My humble yet flavor-packed Quick & Easy Collard Greens recipe is one of the most popular on the blog. It’s pretty easy to guess why. With just 4 healthy ingredients and less than half an hour from cutting board to table, what’s not to love? The stovetop collards get sautéed without oil, which means watching our pot fairly closely and adding water from time to time. Not a big deal, but I wondered, can we make this recipe even easier? Turns out we can. Just cook up a batch of Instant Pot Vegan Collard Greens.
HOW TO COOK INSTANT POT VEGAN COLLARD GREENS
Cooking your collard greens in the Instant Pot won’t save time off the clock, but it will save you active cooking time. Once you saute the garlic in the Instant Pot for a few minutes, the rest of this recipe is pretty much on autopilot, other than adding our vinegar and seasonings at the end. I love this option when I’m serving these collard greens as a side dish, because I can focus on the other dishes I’m cooking without checking my greens.
HOW TO CUT COLLARD GREENS
If you follow this uber-efficient method for cutting your collard greens, you can absolutely get the whole job done faster.
First, stack leaves on top of each other and chop off all of the ends. Then, one leaf at a time, run the sharp tip of your knife lengthwise down the center of each leaf along the stem. Do the same thing on the other side. (Cut as much or as little of the stem out as you like.) You’ll be left with two matching halves.
Second, flip and stack your leaf halves on top of each other in even piles of three or four.
Third, roll the leaves lengthwise like a cigar, and make ½ inch cuts across the width to create ribbons. That’s how to make collard greens, the easy way! After washing my collard greens, I can usually cut 2 bunches in about 5 minutes.
COOKING COLLARD GREENS WITHOUT MEAT
Traditional Southern style collard greens are cooked with meat—usually bacon or ham hock. Of course, these ingredients have no place in our Instant Pot vegan collard greens recipe. Here, we get our smoky flavor from a much healthier source: a bit of smoked paprika.
I used a little less smoked paprika in this instant pot vegan collard greens recipe than I did in the stovetop version, because pressure cooking amplifies the intensity of spices. You could probably use a little liquid smoke instead, but I’m personally partial to the subtle smokiness and color of smoked paprika.
Then, a splash of vinegar at the end gives an added bit of flavor and acidic tang that complements the slightly bitter notes of the collard greens so well. Plenty of flavor, and no need for animal protein.
ARE COLLARD GREENS HEALTHY?
Like their cousin kale, collard greens are both a dark leafy green and a cruciferous vegetable. This makes them one of the healthiest, most nutrient dense foods you can eat. They’re especially protective against DNA damage and help prevent cancer. (Read more about the health benefits of collard greens.)
WHAT TO EAT WITH VEGAN COLLARD GREENS
These greens are casual enough to whip up for a weeknight meal, but pack enough flavor to serve to guests or as a holiday side dish. They’re an especially welcome complement to richer, creamier food on the plate.
Collard greens are also right at home on any soul food menu or at a Mardis Gras celebration. In fact, my original Quick & Easy Colllard Greens recipe was featured alongside jambalya, gumbo and other New Orleans style favorites in this vegan Mardis Gras menu put together by Food Revolution Network. Check it out!
What do you like to eat with your collards? Leave a comment and let me know!
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might also like:
- Quick & Easy Vegan Collard Greens
- Healthy Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Vegan Spinach Soup with Ginger Broth
- Kale Mushroom Bread Pudding
- 1-Pot Curried Lentils & Rice (with Kale)
- Spinach & Cheese Pizza Rolls
Instant Pot Vegan Collard Greens
- 2 bunches collard greens cut into ½ ribbons (about 2 lbs)
- 4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute; use the Adjust button to set the heat to Normal (medium). Heat about a tablespoon of water, add the garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add water a little at a time if things begin to stick.
- Add the collard greens, ½ cup of water and smoked paprika, and stir.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn to seal, and set to Manual (high pressure), for 3 minutes. (Make sure the steam release handle is in the Sealing position.)
- Use a Natural Release for 10 minutes, then carefully move the Steam Release valve from Sealed to Venting. When all of the pressure has been released, press Cancel, and open the lid.
- Add the apple cider vinegar, stir, and allow to sit for about a minute.
- Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
I'd like to add mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes (dried, not oil or water packed) to this. Do you see anything I should adjust for adding those things?
It's honestly hard to say without trying it. Instant Pots can be tricky, and give a 'burn notice' if there's not enough water. Sun dried tomatoes and other dried ingredients absorb water while mushrooms tend to release water. So honestly, this will be an experiment!
This recipe looks great. Can you freeze the cooked collards?
Hi Barb, I've never actually tried freezing this recipe. My guess is that for the best result, I'd try leaving them a bit undercooked, freeze, then finish cooking when you reheat.
I am going to try this today. I am checking the spices for Smoke Paprika. It maybe "Off to the store I go."
Hi Jacqueline, There a plenty of times I'll say go ahead and skip an ingredient, but this recipe really is better with the smoked paprika if you can get it. Hope it works out!
I made this today. I added more garlic/smoked paprika than it cooked for. This recipe is just so delicious. Love love love it
Hi Nessa, I frequently use more garlic/spice than even my own recipes call for! :)))) Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoyed this one.
My husband is not vegan and loves the traditional collard greens with bacon, while My daughter is vegan. I have made this recipe 3 times now and they both loved it every time! Bonus: I get to cook one side dish in less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
This recipe is a winner on all sides: delicious, quick, easy and nutritious. I highly recommend it!
Hi Claudia, that's what I love to hear--enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike! Thanks for taking the time to share your review, it's much appreciated. 🙂
I was looking for a recipe for beet greens and mushrooms in the Instant Pot when I found your recipe. So I tweaked it and used fresh beet greens (never throw these away—super nutritious!), and some sliced mushrooms. Absolutely delicious! This recipe is a keeper and I suspect any type of greens would work. Thanks for posting!
Hi Lucy! I'm so glad you gave this recipe a try, it's one of my favorites. I agree, you could probably use just about any green here. You might just need to adjust the cooking time, but the smoky-tangy combo is a natural for greens. Thanks for stopping by and the lovely review.