When I was growing up in a little house in the suburbs with a large backyard garden,
my assigned chore was picking the greens my father so lovingly planted and tended.
Most of the time, Dad planted mustard greens, turnip greens and collard greens.
Sometimes they flourished and other times they did not.
But every year some of the plants made it through the storm despite the birds, worms,
squirrels and other natural predators in our backyard.
I was also in charge of washing the greens.
Once they were clean, Mom like to cook up a pot of mixed greens–and my were they
ham hocks or fat back.
She even kept a can of bacon drippings on the stove to add a bit more fat and flavor.
Mom’s mixed greens were boiled in a big pot of water for at least hour until they were
melt in your mouth soft.
Don’t get me wrong–I loved my mother and appreciated every morsel she lovingly
prepared for us.
But when I grew up and became a self-determining adult, I learned to prepare food
my own way!
Fast forward to the present, and Mom’s daughter cooks her greens a little differently.
No dried, smoked or fried pork fat for me.
Nowadays, I buy organic greens from my local farmer’s market–since I live in an urban
apartment without a backyard.
I prepare my fresh, organic greens with a little organic coconut, toasted sesame or olive oil,
herbs, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and filtered water–vegan style.
Sometimes I replace Mom’s smoked pork with some smokey baked tofu or tempeh.
I quickly saute the vegetables for a few minutes and turn them off while they are still bright
green, al dente and chewy!
My family accuses me of undercooking my greens–but I like them just the way they are.
And they definitely don’t consider tofu cubes a proper replacement for their beloved soul
food style greens with pork parts.
That’s my life–vegan style!
Not My Momma’s Mixed Greens, Vegan Style
1 large bunch organic collard greens – washed and sliced into thin strips
1 bunch organic kale – washed and sliced into thin strips
1 bunch organic turnip greens – washed and torn
1 onion – chopped
4 cloves garlic – sliced
2 portabello mushrooms – sliced and cubed
4 slices baked, marinated tofu – I used Fresh Tofu Inc. Organic Baked Tofu
5 organic scallions – chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon Spike or other salt-free veggie seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Celtic or Himalyan Sea Salt, to taste
A tablespoon of Braggs Liquid Aminos
1-2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil – optional if you don’t use oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil – optional if you don’t use oil
Wash, slice and prepare collard greens, kale and turnip greens.
Peel and chop the onions, garlic and scallions.
Wash and slice the portabello mushrooms.
Slice and cube the baked marinated tofu.
Saute chopped portabello mushrooms, tofu, onions, scallions and garlic in coconut oil
on medium heat for a few minutes.
If you don’t use oil, simply saute in a little organic vegetable broth or filtered water.
Add the collards, mustard greens and kale to the pot–you can substitute other greens
if these are not available.
Turn up the heat and toss the greens rapidly to wilt the leaves.
Turn the heat down to simmer and allow the greens to cook in their own juices for 4 minutes.
Once the greens are wilted drizzle a little toasted sesame oil over the greens.
Then sprinkle seasonings onto the greens and stir.
After 2 minutes, check the greens and stir them again.
Do not to overcook them.
Turn off the flame, cover and allow to the mixed greens to sit for a minute.
Taste test and adjust seasoning as needed.
Sprinkle more fresh chopped scallions into the pot of greens once they are done
and toss them with the cooked greens.
If you like more spice, sprinkle a little more dried red pepper flakes on the greens
once they are done.
Serve and enjoy with the rest of your meal.
I usually serve my mixed greens with brown rice or quinoa, beans, roasted winter squash
or sweet potatoes.
Now that is a delectable “mess of greens”– as my Auntie would say.
Which greens do you like to cook?
How do you prepare and season your mixed greens?
Share your suggestions, thoughts and comments with us.