Greens with Tomatoes ~ Sukuma Wiki

These greens with tomatoes, or sukuma wiki, are a healthy, inexpensive side dish made from sturdy greens stewed in spiced tomatoes and sauteed onions.

A ceramic bowl filled with greens with tomatoes, or sukuma wiki.

These well-seasoned greens known are similar to collards, which are popular in the American South with their fragrant potlikker, and are a reminder of the undeniably deep threads that tie together African and African American cooking. Sukuma wiki means “to stretch the week”—in other words, using these greens, which are affordable and readily available, can help stretch any meal a bit further. Greens are a staple in Kenyan cooking and in most East African cooking in general. Serve this dish with rice for a traditional, healthy, and completely vegan meal.–Hawa Hassan & Julia Turshen

Greens with Tomatoes ~ Sukuma Wiki

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 4
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In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, cumin, coriander, and turmeric and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, greens, a large pinch of salt (about 1/2 teaspoons), and water. Stir well to combine.

Tester tip: If your pot seems quite full if not overflowing, making things difficult to stir, simply cram the greens in the pot, pop the lid on, and let the greens wilt for a minute or two before attempting to stir

Cover and simmer, until the greens are very tender and soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Tester tip: If your greens are of the exceptionally sturdy sort, such as kale and collards, you may need to let them cook a little longer, say 5 to 10 minutes more than something a little more delicate like Swiss chard. Conversely, if you prefer your greens sorta chewy, reduce the cook time to 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, season the greens to taste with salt, and serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and rewarmed in a heavy pot over low heat, stirring occasionally.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

So few ingredients and so little time, yet these are absolutely delicious. The question becomes why not make these?! They are beautiful and go with any meal--fancy or casual. I see these fitting right in on the Thanksgiving table, at a potluck, or the next time you have pulled pork. All of the acid from the tomatoes gets cooked out, and you're left with sweet, stewed gems littered among the tender collards.

I used collards. I used a large Dutch oven, but couldn't stir without everything falling out. I put the top on for 2 minutes to wilt everything and was able to stir.

After cooking for 15 minutes, I checked the greens and they were al dente. Coming from the South, they'd be considered underdone. I put the lid on for 5 more minutes and the texture was perfect.

I could see it being 4 to 6 servings because not everyone wants a huge bowl of greens (I do, but I feel like that's not as common). I served this with coconut rice—great combo. I also think chicken tossed in curry powder would be a nice topping, too.

It called for a large pinch of salt, so I added 1/2 teaspoon and it was perfect. I didn't add more salt at the end.

Like many home cooks, I've been using the last several months to go beyond my comfort zone and explore new ingredients I normally wouldn't enjoy during normal times. For me, that ingredient is collard greens. They received a bad rap inside my home when I was growing up, though I blame that on poor cooking methods and less-than-stellar meals at Cracker Barrel. Lately, though, I've been exploring new ways to cook with it due to an abundance of them popping up at my local farmers market. What better way to truly experience its versatility than with this healthy, hearty, transformative recipe loaded with staples available in my pantry?

If you've been hesitant to eat more collards, trust me when I say that this dish will completely change your mind. Unlike the long cook time these leafy greens usually "need" to simmer, this dish went from prep to the dinner table in less than an hour. This is enough time to transform them from tough and bitter to sautéed and delicious. It also paired nicely with some citrusy acidic, the sweet tomatoes, and some earthy spiced pops from the turmeric and coriander.

While I ate more than my fair share for dinner, I can't wait to use the rest in a stir-fry for lunch this week.

There are a few small revisions I'd like to emphasize with this recipe. Instead of coarsely chopping my greens, I julienned them into inch-wide strips for easier eating. I'd also recommend lowering the heat to low after adding the tomatoes and greens. Perhaps it was the vessel I was using to braise my greens (a heavier sauté pan), but the heat ended up caramelizing the tomato juices to the point of slightly burning my cookware. Both of these are nothing I can't fix during my next go-around making this recipe — which, to be completely honest, will probably be in a few days when I grab a lot more collards from my market.

I used red onion instead of white because that’s all I had on hand. I also used lime juice instead of lemon because that’s what I had on hand.


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