Vegan Soul Kitchen: Recipe for Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

A vegan recipe with SOUL!
The seed for my new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine, was sown back in 2003 when I was asked to submit a recipe for a new book celebrating the growth of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in America. I dug deep to come up with a dish that had some Memphis Soul (my past) mixed with Brooklyn Boom-Bap (my present) finished off with a squeeze of Oakland Free-Range Funk (my soon-to-be future). I focused on the quintessential staple of African American cooking — collard greens — the consummate ambassador for what I imagined as my people’s cuisine.

Vegan Soul Kitchen could have easily been called Citrus Collards with Raisins: Recipes as Autobiography. The book is a succulent gumbo filled with accounts of my life, recipes and historical notes on what I broadly define as Afro-Diasporic cuisine. I peppered its pages with reinterpretations of popular dishes from my family’s history and my life’s trajectory. African American and Southern dishes enjoyed while growing up in Memphis, living in New Orleans and traveling throughout the South inspired the bulk of these recipes — with a vegan twist of course.

These recipes were composed with my desire to bring festive food back to the center of pleasurable community building and cultural celebration — with weekends, dinner parties, cookouts and special occasions in mind. I hope they help shift African American cuisine back to our home gardens and kitchens. So explore the food, words, images and music. It’s all a part of the experience. 

Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

This recipe was the seed of Vegan Soul Kitchen ... a brand new classic, if you will, dedicated to my home city in the mid-South: Memphis, Tennessee.

yield 4 servings

  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade*, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2⁄3 cup raisins
  • 1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

Remove the collards from the heat, drain and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain by gently pressing the greens against a colander.

In a medium-size sauté pan, combine the olive oil and the garlic and raise the heat to medium. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately. (This also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas.)

* The chiffonade cut is used to produce very fine threads of leafy fresh herbs as well as greens and other leafy vegetables. First, remove any tough stems that would prevent the leaf from being rolled tightly (keep them for stocks or salads). Next, stack several leaves, roll them widthwise into a tight cylinder, and slice crosswise with a sharp knife, cutting the leaves into thin strips.

Vegan Soul KitchenFrom the book Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong (, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2009.





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