This vegan version of collard greens is the perfect side to your favorite heartier dish. They’re smoky from the addition of vegan bacon, savory, slightly sweet, and the best way to get your greens in! Made in the Instant Pot, have these on the table in just 20 minutes!
The well loved, dark, leafy collard greens have been a part of Southern soul food tradition and black culture for several centuries.
To read more about the detailed history of collard greens check out this article: [Hungry for History] Collard Greens. It dives deep into the meaning and tradition this dish holds in black communities.
The article even shares a delicious sounding greens recipe that is naturally vegan!
A large part of my family lives in the South and my memory of this dish is served with ham – ham hocks in particular.
It’s also cooked on the stove for a long time until the collards are very soft. This is what gives the greens that good flavor and takes away the bitter taste of collard greens.
Of course this recipe is not traditional as it does not contain any meat! It is only inspired by the dish I remember and uses vegan meat substitutes to emulate that smoky, sweet flavor!
Vegan Bacon Alternatives
I have yet to come across a vegan ham in the grocery store, so to give these collards that good smoky, sweet flavor I used vegan bacon strips.
Fun Fact! The LightLife fakin bacon is also the same vegan bacon Whole Foods uses to make their very delicious TTLA (tempeh, tomato, lettuce, avocado) deli sandwiches! If you’ve never had one, I really recommend it!
If you can’t find either of those pre-made vegan bacons in stores, I recommend making your own! I have a great vegan bacon bits recipe that is made with regular tempeh and a few pantry staples!
Using this homemade bacon is actually how my husband prefers this recipe, however using store-bought is obviously more convenient and requires less planning ahead!
Preparing Your Collards
To make this dish, preheat a tablespoon of oil in your instant pot.
Once hot, add in the minced garlic, bacon, maple syrup, vinegar and spices and sauté for 5 minutes.
Next add in the chopped collards and give it a good stir.
Add in about ½ cup of water and add the lid. Pressure cook on high, manual pressure for 5 minutes.
I love cooking these in the Instant Pot because the pressurized cooking really speeds up the cooking process. The result is soft, savory-sweet greens every time!
Note: There are several different sizes and types of Instant Pot these days. Depending on the size of yours, you may need to adjust the water this recipe calls for. It may also take more or less time to come to pressure.
The instructions for this recipe are based on the results received in this version of Instant Pot: 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo 7 in 1 Electric Pressure Cooker. I love this version and recommend it – you can usually snag them for under $100, but it is good to note that not all pots work the same and I unfortunately do not have another size to test this recipe in!
Once the Instant Pot has come to pressure and it has cooked for 5 minutes at high pressure, allow the pot to naturally release steam for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes of naturally releasing pressure, the screen should read L 05.
Finally, release the remaining pressure manually and serve!
These greens are really great and a lighter, healthier version to the well loved classic!
Even my husband who usually hates cooked greens LOVES these and eats them happily!
More Vegan Instant Pot Recipes
- Spicy Creamy Instant Pot Ramen
- Instant Pot Refried Beans (vegan, no soak)
- Healthy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Beer Braised Jackfruit Enchiladas
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Instant Pot Vegan Collard Greens
- 2 bunches collard greens - about 6-7 tightly packed cups
- ½ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 4 slices vegan bacon - chopped (brand recommendations in notes section)
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup - adjust to your preference
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil - substitute water if oil-free
- ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- Wash and remove the tough stems from your collard greens. Chop into bite size pieces.
- Chop your bacon strips into small squares.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to your Instant Pot and push the sauté button.
- Once hot, add in minced garlic, vegan bacon, maple syrup, white wine vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper, and pinch of red chili flakes. Sauté for 5 minutes while stirring frequently. If ingredients start to stick to bottom of pot, add in a splash of water.
- After 5 minutes, turn off Instant Pot by hitting the off button.
- Add in the collard greens and stir well to incorporate. This will prevent the vegan bacon from burning to the bottom.
- Add the lid to the Instant Pot. Make sure valve is switched to seal. Cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, allow pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes. Then, manually release rest of steam to depressurize the pot by carefully switching valve from seal to vent.
- Serve immediately.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
- Vegan store bought bacon options: Lightlife Fakin' Bacon Strips or Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon.
- If you can't find store bought vegan bacon, make your own using this Vegan Bacon Bits recipe.
- This recipe was made using a 6 QT instant pot. If you have a different size, you may need to alter the amount of water this recipe calls for and cooking times could differ. Larger pots take longer to come to pressure.
Note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.