These vegetarian Instant Pot collard greens have a cooking time of just 4 minutes. Collard greens cooked in a pressure cooker are as flavorful & tender as greens that have braised for hours.
Collard greens can be a a quick and easy side dish if, that is, you cook them in a pressure cooker. I love cooking collard greens in my Instant Pot, and I think you will too!
Collard greens are often simmered for hours, to make the leaves tender and flavorful. But a pressure cooker will do the same thing in a fraction of the time.
Pressure cooker collard greens are tender and flavorful, even without meat. In this recipe for vegetarian collard greens, a squeeze of lemon juice brightens the flavor and richness is added with onion, garlic, olive oil and just a little bit of tomato paste.
Collards are cruciferous vegetables, in the same Brassicaceae family as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens and bok choy. They have the same pleasantly bitter flavor that other dark leafy greens, like kale, have.
I really like collard greens served with Instant Pot Turmeric Coconut Rice.
How to Clean & Cut Greens
Collards tend to have dirt clinging the leaves, so make sure to rinse the greens well. I don't bother drying the leaves because the moisture helps steam and soften the leaves as they cook.
- Tear or cut the leaves from the stems
- Put the leaves in a bowl of water (I use the bowl of my salad spinner) and soak and swish the leaves for a minute or two
Stack the leaves up in a pile (about 6 at a time) then roll the leaves up like a cigar. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolled leaves into thin strips
You can watch a video about how to cut collard greens from Itsavegworldafterall.com
Can I Eat the Stems?
The stems of collard greens (and kale) are edible, but are usually too tough and chewy to be enjoyable. I always tear the leaves from the stems before cooking collards.
However, if you don't want to discard the stems, then patiently cooking them will make the stems less tough and fibrous.
- Blanch (briefly boil) the long stems to soften
- Cut the stems into thin, small pieces
- Saute gently or add the stems a slow simmered soup
After washing and cutting the greens, there are 3 main steps in the recipe.
- Saute onion and garlic in oil
- Add tomato paste, vegetable broth and a pinch of salt. Simmer 1 minute.
- Add greens. Cook on high pressure 4 minutes, with a quick release
Finish the Instant Pot collard greens with a squeeze of lemon before serving.
The health benefits of collard greens are many, especially if you're eating vegetarian or vegan collard greens. These are both delicious and healthy greens!
Collard greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Why Add Vinegar or Lemon to Greens?
Vinegar is sometimes added to collard greens during the slow braising process on the stove. The acidity of the vinegar helps soften the greens. Vinegar isn't necessary when cooking collard greens in a pressure cooker.
Instead, I usually add a drizzle of apple cider vinegar or squeeze of lemon at the end of the cooking process, simply to add more flavor.
If you're not vegetarian, there's no denying that the smoky flavor of pork is delicious (and traditional) with collard greens.
You can add pork to this recipe by first sauteing small pieces of bacon in the Instant Pot, then adding the onion and garlic.
Southern-style collard greens are boiled or gently simmered with a chunk of bacon, salt pork or a ham hock. Large pieces of pork or ham hocks are better suited for slow cooked collard greens, and won't work as well with this recipe.
More Pressure Cooker Vegetables
Instant Pot Collard Greens (vegetarian)
These vegetarian (and vegan!) Instant Pot collard greens cook for just 4 minutes. They're as flavorful & tender as greens that have braised for hours.
Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: About 5 minutes to reach pressure + 4 minutes on high pressure + quick release
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 4
- Total Time: 14 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ an onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 large bunches* collard greens, stemmed, leaves sliced into 1-inch wide ribbons (here's a video)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
- Salt, to taste
*About 16 stems, total
- Press the Instant Pot Saute button (see note below about adjusting the saute heat)
- Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion has softened.
- Add broth, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Mix well and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.
- Turn off the saute function and add the collard greens. The leaves can pile up high on top of the broth and onion mixture; no need to mix them in. Secure the lid, making sure the steam release valve is in the sealed position.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the cooking time is done, use a quick release to instantly release the pressure.
- Stir the collard greens really well so that the greens are covered with the tomato and onion mixture.
- Add a squeeze of lemon before serving.
How to Adjust the Instant Pot Saute Heat: There are 3 levels of heat when you saute in the Instant Pot: More, Normal and Less. I often find that the setting for "More" heat is too hot, and whatever I'm sauteing burns to the bottom of the pot. To adjust the saute heat, first press the Saute button, then press the "Adjust" button to move the red light under "Normal" or "Less."
I always keep a tube of tomato paste in my refrigerator, making it easy to add small amounts of tomato paste to recipes.
If you like spicy greens, then add a pinch or red pepper flakes or black pepper to the greens. If you'd like your vegetarian greens to have a smoky flavor, add a ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika.
If you're not vegetarian, then chicken broth can be used in place of vegetable broth.
This recipe was test in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
Cooked collard greens will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Keywords: collard greens, instant pot collard greens, greens
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