being one to shy away from a food I have yet to taste, I tried their collard greens and I was thrilled with the result.

It's been over a month since our travels, and I finally located a collard recipe that best mirrors my Tupelo Honey experience. The key ingredient? Liquid smoke. I was skeptical at first, most likely because I found it in the grocery store sandwiched between the hot sauces and steak sauces (need I say more?). But, one recipe of smoky sauteed collards later, and I now call myself a believer.

A quick note of the flavor of collards: Make sure you cook them down in the marinade long enough--they can have a bit of a bitter flavor prior to the cook-down. I'm sure the non-vegetarian version, which employs bacon fat as the key ingredient, boasts a bacon-y delicious flavor that masks any bitterness the greens might hold. Ah, well. Maybe in another lifetime.

As previously noted, we served our smoky collards with simple mashed sweet potatoes--recipe also courtesy of Veganomicon. Although I'm not a vegan, this cookbook alone could easily convert me. The authors (who also wrote my favorite vegan cookie cookbook) make vegan cooking easy and delicious. No hard-to-find ingredients, no soy "cheeses," and most recipes are short and simple. Love it!

So, liquid smoke in hand, and armed with a bundle of fresh collards, let's get to cooking this classic comfort dish...veganized of course :)

Smoky Sauteed Collard Greens
(A recipe from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra, Maskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

We enjoyed these hearty, flavorful greens with mashed sweet potatoes. And a Rocky Road cookie for dessert :)
  • 1 lb. collard greens, thinly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
Smoky Marinade Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup veggie broth (or chicken if you're not a veg-head)
  • 2 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP liquid smoke
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup


1) Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

2) In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped collard greens and cook for 2 minutes. Add marinade and cook on low-medium heat until collards are tender and cooked --about 15 minutes.


  1. haha.. i like the fact that you keep the dinner light so you have more room for dessert!!

  2. oh my gosh, i want greens NOW! they're so good and it's been waaaaaaaaay too long!

  3. I love how simple your dinner looks, but I bet it tasted amazing!

  4. I'm from the south and I can't remember the last time I had collards. It's been a long time. And I don't think I've ever made them myself.

  5. I always forget how much I love liquid smoke! I need to pick some up

  6. I just made your sweet potato and black bean rolls and holy smokes they were so delicious!! You were totally right about the sauce too, it was to DIE for!! I will be blogging about it tomorrow just to let you know :)

  7. Awesome, Kat! So glad to hear you liked the recipe :)

  8. I SOOOOO love greens - I totally have to make these!!!

  9. Even though I'm from TX, I've never had collard greens! I did try turnip greens recently and they were super bitter, so I wondered if that's partly why people cook greens with ham hocks. Liquid smoke is a brilliant substitute!