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Vegan Collard Greens

Vegan Collard Greens is a simple recipe from start to finish that‘s full of flavor and can be served as a healthy side dish or main meal (with optional beans included). It’s quick, easy, and versatile!

side angle view of vegan collard greens in a pot.

We have enjoyed this recipe often throughout the years. It’s one of those simple, everyday foods that we love to eat regularly.

We prefer to eat our collards lightly cooked versus raw. They are a little too bitter for my taste when eaten raw, but once lightly sautéed, they lend a beautiful smoky flavor that is 100% crave-worthy.

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s quick and healthy! Made with just a handful of simple plant-based ingredients, this collard recipe cooks up fast and can be made oil-free.
  • Can be served as a side or meal. Without the optional beans, this makes a great simple side, and with the beans, you can make it into a light lunch or dinner.
  • It’s simply delicious! This vegan collard greens with beans may not look super exciting, but let me tell you, it’s full of flavor.
top down view of ingredients used to make vegan collard greens.
Vegan collard greens ingredients: collards, tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper.

Ingredient Notes

Here is everything you will need to make this savory collard recipe. Plus, ideas on how to substitute ingredients when needed.

  • Collard greens – I have used large leaves for this recipe, but for convenience, pre-cut, packaged collard greens are a great time saver.
  • Tomatoes – Tomatoes add a bit of juiciness and color, rounding out the dish perfectly. Both fresh and canned tomatoes can be used.
  • Onion – Use white, yellow, red, or shallot.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best, but feel free to substitute with 1 – 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  • Olive oil – Or use your favorite oil. To make this oil-free, use 1/4 cup veggie broth.
  • Lemon – This citrus is essential in this recipe, so please be sure to have a couple of fresh lemons on hand. If not, use 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in its place to add brightness and tang.
  • Salt & pepper – As always, use to taste.
  • Red pepper flakes – For a little optional heat, add a few pinches of red pepper flakes.
  • Beans – Adding beans such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, or any white bean will add protein and texture. The beans are optional, but trust when I say they are so good!
top down view of trimmed and chopped collard greens.

How To Cut Collard Greens

  • Wash and dry the collard leaves.
  • Stack the greens on top of each other, fold them in half, and chop them into strips widthwise.
  • Discard the very bottom thick stem.
  • Give one or two more rough chops lengthwise to break up the long strips.
top down view of freshly made vegan collard greens in a pan with beans and a spoon.

How T0 make Vegan Collard Greens

  • Simply heat oil over medium heat, add onion, and sauté until softened.
  • Add garlic, and cook one minute more.
  • Add collards, lemon juice, and salt & pepper, and cook another few minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and optional beans, and coninue to cook, stirring occasionally, until collards are lightly wilted or until beans and tomatoes are heated through.

I prefer my collards al dente and cooked for about five extra minutes. Ending cooking time will vary depending on how soft you like your collards.

side angle view of freshly made vegan collard greens in a pan with spoon.

How To Store + Reheat

Leftovers hold up well in the fridge and reheat easily. Here is a quick guide for storing cooked collards.

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, in a covered container.
  • Meal Prep: These collard greens and beans are great for weekly meal prep.
  • Reheat: Warm collards on the stovetop over low heat, adding a little water for moisture if needed. Alternatively, use the microwave to warm up, using 30-second intervals, stirring between each until warm.

What To Serve With Collard Greens

Collard greens are a savory vegan side dish hearty enough to serve alone but can easily be made into a meal with any of these delicious options.

top down view of healthy vegan collard greens in a small bowl with spoon.

More Easy Side Dish Recipes!

If you make this easy collard greens recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 14 reviews

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you, it’s anything but boring! Easy to put together, this vegan collard greens recipe is full of flavor and will leave you craving more.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Vegansita
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onion (shallot or onion)
  • 23 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch collard greens (12 – 16 oz.), stems removed and chopped
  • 1 can (14oz.) diced tomatoes (juices mostly drained) or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can (14oz.) beans (black-eyed peas, chickpeas, or cannellini), drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 23 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


Saute: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic, saute 1 minute more.

Cook: Add collards, tomatoes, lemon juice, and salt & pepper, cook another 5 minutes. Add optional beans, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until collards are wilted and beans are heated through. I prefer my collards al dente and cooked for about 5 extra minutes. Ending cooking time will vary depending on how soft you like your collards. Add the vegetable broth if cooking longer, or as needed.

Serve in individual bowls with a squeeze of lemon. Pair with Vegan Cornbread or Jalapeno Vegan Cornbread Muffins

Serves 2 – 3

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Feel free to use diced canned, or sliced grape tomatoes, roma tomatoes on the vine. Use whatever tomatoes you prefer or have on hand.

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  1. Great recipe, and so easy! It turned my husband from “Collards? Meh” to “Collards? Yay!” Many thanks 👍🏻

  2. We had two bunches of collard greens from our local CSA. This recipe was easy to prepare and so delicious!! We used cannellini beans. Instead of canned diced tomatoes we used one fresh diced tomato and supplemented with some canned diced tomatoes. We are adding this to our recipe file for regular rotation.

  3. Excellent, easy to make and quickly ready. I added some smoked paprika and it was delicious. Thanks for this recipe!

  4. I had a bag of salad (white and red cabbage, carrot, kale) and used it instead of just greens. And added some jalapeño with the garlic too. I really don’t think I will ever be bored with this dish! Ever! It’s delicious

  5. This really *is* crave-worthy! I made it three nights ago and thought about it so much that I went back to the shops for more greens (puk choy in Australia). It comes together in a few moments with ingredients that are readily available, and I just added tempeh for protein. Love it!

  6. So simple, so good!

    Quick and easy and tasty – will use it again. Searching the site for more recipes :)

  7. I a am trying to expand my leafy greens intake and bought a large batch of collard greens, then found your recipe. I am doing oil free so I used your veg broth substitution. This was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! My husband and I enjoyed it so much that I went out to buy another batch of collards so I can make it again. Thank you for another wonderful vegan recipe!

  8. Nutritious, tasty over pasta, and easy!

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