Food & Drink

Coconut-Braised Collards

Caribbean flavors accent this Southern standby

Photo: Cybelle Codish

“Growing up, I was always served collards prepared the same way: some kind of pork and stock, with maybe a tomato, some onions, and always cooked until they were dark olive-green,” writes Von Diaz in her new cookbook, Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South. “I love collards and, like all other greens, want them to be a bright color and have some texture. This quick, simple recipe highlights that strong collard funkiness and tastes deceptively rich for a vegetarian dish.”


    • 1 large bunch collards, rinsed well in several changes of water

    • 1 bunch scallions

    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

    • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

    • 1½ cups coconut milk, homemade or canned

    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

    • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste

    • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut off the bottoms of the collard stalks, then coarsely chop the leaves and stems and set aside.

  2. Cut off the bottoms of the scallions, then thinly slice the whites and greens.

  3. Melt the butter with the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and sauté for 1 minute.

  4. Add greens and sauté for another minute, stirring well to incorporate, then add the coconut milk and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.

  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the collards reach your desired doneness—7 to 10 minutes, or longer if you like your greens more tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

From Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South by Von Diaz. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the University Press of Florida.