This month to kick off the holiday season, Heather Martin shares her family’s special recipe for Vegan Collard Greens, a dish that always shows up on Heather’s holiday table.
Heather’s vegan collard greens recipe is part of our Flavors of Culture series where we explore the powerful connection between food and culture with food allergies.
Who is Heather?
Heather is the face behind Chef Mommy, a Vegan YouTube cooking channel she started three years ago to help bring awareness to food allergies, give support to others, and share her journey. In addition, she cooks delicious vegan meals for her family and friends on her Instagram page, The Chef Mommy.
This busy mom is also a member of the national Grammy-nominated gospel recording group Virtue.
She is the mother of four beautiful children with food allergies to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, flax, fish, shellfish, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
Check out Heather’s Kitchen to see where the magic of food, family and flavor come together!
Vegan collard greens and food traditions
- What do food traditions mean to you?
Food traditions are fun and nostalgic for me. Eating foods prepared in a certain way have the ability to transport you back in time.
In an effort to preserve food traditions, I am constantly creating new versions of old dishes and treats that are safe for my children to enjoy.
For birthdays, holidays and celebrations I always try to make safe versions of birthday cakes, gumbo, Mac and Cheese, and almost any food you can think of! However, I also try to encourage myself and my kids to think out of the box.
Maybe we don’t have a birthday cake and try a popcorn cake, popsicles or donuts instead!
- Have you created new food traditions because of your family’s food allergies?
Yes! There are no rules, I know food is the center of most celebrations and memories but I am trying to teach my kids to be flexible and to shift the focus off food a bit and lean into making traditions and memories that aren’t necessarily connected to food. This has helped a bunch.
- How has your extended family adapted their food traditions to include your food allergies?
Our extended family has quite a few members with various food allergies, and intolerances as well, so our table becomes a potluck of foods including my vegan collards that are unique, safe, and delicious.
When we come together at our home, I have a rule of only serving food that my kids can eat because I had a really bad incident one Thanksgiving. A family member accidentally served my daughter the Mac and Cheese made with dairy because our dairy-free Mac and Cheese looked similar.
As a result, now we plan a menu that is safe for everyone. In addition, we label everything to let my kids know what is safe for them. We also talk about the dinner menu with our guests before it is served so everyone understands not to feed my kids.
- Describe your favorite holiday memory (food or non-food related)
I am the last of six kids and we grew up poor. My mother was a single parent and we lived with our grandmother in New Orleans, Louisiana. They couldn’t always afford to buy us brand new gifts.
We didn’t mind because Christmas was always about spending time together as a family and making the best of what we had.
One Christmas, my sisters and I decided to wrap old things from around the house to give to each other. I remember opening up a perfectly wrapped old shoe and falling out in laughter. I will never forget that Christmas, it reminds me that the best things in life are truly free!
Heather’s Vegan Collard Greens Recipe
Heather’s vegan collard greens have been a staple at her holiday table for as long as she can remember.
Vegan collards are lightly cooked to maximize flavor
Traditional recipes for collard greens include pork and turkey. Some recipes have also been known to cook them for hours on end, but my family has always made these braised collard greens vegan and aimed to not cook the “life” out of our greens.
Make your braised collard greens vegan by using liquid smoke
Heather uses spices, flavorful seasoning and her secret weapon, liquid smoke as an alternative to meat. This will be one tasty pot of vegan collards that you’ll be proud to serve anyone!Print
Heather’s Vegan Collard Greens Recipe uses spices, seasoning and her secret weapon, liquid smoke as an alternative to meat.
- 1 pound pre-washed bag, Collard greens chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided in half)
- ½ medium white onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ½ tablespoon salt (Heather uses pink Himalayan salt)
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- Dash, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute or any salt-free all purpose seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon vegan crab boil
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Heat a medium to large pot with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add onion, garlic, celery, and red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Sauté salt, basil, and oregano for another 2 minutes.
- Add collard greens in layers (they will shrink as they cook)
- Drizzle remaining oil throughout the greens every time you add a new layer (this will make them tender).
- Add liquid smoke, and crab boil.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of water or enough water to fill the lid of your pot.
- Stir again and cover to cook to desired tenderness. You want the color to remain a bright green so that the healthy vitamins and minerals are not cooked off so do not overcook. Plus it’s nice to have a slight crunch!
The vegan crab boil and liquid smoke can be omitted if not available. It will still taste yummy.
- Category: Sides
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Southern
Keywords: Vegan Collard Greens, Vegan Collard Greens Recipe, Braised Collard Greens Vegan, Vegan Southern Collard Greens
More Flavors of Culture recipes
Shahla is a mom of two girls who live with environmental allergies such as asthma and eczema. Their food allergies include tree nuts, peanuts, sesame and other seeds. Shahla is trained as a Natural Chef who wants to share the comfort that cooking has brought her family. She believes that everyone, regardless of dietary requirements, deserves a plate full of color and flavor.