Vegan Collard Greens in white bowl with gold fork

Easy Vegan Collard Greens (Classic Southern Recipe) [+VIDEO]

If you live in the south, collard greens are definitely a staple. Especially amongst black folks! You can’t go to any “soul food” or “southern” restaurant without them being on the menu.

And if by chance they’re not on the menu…RUN! These Easy Vegan Collard Greens are everything you’ve been wanting in a traditional batch of greens. Tender, smoky and flavorful!

The problem with most traditional collard green recipes is that they typically involve the addition of meat. It’s not uncommon for recipes to include a smoked turkey leg for a little added flavor.

Well, obviously that’s not gonna fly around here! Lucky for us, there are other ways to make tasty greens without animal products.

These collard greens are made WITHOUT the addition of chicken broth and smoked meat, yet are still filled with southern flavorful and delicious.

Easy Vegan Collard Greens

How to Make Vegan Collard Greens

Making collard greens is actually pretty simple. Especially these days. You can choose to purchase your collard greens pre-washed and cut to save time, or you can purchase them whole and wash them yourself.

Collards are one of those veggies you have to wash thoroughly, so you definitely don’t wanna cut corners when doing so.

Buying pre-washed and chopped greens really help speed up the process and cut down on your prep time.

Easy Vegan Collard Greens

The only other prep you’ll need to do for this Easy Vegan Collard Greens is dicing the onions and fresh garlic if you don’t use jarred, which shouldn’t take much time at all.

The minced garlic and onion will provide the greens with a nice base of flavor. The seasonings used in this recipe are really simple, but also help to add a bold flavor to these easy vegan collard greens.

You probably already have all of them!

In a large pot, add the chopped onion and minced garlic with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper.

Cook them on a medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and the onions have been cooked down.

Easy Vegan Collard Greens

Next, add in your chopped collard greens along with the remaining ingredients– your vegetable broth, more salt, pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes, ground paprika, and liquid smoke.

Grab a large spoon and stir all of the ingredients together until combined.

Increase the heat to a medium high temperature until you’ve reached a low boil (covering the pot with a lid helps speed this along).

Once you’ve reached a low boil, reduce the heat (keeping the lid on) to a low temperature and allow the greens to simmer for at least one hour. When they’re finished, they’ll be a deep green color.

Easy Vegan Collard Greens

How to Cook Easy Vegan Collard Greens Without Meat

The key to making these easy vegan collard greens without meat is my secret weapon… LIQUID SMOKE!

This stuff is amazing! It’s truly a game-changer when it comes to giving your collard greens that extra something if you’re not adding meat.

If you’re new to making meat-less collard greens, you might be surprised to find that the process to cook them is a lot similar to cooking them with meat (just without the meat of course).

Easy Vegan Collard Greens

In my opinion, it’s actually much easier because there’s not that added component, just simple veggies and seasonings cooked up together to make for an amazing side dish.

Common Questions:

  • Can these be made in a slow cooker? Yes! Check out my Slow Cooker Collard Greens Recipe with Fire Roasted Tomatoes!
  • Can I make these ahead of time? Absolutely! These store really well and if you need to, you can even freeze them! Just place them in an air tight container and store them until needed. They should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Can I use pre-cut collard greens? Sure can! This will actually save you some time on the prep, so go for it!
  • What’s the sugar for in this recipe? Will they be sweet? The sugar helps remove the bitterness from the greens and helps to balance out the overall flavor. They won’t be sweet. Promise!
  • Can I add vinegar to these collard greens? If you prefer greens with vinegar, you can most certainly add some! I would start with 1 teaspoon at a time and adjust as needed so you don’t overdo it. I prefer my greens without vinegar, so I can’t offer much advice other than this!
Easy Vegan Collard Greens

What to Pair with Easy Vegan Collard Greens:

Whenever I make these easy vegan collard greens I pair them with a bunch of other holiday fixings, but if I want a quick plate, I love these collards, mashed potatoes and cornbread together.

Something about that combination really does it for me. Especially when they’re leftovers.

Is it just me, or do some things just taste better the next day? That’s definitely the case for these Easy Vegan Collard Greens. Once all the flavors set in overnight, they taste even better!

Hungry yet? Go ahead and give these Easy Vegan Collard Greens a try. I know you’ll love them! Let me know what you think of them in the comments below!

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Vegan Collard Greens in white bowl with gold fork
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5 from 20 votes

Easy Vegan Collard Greens (Classic Southern Recipe) [+VIDEO]

Smoky, flavorful and tender Easy Vegan Collard Greens made completely meat free!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Collard Greens, Collards, Greens
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4



  • In a large pot, saute minced garlic and diced onions in olive oil until fragrant over medium-low heat.
    ½ heaping cup white onions, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Stir in the collard greens along with the vegetable broth and bring to a low boil.
    1 lb collard greens and large veins removed, 2-2¼ cups vegetable broth
  • Stir in all seasonings and liquid smoke. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Let cook for at least 1 hour (or more according to your preference).
    1½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp paprika, ½ tsp liquid smoke, 2 tsp sugar
  • When finished, remove from the heat serve immediately. Enjoy!


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Vegan Collard Greens


  1. Tracy Briscoe

    5 stars
    I absolutely love collard greens and was a little Leary about vegan greens. BUT to my surprise this recipe may be my ALL TIME FAVORITE. I was so surprised at how flavorful they were and I even let my friend (who is a chef) try them and she could not believe how good they are. I cannot wait to make these for my family. Thank you so much for your creations. They are top notch.

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  3. 5 stars
    This is the first time I’ve made collard greens. This recipe is so simple and the end result was absolutely delicious. I plan on making these again and again, my family loves them. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    OMG, THESE GREENS WERE SOOOOOO GOOD! I doubled this recipe with the intention of eating half and freezing the rest. I ended up eating the whole batch throughout the week! This was my third attempt at vegan greens but this was the first success and my new go-to recipe. Thank you so much, Desiree!

  5. Is it okay to use prepackaged greens

  6. Charlotte

    5 stars
    This is the first time that I’ve made perfect greens! I always used to struggle but this recipe made it so easy. They came out awesome! That liquid smoke is a game changer for sure!

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  10. 5 stars
    I just made these collards with dinner tonight and they were FAB! So easy to make and insanely flavorful. I already know I’ll be making this recipe again and again!

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  12. O.M.G. So I made these greens (along with your macaroni and cheese) last night for Sunday and GIRL!! My fiancé and I loved every single bite. I always make vegan collard greens, but you put me on with the liquid smoke. A total game changer! I can’t wait to try your other recipes. Please tell me you have a cookbook coming soon!

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  14. nancy a davis

    5 stars
    I loved your recipe!

  15. Sintia Stewart

    My husband is going to love these!! Never used liquid smoke should I use hickory or mesquite? Help!

  16. If I were to want to simmer it for a few more hours, do you think the vegetable broth volume listed here would still be enough? Or would I probably want to add a bit more?

    Thank you!

    • Hey Brent, if I had to guess I’d say you’d probably need to add a little more broth. I’d just keep an eye on it and adjust as needed.

  17. 5 stars
    Sooooo good! You were right, that liquid smoke is it. Added extra pepper flakes and garlic because were all in for those (and a bit of smoked paprika too). Easy to follow, absolutely delicious recipe!

  18. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy! Approved by my non vegan family!

  19. 5 stars
    Okay, this was DE LI CIOUS!! I have never cooked collards myself, so I was worried I wouldn’t do it correctly, but it’s honestly so easy and flavorful! I used a mixture of Korean mustard greens and collard greens that I had at home.
    My only note is to check the amount of sodium in your broth and maybe adjust salt accordingly depending on your taste.
    I plan on making these again next week!

  20. 5 stars
    This is by far the best collard green recipe I have ever tried!!! My meat eating fam members loved it too!!!! So freakin good!

  21. 5 stars
    Hi Desiree! I’m thoroughly impressed with your recipe! Delicious 😋 I added smoked paprika and didn’t add the sugar but it makes sense. I will definitely check out your other recipes.

  22. 5 stars
    This recipe is the bee’s knee’s! The flavor was bold and vibrant! The juices demanded to be soaked up with cornbread to ensure that no drop was wasted. My Matriarchal linage is from the south and collard greens on any festive occasion is a must. Now that I am having my mom transition to a plant based diet, this recipe did not disappoint! Thank you for proving that you do not need to use meat to stew your greens and have them taste delicious!

  23. 5 stars
    This is now the only vegan collard green recipe I will make! I’ve tried a few different ones since I’ve become vegan, but they all fell short until this one. I did change two things – I had a large leek in the house, so I used it instead of the onion, but sure onion would have been great, too, and the second is I only used 1/2 teaspoon of sugar since I don’t like my greens to be too sweet. Really excellent! Thank you!

    • 5 stars
      Thank you for the recipe, I’ve gotta use canned greens and will omit the veggie stock, will cut up vegan hot dogs and eat these with a side of Diced, roasted sweet potatoes 😋

  24. These greens are sooo good!!! These flavors remind me of down south cooking. Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  25. Hi I am actually making these in about an hour for thanksgiving how do you recommend I substitute the liquid smoke? Can I do smoked paprika instead? And how much of it?

  26. 5 stars
    Paired with the black eyed peas recipe and they were amazing!!

  27. Krystal Taylor

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe. It was easy to make and my mother who is a meat eater was floored by the taste. I will be saving this recipe.

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