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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 been enjoying this recipe often throughout the years. It’s one of those simple, everyday types of food that we love to eat on a regular basis.

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 amke 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 leaf for this recipe, but for convenience pre-cut, packaged collard greens is a great time saver.
  • Tomatoes – Tomatoes add a bit of juiciness and color rounding out the dish perfectly. Both fresh or canned 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 – The lemon is essential in this recipe so please be sure to have a couple 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 eachother, fold in half, and chop into strips widthwise.
  • Discard the very bottom thick stem.
  • Give one or two more rough chops lengthwise to break up the long stips.
top down view of freshly made vegan collard greens in a pan with beans and a spoon.

How To make Vegan Collard Greens

  • Simply heat oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté until softened.
  • Add garlic, cook one minute more.
  • Add collards, lemon juice and salt & pepper, cook another few minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and optional beans, coninute 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: This collard greens and beans is 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.



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.

Keywords: vegan collard greens, collard greens recipe

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing such easy, healthy and delicious recipe! I didn’t add the broth and seasoned with garlic salt and pepper and tossed in a can of chick peas, wow! Super delish!

  2. Hi, I made this recipe with black beans and it was delicious! The only changes I made was that I added a little bit of allspice and cumin. Thank you for the great recipe!

  3. I woke up craving collards this morning but was in a slight rush. I made this in no time and it did the trick! I added a pinch of red pepper flakes at the end of sautéing the shallot and served over some cooked bulgur I had on hand. Light but hearty, perfect for this cold morning!

  4. Awesome recipe!

  5. So easy, so good, and very filling! I sprinkled with some nutritional yeast as well!

  6. I made this on Sunday night to put in my lunch box on Monday and Tuesday. It was my first time having collard greens, and I really enjoyed them! The cooked dish kept nicely in the fridge until I was ready to heat it up in the microwave at work. As my side, I had a serving of farro which I mixed in with the greens after reheating. I loved the texture and flavor, and it was really simple to make too! I think I’m going to put this recipe into my lunch box rotation when I need to mix things up and/or throw together lunch on the cheap! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This looks really simple and quick and tasty…perfect for me!

  8. Erin Greener says:

    Collards are the action heroes of my garden every year. They're usually the first plant to dole out a harvestable crop and then keep going and going and are always the last thing standing through the brutal first frosts of winter. My go-to for them is sautéed with red bell pepper, onion, slices of half a Tofurky link, fried onion bits, and all tossed together with your recipes for creamy cashew sriracha sauce.

    1. What a wonderful plant to have in your garden. Always giving! Your version of collard's sounds delicious! Cheers :)

  9. The Vegan Cookie Fairy says:

    My mum and I were just talking about collards earlier! I definitely need to try some soon, and this looks like my kind of meal.

  10. Cheri Savory Spoon says:

    What a great combination, love the colors.

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