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Spicy Andouille Sausage and Collard Greens Soup

My Southern Grandma Inez grows collard greens in her garden and cooks them in batches to freeze. We never saw them in anything she prepared us, perhaps because hearty greens are a hard sell for kids. I didn’t appreciate how flavorful and tender they could be until I was an adult—especially paired with spicy andouille sausage.

Prep time 25 minutes
Serves 6

1 tablespoon avocado oil
12 ounces (340 g) andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
11/2 cup (240 g) chopped sweet onion
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
11/2 teaspoons Cajun Spice Blend
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce (425 g) can diced tomatoes
3 large collard leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 quarts (1.9 liters) Simple Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut aminos
2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
Hot sauce, for serving

1 Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the sausage and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown in spots. Transfer the sausage to a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker.
2 Add the onion, celery, green pepper, Cajun seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent, then transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker.
3 Add the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, bay leaf, garlic, tomatoes, collard greens, chicken stock, coconut aminos, and vinegar.
4 Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
5 Taste and add more salt and vinegar if necessary.
6 Serve with hot sauce.