Soul Food Bowls

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where soul food reigns supreme! Collard greens, cornbread, and the like were some of my parents and grandparents favorite dishes. Every fall, when the weather starts to cool a bit I crave the comfort food that graced our table as a child and these Soul Food Bowls hit the spot every single time.

2 bowls filled with brown rice, collard greens, roasted sweet potatoes, and pic de gallo are on a wooden table top. There is a small bowl of chipotle cashew cream and a pan of cornbread muffins on testable as well as linen napkins and a few forks.

These soul food bowls have it all – perfectly cooked brown rice,  Jammy Collard Greens that are just the right mix of tangy and sweet, smoky roasted sweet potatoes, and a chipotle laced cashew cream. These bowls are nothing but PURE comfort food from start to finish!

If I had to pick one element of these bowls that is my favorite it would have to be the collard greens. I am literally O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D with collards prepared this way and I can pretty much guarantee that you will be too once you try them. 

First things first, I should say that these are vegetarian collard greens and that they are NOT cooked with meat. I know that meat-laced collards are pretty much the way it’s done in the south, but when your married to a vegetarian you have to get creative and think out of the box. These collards are cooked in a brine of red wine vinegar, lots of garlic, cajun spices, a bit of sugar, and butter. They’re tender, tangy, sweet, and spicy all at the same time! Plus, thanks to the Instant Pot they only take about an hour to cook as opposed to 3-4 hours on the stove top. 

A handmade bowl filled with brown rice, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and pico de gallo is sitting on a wood table top with a fork and linen napkin next to it. 

I like to make a batch of these collards every few weeks in the cooler months of the year not only because they’re delicious, but also because they’re pretty inexpensive and can be used in ALL sorts of ways so no one gets tired of them. We make collard green melts which are basically a collard green stuffed grilled cheese, collard hash for hearty breakfasts, and we even pile them high on tostadas. Honestly, we have found no wrong way to enjoy these collard greens so far.

A bowl filled with brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, collard greens, and pico de gallo sits on top of a line napkin on a table top. There is a small bowl of chipotle cashew cream in the background as well as pan of cornbread muffins.

If you’ve made these Soul Food Bowls or any of the other recipes on our site, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you thought in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food, design, and decor.

A handmade bowl filled with brown rice, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and pico de gallo is sitting on a wood table top with a fork and linen napkin next to it.

Soul Food Bowls

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roasted and Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Soul Food


Whenever I make a big batch of Instant Pot Jammy Collard Greens I spend the next few days incorporating them into as many dishes I can, like my collard hash, tostadas, and these soul food bowls! 


For the chipotle cashew cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed

1 clove garlic

1 chipotle in adobo

juice of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 – 1 cup vegetable broth, more if needed

kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the smoky roasted sweet potatoes:

1 large sweet potato, cut into a large dice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

kosher salt and pepper to taste

To assemble the soul food bowls:

1 batch Instant Pot Jammy Collard Greens 

2 cups cooked brown rice

optional garnishes: pico de gallo, cilantro, thinly sliced peppers


Make the chipotle cashew cream:

Combine all of the ingredients in a high powdered blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. The cashew cream can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Make the smoky roasted sweet potatoes:

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and seasonings. Spread them into a single layer in the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender and starting to caramelize on the edges. 

To assemble the soul food bowls:

Place 1/2 cup brown rice in each of 4 bowls, divide the collard greens and sweet potatoes amongst the bowls. Top each bowl with a drizzle of cashew cream and desired garnishes. Serve immediately.  


Note: Prep and cook time does not reflect the amount of time it takes to cook the collards or the brown rice.

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Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.