Cream of Collard Greens (Vegan)

Cream of Collard Greens is a comfort food classic, turning the deep flavors of collards into a rich, filling meal. Usually this type of soup would be dependent on cream and butter, but I assure you that the rich creaminess of this recipe will leave you missing nothing.

I like to call this soup, “Poor Bitch Soup” because you can make it with almost no money. A can of beans, a bag of potatoes, a bunch of collards, some garlic, an onion & seasonings– what is that, like $6 to make a huge pot of vegan comfort food? I’m in. 

This recipe is simple, and I’ve done another visual step-by-step recipe for y’all. Here’s a few more in-depth tips for this recipe, for a few extra details:

Production Potatoes – for this recipe, the cheaper the better. You want to use “production potatoes” – which are just bagged potatoes – because they are much higher in starch, which is going to make the soup creamy and thick, without animal-based products.

Collard Green stems – I always cut the stems out of my collards, because stems have a bitter taste that can take away from some of the sweetness of the greens, and can create a bit of an acrid flavor. At the same time, let’s not waste food! You can save these stems for vegetable stocks, or to shave into stir fries or salads– personally, I give them to my dogs as treats. Leafy greens have some good nutrients for my little friends, and the stem texture cleans their teeth.

Beans make cream – White beans are another high-starch ingredient, and smashing white beans makes a creamy texture. This is a great tip for any soup– if you even just lightly smash beans against the side of your pot in a traditional soup, this will release starches that will thicken your broth.

Deglaze – When I use the term “deglaze,” don’t feel like this is a term you just should know or anything. Let’s break down what it does mean, and how to do it – all of the brown bits that form at the bottom of your pan when you saute something are called fond, and they have a ton of amazing flavor in them; you really want that stuff in your food. They are bits of caramelized sugars, and if you move on without them, your final product will not hold as much flavor, which would be a disappointing result when you want the flavor of collards to remain strong until the end.

So, how do you make sure you get those bits? That’s what I mean when I write deglaze– add a tiny bit of liquid into your pan and use it to pull up the fond back into your food. Personally, I use white or red cooking wine to deglaze, or wine vinegars. You can absolutely use lemon juice, other types of vinegar, or even vegetable broth to accomplish the same thing; I’ve even been told water would work. 

So, that’s what I’m talking about when I say deglaze– a culinary term for something super simple.

Canned-style Cream Soup vs. Rustic Cream Soup – this soup is a “rustic style” cream-of recipe, which is to say that the final product has bits of your ingredients still visible. This style is not only for aesthetics – which are fantastic – but it also so it feels more filling, or stand-alone as a dish.

If you want this soup to be closer to a style you would expect from a canned “Cream of” soup, or if you want to use it as a cooking base, all you need is a wide-tooth strainer to separate any larger bits after you blend the soup.

Last but not least, saute the greens very slow and low – you want to extract the most flavor possible out of the greens, so you want to pull the flavors out slowly. When you are cooking, remember that the collards are going to be the primary flavor, even after you add large amounts of potatoes and beans. When I cook greens for this soup, I will cook them for nearly 45 minutes on very low heat– to the point that the garlic and onions are caramelized with the greens. Of course, also remember to deglaze. 

If you have any other questions, or need some tips, please hit me up on Instagram @veganchefg – happy cooking!

Cream of Collard Greens 

Thanks for reading, & don’t forget to follow @veganchefg on Instagram!

~ Chef G.

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