Vegan Greens: Travesty or Tasty?

When I was a child, I used to think there were two types of green beans: Kentucky green beans that my grandmother served alongside the simple syrup she called iced tea and the boring green beans everyone else cooked . In retrospect I realize that my grandmother’s beans were so good because she never cooked anything green without meat. Which is why she would probably turn over in her grave if she knew that I had recently cooked greens without a single piece of pork. Then she might turn over again if she tasted them because they were actually good. Although I originally fixed them because my vegetarian friend Lacey was coming to dinner on New Years Day, I enjoyed them so much that I will definitely be making them again although to be perfectly honest, the greens I made this week were cooked with ham and sausage. The liquid smoke is key here  as are the chipotles in adobo since you obviously don’t have any smoked or cured meats to add flavoring. The sea weed also adds depth and a sort of salty, oyster-like flavor. I’m not sure what the peanut butter added–maybe richness? Next time I’d like to try using chopped, smoked nuts, which might make  for a nice, varied texture. Miso paste would also be interesting.

Vegan greens

Adapted from Homesick Texan

1 or 2 bunches of greens (I used kale)

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot,diced

2 table spoons olive oil

1 14-ounce can tomatoes

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

a few sheets of dried seaweed such as kelp or Nori (optional)

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 table spoon apple cider vinegar

1 table spoon liquid smoke

salt and pepper to taste

Clean collards. Remove stems and ribs. Cut into strips. Heat olive oil in large pot. Sautee onion and carrots for 10 minutes. Add garlic. Sautee 1 minute. Add tomato and chipotle peppers. Add 4 cups of water, greens and seaweed. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Add peanut butter, vinegar and liquid smoke. Cook greens for an hour and a half to two hours, depending on how soft you like them. Add salt, pepper and more liquid smoke (if needed) before serving. Serve with Tabasco.

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