Nearly seven years ago, I developed my recipe for Sukuma Wiki, a Kenyan braised collard greens and ground beef recipe, and it’s been a favorite ever since. I put it in my first book, The Ancestral Table, and it’s often the dish I point to in the book when someone asks where they should start cooking. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and uses very affordable ingredients — and tastes great, too.
When writing The Heritage Cookbook, I knew that I wanted to include this dish to represent Eastern African cookery, but wanted to go back to the drawing board in terms of honoring the traditional preparation of this dish. What I came up with is a flavor provide very similar to my original recipe, but meat-free, and with nice meaty hunks of tomatoes to replicate those missing chunks of ground beef. Red onion also mellowed out the dish some compared to a white or yellow onion, which helped to balance everything just right.
Sukuma Wiki (Sautéed Seasoned Greens) - Meat free version (Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo, Keto, Vegan)
2 tbsp coconut oil or red palm oil
½ red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot chili pepper (habanero, serrano, jalapeno, or other), minced
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ tsp salt, more to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground fennel seeds
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 lb collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 1” thick ribbons
¼ cup water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock
lemon wedges to serve
1. Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion; saute until the onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and chile pepper and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and spices; saute until the tomatoes are softened, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the collards and water; bring to a simmer and saute until the greens are bright green, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt, then serve with lemon wedges.
*** The most time-consuming aspect of this dish is to make the spice blend. To save time, you can do what we do: make a big batch of the spice blend (say, 16x the amount listed above), then store it in a mason jar for easy access.
31 thoughts on “Sukuma Wiki (Sautéed Seasoned Greens) – Meat free version”
Fennel *leaves,* not fennel *seeds*? Does fennel have leaves? Thank you!!
Good catch, it should be seeds. I’ve just edited the recipe, thanks for the note!
Interesting recipes. I have never tried them before. So bookmarking to enjoy something so different. Btw, fennel does have leaves and are used in certain countries like India. They are extremely fragrant leaves
Hands Down, I loved eating this.Thanks for giving out this recipe