Collard greens are an inextricable part of the BBQ experience, a side dish that encapsulates so much of the history of Black and Southern foodways. In the United States, collards are often cooked along with ham hocks or bacon for flavor as the salty pork is a pleasant foil for the bitter greens. Some lemon juice or other acid is another favorite way to offset the bitter flavor. But if you’re looking to bring a little international flavor to your next cookout, consider making goman, an Ethiopian vegan collard greens recipe.
What are collard greens?
A member of the brassica family like cabbage and broccoli, collards are a dark, leafy green with tough stems. They tend to have a bitter taste, similar to kale, that mellows and gets earthier when cooked. Ancient Greeks and Romans grew and cooked collards before the vegetable made its way to the British Isles. Along with colonialism, collards spread throughout Africa and traveled with enslaved peoples to the Americas where it became a cornerstone of Black and Southern cuisine.
Collard greens nutrition
Much like other brassicas, collards have cancer reducing properties, improve heart health, can help prevent osteoperosis and are a rich source of vitamins A, K, B-6 and C as well as calcium, iron, and magnesium. But compared to trendy veggies like kale and Brussels sprouts, collard greens tend to be less expensive, so they’re better for your wallet too.
How to cook collard greens
Collard greens can be eaten raw in salads, but because their leaves and stems are tough, the most common preparation is slow cooking or braising them until they soften significantly. As stated above, this green is frequently cooked with meat, but what are plant-based eaters to do? If you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan collard greens recipe, Ethiopian goman is an excellent dish to add to your repertoire.
And fortunately, you can learn from the best. Chef Beejhy Barhani of Tsion Cafe in Harlem, New York, showed us how to make her traditional collard greens recipe. She cooks chopped collard greens with an aromatic combo of ginger, garlic and onion until the collards are super soft and flavorful. If you like spice, then add some hot pepper at the end for a bit of heat. Trust us, you won’t miss the meat in this recipe.
Watch Chef Barhani at work in the video below, via The Daily Meal’s YouTube channel:
Recipe Courtesy Beejhy Barhany, Tsion Cafe
- 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 pounds collard greens, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
Step 1: In a food processor, puree 2 chopped onions, 4 cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon fresh ginger.
Step 2: In a large pan heat 1/4 cup oil; sauté the onion mixture. Cook until softened, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Add the 2 pounds collards (they will reduce when cooked) and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes while stirring, until collards are soft.
Step 4: Add water as needed so collards don’t dry out completely and scorch pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: For extra spiciness, add 1 chopped jalapeno, if you like. Serve with injera or rice.