Tomato Braised Collards with Sweet Potato tomato braised collards and sweet potatoes Sweet Savant

Southern food gets a bad rap as being unhealthy and full of fat…and some of it is, but vegetables have been the stars of many Southern kitchens. I think that vegetables  have been so important in the Southern U.S. because of the great weather for growing the crops but also because meat is incredibly expensive. Like many African American families in the South, my parents were sharecroppers tending to the farms of others, they had very little money to purchase meat. My Father’s family raised pigs and chickens but eating them wasn’t a daily occurrence. My Mom got chickens from the 4-H club but those chickens usually weren’t eaten until they stopped laying eggs. Those older, tougher birds made some delicious stew but they would only eat that once in a while.

Tomato Braised Collards with Sweet Potato tomato braised collards and sweet potatoes Sweet Savant

I called my Mom today to ask her about how she learned to cook vegetables. She told me that they grew most of their own vegetables when she was a kid. Collards, okra, squash and cucumbers were staples in her home. She said most of the vegetables they ate were overcooked and that she didn’t learn until much later that they could be cooked for shorter periods of time to retain texture.

They would get ham hocks and fat back from a small shop in town and cook their greens with them. Now believe me I LOVE to eat my greens like that, all smothered in meat, but not all the time. Most times I cook my greens without added meat for a more healthy meal. I have a few different ways to ramp up the flavor when I cook vegan or vegetarian  greens (usually collards or kale, sometimes turnip or mustard greens). I almost always start with caramelized onions cooked slowly in a neutral flavored oil, like canola. You can use olive oil if you like the stronger flavor. I add red peppers, sometimes hot ones sometimes sweet, depending on my mood. Garlic also adds a ton of flavor.

Simmering the greens in tomato and vegetable broth make the greens tender and add a savory richness to the dish. I use homemade broth when I can but I also keep a jar of better than boullion vegetableBetter Than Bouillon Vegetable Base in my refrigerator. A spoonful of that adds a flavor bomb to your meal without adding fat. It is fairly high in sodium so I don’t add any additional salt if I’m using this. (This is not a sponsored post, it’s what I really use). I saw that this brand was recommended by America’s Test Kitchen when they were comparing chicken broth so I tried their vegetable base and liked it.

I get my love of sweet potato from my Mom. She’ll roast a few of them at a time and keep them in the fridge so they’ll be ready to eat almost immediately, just heat and serve. Whenever i decide to go meatless I turn to sweet potatoes (like in this sweet potato steaks recipe) because they’re so flavorful and filling. I leave the skin on the sweet potatoes, it tastes good and it’s good for you. Many of the nutrients are found in the skin. The natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes is a great foil for the spicy red peppers in the greens. I cooked my sweet potato in the microwave for just about 7 minutes to soften. I let them cool off enough to handle then slice and sear them in a hot skillet.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Tomato Braised Collards with Sweet Potato

tomato braised collards and sweet potatoes Sweet Savant

#Vegan Tomato Braised Collards and Sweet Potato #Recipe

Demetra Overton
You will need a large covered dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot to cook the greens
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 bunches collard greens about two and a half to three pounds total
  • 1 large onion about one cup,sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small hot red pepper or 1 sweet red bell pepper or both (according to taste
  • 1 can diced tomato 14-15 ounce can
  • 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar start with 1 and add more at the end of cooking if you like
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable base plus 1/2 cup of water or 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 sweet potatoes about 12 ounces each


  • Wash the collard greens thoroughly, several times if necessary
  • Wash the sweet potatoes and prick each one 8 times with a fork
  • Cook the sweet potato in the microwave ( on a microwave safe plate) on high for 4 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 3-4 minutes until they are tender. Cooking times will vary depending on how thick the sweet potatoes are.
  • Let them cool enough to handle.
  • Remove the tough part of the stem
  • Stack the collard leaves and roll them up ( you may have to do this in batches) slice the collards into 1/2 inch lengths.
  • Slice the onion into 1/4 inch slices
  • In a large pot saute the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and brown.
  • Slice the pepper and cook with the onion for 5 minutes
  • Slice the garlic and stir into the onions, cook for about a minute or less
  • Add the sliced collard greens, tomato,1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and vegetable base and water (or vegetable broth) and stir
  • Cover and cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the lid and cook uncovered for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid in the pot. Add more red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time, if you like
  • Cut each sweet potato into quarters lengthwise
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a skillet and cook the sweet potato wedges until they are brown on each side
  • Serve 2 sweet potato wedges per person over collard greens

Tomato Braised Collards with Sweet Potato




30 Comments on Tomato Braised Collards with Sweet Potato

  1. David Miller
    April 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm (9 years ago)

    Beautiful recipe – Perfect for the start of Spring. I look forward to making this..thanks for sharing healthy recipe.

  2. Shannon Gurnee
    April 23, 2015 at 5:19 am (9 years ago)

    I hadn’t heard of tomato braised collards, but it sounds like an interesting food. They really do look amazing!

  3. Carly Anderson
    April 19, 2015 at 3:36 am (9 years ago)

    Oh my gosh, this looks amazing! The colors are stunning!

  4. Amanda
    April 18, 2015 at 9:19 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks and sounds so yummy! Pinning this for later!

  5. Camesha
    April 18, 2015 at 5:39 am (9 years ago)

    I have on thing to say to you… YES, please! This sounds delicious!!! Pinning for later.

  6. Marina John
    April 18, 2015 at 3:13 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, this looks yummy! I’ve never tried to make anything similiar to this before. What a great new dish to try!

  7. Chrissy
    April 18, 2015 at 1:06 am (9 years ago)

    Oh yum! That looks absolutely delicious. Sweet potatoes are a huge hit in my house!

  8. Chrystal @ YUM eating
    April 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm (9 years ago)

    Better than Bullion is my favorite. If I run out of homemade stock this is the one I go to. I am also a huge fan of collard greens. I grew up in the south where it was common. Its not so common up where I am not.

  9. Kim
    April 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks absolutely divine and a great option for meatless Mondays! #BLMgIRLS

  10. Rothesia
    April 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks delicious! I love collard greens and sweet potato. Thank you for sharing. #BLMGirl

  11. Ann Bacciaglia
    April 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks so delicious i love sweet potatoes. I will definitely be trying this recipe this weekend.

  12. Christie
    April 17, 2015 at 11:56 am (9 years ago)

    This looks so amazing! I would love to try the seared sweet potato

  13. Ronni
    April 17, 2015 at 11:44 am (9 years ago)

    We’ve actually used Better Than Bouillon before. It’s a great product! And this is certainly a new idea for sweet potatoes I’d like to try!

  14. Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    April 17, 2015 at 8:16 am (9 years ago)

    Don’t know that I have ever heard of Better Than Bouillon before, but it looks interesting. It really makes your recipe sound intriguing to me!

  15. Nina Say
    April 17, 2015 at 6:14 am (9 years ago)

    This looks absolutely delicious! The colors just pop, wonderful photos!

  16. Crystal
    April 17, 2015 at 4:31 am (9 years ago)

    Sweet potatoes are a favorite of mine. I need to make some in advance like your mom so I have them on hand. But first, I must try this delicious recipe.

  17. Marcie W.
    April 17, 2015 at 12:02 am (9 years ago)

    I really like the idea of this unique flavor combination. I usually use bacon in my greens but will have to try this recipe, especially since my mother in law is a vegetarian,

  18. Liz Mays
    April 16, 2015 at 10:07 pm (9 years ago)

    That looks so hearty and delicious. I’d love to make this to go along with grilled food.

  19. Jeanine
    April 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm (9 years ago)

    Yum! Looks really really great! I don’t eat things like this yet, but am going to start. I’m so picky, but the fact it looks so good makes me eager to try!

  20. Catherine S
    April 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks really yummy. A friend of mine is always telling me how much she likes Better Than Bouillon. I need to pick some up and try this recipe.

  21. Pam
    April 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm (9 years ago)

    My daughter would be all over this recipe. She loves anything with sweet potatoes.

  22. Rachelle
    April 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh these look amazing! I’m going to make these for my family soon!

  23. Rachelle J
    April 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh my goodness those look amazing! I’m going to have to make these for my family one night!

  24. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    April 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve never seen such a wonderful meatless meal! I love collards and sweet potatoes already, and this is a great way to pair them up.

  25. Mitch
    April 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm (9 years ago)

    What an interesting combination of foods! All I know is, we love sweet potatoes cooked any way!

  26. Lindsey @ Redhead Baby Mama
    April 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm (9 years ago)

    ooooooh yes. Preggo is loving tomatoes, so those collards sound amazing! Maybe I can get my husband to cook them up for me!

  27. Debra
    April 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm (9 years ago)

    I love all the Better than Bouillon varieties. I think they add much richer flavor than the traditional cubes! This looks delish – a great side dish for a meal.

    • Catherine S
      April 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm (9 years ago)

      It does look really good. I have heard a lot of great things about Better Than Bouillon.

  28. Brandy
    April 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm (9 years ago)

    I cannot do this recipe. I am not a sweet potato nor tomatoe person but I do appreciate a recipe idea to share with my friends who love such ideas. It looks delicious, for sure, I may be persuaded to at least try this.


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