A fantastic way to eat more greens!
This Cheezy ('Cheesy') Collard Greens recipe is a really fantastic way to eat more greens! 🥬
Remembering to eat enough greens can be a struggle for some (including myself!). But, eating dairy-based cheese can be the opposite! It can certainly be a struggle for many people to eat less cheese! So, I found the perfect way to enjoy a delicious & healthy oil-free, dairy-free cheese sauce while getting the wonderful health benefits of these green leafy veggies. That's how this whole food plant-based (WFPB) cheezy ('cheesy') collard greens recipe was born! 😁
I chose collard greens for this recipe because they are sturdy enough to keep their texture during cooking. This hardier green works well when topped with the creamy 'cheese' sauce. I haven't tried other greens for this recipe yet simply because the collard green version is so very good! 😋 I would imagine cooked broccoli, brussels sprouts, or kale might work well with this sauce, too. 🥬
The cheezy 'cheese' sauce in this recipe is very creamy and cheese-like, yet light. It also has a mild spicy kick from the sriracha that bumps the flavor up just right. I also love that this is such a quick & easy recipe. It only takes about 15 minutes to pull together! ⏰
Mise en place
The mise en place for this recipe is quite simple. Feel free to add each of the sauce ingredients straight into your blender. I typically start with the larger quantity liquid ingredient first, which in this case is unsweetened soy milk. After that, I add the oats and nutritional yeast followed by the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. To bump up and round out the flavor, this sauce recipe is made complete with the addition of lemon juice, sriracha, and optional pine nuts.
The 16 oz bag of collard greens, if purchased pre-chopped and pre-washed, couldn't be easier. When you're ready to cook them, just cut the bag open, pour them into the saute pan, and begin!
Blending the cheeze ('cheese') sauce
Making this sauce is just so simple! After adding all of the ingredients to the high-speed blender, simply blend away! I do recommend a high-speed blender to get the smoothest texture and to allow the sauce to warm up a bit during blending. However, a regular blender might work ok with this recipe.
If using a regular blender, I'd be sure to blend it very well until it's really nice and smooth and creamy. You may also want to heat the sauce up a bit in a saucepan before pouring it over the greens. Or, add the sauce to the greens sooner, when the greens are only partially cooked down, and allow the sauce to heat in the pan along with the greens.
Once the sauce is blended, keep it in the blender but set it aside for now.
Cook the greens in a saute pan
To cook the greens, add them to a pre-heated saute pan on medium heat. I typically use a 12-inch non-stick saute pan for this recipe because it makes clean-up so easy. However, a stainless steel saute pan could work well, too. You just may need to add a little vegetable broth (a tablespoon or so) to the collards as they're cooking, to prevent them from sticking.
At first, it will look like you have way too many greens for the 12-inch pan. However, as the greens cook down, you'll see it's just the right amount.
I add just a pinch of salt when beginning to cook the greens as it bumps the flavor up just a bit while helping the greens to release their liquid during the cooking process.
Use tongs to continue tossing the greens as they cook
It's helpful to use tongs to continue tossing the greens as they cook. This helps the greens to cook more evenly. You'll notice the color of the greens becoming more bright as they cook down as well. Once the greens are nearly cooked down to your liking, blend your sauce in your high-speed blender for about a minute more to be sure it's nicely heated up and pourable.
Pour your cheezy sauce over the greens
Oh, man...this is my favorite part! 😁 Once the greens are cooked down to your liking, you get to pour your cheezy sauce over the greens. Then, mix the sauce into the greens using your tongs. I typically use up most of the sauce when I do this because, for this recipe, I really like slathering the greens in the 'cheese' sauce. However, you may prefer to go lighter with the sauce. It's totally up to you!
Once the greens are slathered as much as you'd like, it's time to serve! 😁
The texture of the greens will be best when served immediately. However, storing them in the refrigerator & reheating them later would likely be ok, too. Honestly, these cheezy greens have never lasted in our house to be placed in the refrigerator. They've always been eaten up right away! If you would like to store them & reheat them later, I'd think they should last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Cheezy ('Cheesy') Collard Greens
- high-speed blender
- 12-inch saute pan (non-stick preferred)
- 1 16 oz bag of pre-chopped & pre-washed collard greens 16 oz is about 8 cups
- 1 pinch sea salt to taste
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup nutritional yeast seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp sriracha
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts optional
Make the Sauce
- Add all of the sauce ingredients to a high-speed blender in the order listed.
- Blend well until smooth and warmed (about 3 minutes). Keep in blender but set aside.
Cook the Greens
- Heat your non-stick saute pan to medium and pour the greens into the pan. The greens will seem to be overflowing the pan at first but they will cook down to fit nicely.
- Cook the greens down, using tongs to periodically shift them around for even cooking. This will likely take about 5-8 minutes. Cook the greens to the texture of your liking.
Briefly blend the sauce again
- Briefly blend the sauce again (about a minute or so) to make sure it's nicely warmed and pourable.
Pour the sauce over the greens
- Pour the sauce over the greens and stir together with your tongs until the greens are well coated. I like to use most of the sauce on the greens to make them extra cheezy but feel free to use less sauce if you prefer.
Best to serve immediately
- It's best to serve these cheesy greens immediately but they may last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stove top or in the microwave, if needed.
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