← Back to Search Results
braising Soul Food, Southern
Empress’s Zulu Greens Recipe-13707

Photo by:
Comments: 0


While most greens recipes have some kind of smoked meat for flavoring, Empress Akweke, a committed vegetarian, enhances hers with loads of fresh vegetables, giving the dish a lovely light quality that makes it a perfect side dish.

“Collard greens were such a staple in our family that my father used to eat them for breakfast,” says Empress Akweke. “After eating them for the greater part of my life, I decided to cook them in different ways. I was talking to a friend of mine—his name is Shaka Zulu—and he asked me to make a special collard green for his birthday. And I’m thinking to myself, what can I do to make these collard greens really different. I’m thinking about Zulus, I’m thinking about Shaka Zulu, the warrior, and what I know about his history … and I’m thinking about the taste of the greens. Finally I was able to come up with this really immaculate taste-they’re made with lots of hot pepper.”

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 pounds collard greens
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium Russet potato, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 fresh hot chile peppers, such as jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1½ tablespoons Vege-Sal (available at natural foods groceries)
  • Cider vinegar, for sprinkling


1. In a large sink of lukewarm water, agitate the collard greens well to remove any hidden grit. Carefully lift the greens out of the water and transfer them to a colander, leaving the grit on the bottom of the sink. Repeat the procedure in a sink of fresh water. Cut off the woody stems, and chop them crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Coarsely chop the collard leaves.

2. Heat the oil in a 5-quart saucepan or soup kettle. Add the carrots, onions, potato celery, ginger, chile peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chopped stems and the water; bring to a boil. Add a batch of collard leaves, cover and let them wilt, about 5 minutes; stir the greens down. Continue to add the greens in batches until they all fit into the pot.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until all the vegetables are just tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the Vege-Sal, cover tightly, and remove from the heat; let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with vinegar on the side, for each guest to season his or her own serving.

© 1991 Eric V. Copage

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

This recipe serves 8.

135kcal (7%)
280mg (28%)
67mg (112%)
944mcg RAE (31%)
0mg (0%)
1387mg (58%)
0g (2%)
4g (7%)
1mg (4%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.

Discover Related Recipes

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
jacques-torres-a-year-in-chocolate-80-recipes-for-holidays-and-special-occasions Jacques Torres' A Year in C...
by Judith Choate, Jacques Torres
urban-italian-simple-recipes-and-true-stories-from-a-life-in-food Urban Italian: Simple Recip...
by Andrew Carmellini
down-home-with-the-neelys-a-southern-family-cookbook Down Home with the Neelys: ...
by Gina Neely, Pat Neely
cooking-for-friends Cooking for Friends
by Gordon Ramsay
daves-dinners-a-fresh-approach-to-home-cooked-meals Dave's Dinners: A Fresh App...
by Dave Lieberman
the-gourmet-cookbook The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
usa-cookbook U.S.A. Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins
unforgettable-desserts Unforgettable Desserts
by Dede Wilson
cook-with-jamie Cook with Jamie
by Jamie Oliver
rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?