This will be the best Collard Greens Recipe you've ever had! They're full of smoky meaty flavor, and seasoned to perfection. You may find yourself drinking the pot-liquor straight out of the bowl when you're done!
You cannot speak soul food without including collard greens into the mix! Greens are a true Southern staple. They are very inexpensive to make, and are definitely versatile.
Table of contents
- When to make greens:
- Where did this greens recipe come from?
- Are collard greens hard to make?
- What do collard greens taste like?
- Pro-tip to achieving the BEST flavor:
- What kind of greens are used for this recipe:
- If your store has the precut packaged greens available GET THEM!
- How to prepare the collard greens recipe:
- What should I serve with these greens?
- How to make the collard greens vegetarian:
Dress em' up however you like, add as little or as much seasoning, sauté or boil them... they are truly an amazingly delicious vegetable.
When to make greens:
These are an amazing dish to cook-up for potlucks, get togethers, or just a Sunday dinner.
You will find them in the heart of the kitchen of many southern homes during the holidays though. Namely, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years!
Where did this greens recipe come from?
So basically, after many years of shadowing my elders in the kitchen, I mastered and perfected my Southern Collard Greens. The recipe for these greens have been tried, tested, and tasted by SO MANY friends, family members, and strangers!
We have a tradition over here that we like to call "Big Plate Sunday." It came about because my Mother-in-Love likes to cook-up big meals on Sunday's. When big meals are made, you already know the family is going to congregate, eat, laugh, and love on one another.
Are collard greens hard to make?
Greens are not hard to make. They are actually quite simple to make. However, the key to good greens is the "low and slow" method, and the seasonings. I have heard of people that cook their greens in the slow cooker, which is an amazing idea!
Seasoning is definitely a must for this recipe. So you will see that there seems to be an abundance of it, but that is intentional.
What do collard greens taste like?
If greens are not cleaned, cooked, and seasoned properly, they will have a very "earthy" and bitter flavor. You will see that this recipe calls for a double wash of this green leafy veggie.
This is to ensure any grit and grime are washed off, and the greens are thoroughly cleaned. Also, take note of the addition of sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
Pro-tip to achieving the BEST flavor:
You may see the addition of the sugar, cinnamon, and butter and think twice; but not so fast! Those seasonings add the most delicious, deep, and tantalizing flavor to these greens.
Just go with it, I promise it adds a whole different dimension and depth to the greens- that you didn't know you needed until now!
What kind of greens are used for this recipe:
For this particular recipe we used collard and mustard greens. One thing to remember though, there are several types of greens that can be used, which include:
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Yes, Kale! I have heard of people adding kale to their greens. Now, that's not a traditional green used in this Southern recipe, but I'm sure it tastes great! Since we added actual diced turnips to ours, we went with mustard greens instead of turnip greens.
Alternative cooking method for the greens:
Instead of boiling them on the stove top, you can use your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. I have used mine before, and it cuts the cooking time in half.
You can also boil the meat until it is tender, then add the greens and all of the other veggies and seasonings into your slow cooker or crock pot to cook while you are away.
If your store has the precut packaged greens available GET THEM!
These precut greens have not always been around, but they are a time saver for sure! Even if you are using the pre-packaged greens, you should still wash them off thoroughly.
Rinse them under water for a couple minutes in a colander, then transfer them to a large bowl to soak in water. This helps get off any remaining debris. After they soak, rinse them one more time. I promise you can NEVER over clean your vegetables!
How to prepare the collard greens recipe:
Add water to a large stock pot to boil your meat. Once the meat is rinsed, add it into the pot and add just enough water to cover the meat.
While the meat is cooking, cut the stalks out of greens, leaving only the green leafy part. Wash the greens thoroughly with luke warm water. Roll the greens up and slice them about ½ an inch thick. Place the chopped greens in a large bowl, and cover with water to soak out any remaining debris.
Next, Peel your turnip, just taking off the outer layer of skin. Dice it up into little tiny cubes. Chop and dice all of the additional vegetables now, and set them aside
Once the meat is tender enough to where it is falling off of the bone, remove it from the water and set it aside to cool. Skim any additional fat that may be remaining on top of the water.
Place all of the greens and veggies into the pot with the water the meat cooked in. You may need to add more water as the greens cook, just eyeball them- I like to have enough liquid that the greens are swimming! This becomes that delicious pot-liquor that we know and love.
Once meat has cooled, take it off the bones and add it back to the pot. Add all of the seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically. The greens will shrink down and become fork tender.
Now is a great time to add your pads of butter, YES BUTTER! Taste the greens to ensure they are flavored to your liking.
Do not be afraid to add more seasoning. Remember, this is a large pot of greens, with a lot of water, so adding seasoning is very necessary!
What should I serve with these greens?
Serve these southern greens with:
They are so full of meat and flavor that they could definitely be a meal all by themselves! Serve them up with a side of these Honey Butter Cornbread Muffins too.
How to make the collard greens vegetarian:
If you are not into adding the meat- you can definitely omit it! Follow all the steps above, but add the greens directly to the pot of water instead of the meat.
To add the nice smoky flavor that the neck bones or ham hocks give, add about one tablespoon of liquid smoke directly into the pot. Even better though, my friend over at The Hungry Hutch has an awesome vegetarian recipe for Southern Greens!
- 1 package Smoked ham hocks or neck bones , Optional
- 2 bunches Collard Greens (should be at least 4 cups when chopped)
- 2 bunches Mustard Greens (should be at least 4 cups when chopped)
- 2 Turnips, Skin removed, diced
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Jalapeño, Ribs and seeds removed, diced
Seasoning (to taste):
- 4 tablespoons Seasoning salt
- 2 tablespoon Garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- ½ cup Apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- Rinse the ham-hocks or neck-bones thoroughly to try and remove any griminess off of them. Place them in a large stock pot and cover them with water. Boil on medium high for 1-2 hours, skimming any fat from the water when needed.
- While meat is cooking, cut the stalks out of greens, leaving only the green leafy part. Wash the greens thoroughly with warm water. Roll the greens up and slice them about ½ an inch thick. Place the chopped greens in a large bowl, and cover with water to soak out any remaining debris.
- Chop and dice all of the additional vegetables, and set them to the side.
- Once the meat is tender (fall off of the bone), remove it from the water and set aside to cool. Skim any additional fat that may be remaining on top of the water.
- Place all of the greens and veggies into the pot with the water the meat cooked in. If there is not much cooking liquid left, add an additional 2-3 cups of water into the pot (water does not have to cover the greens, as they will wilt down).
- Once the meat has cooled, take it off the bones and add it back to the pot. Add all of the seasoning, the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, and butter.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically. The greens will shrink down and become fork tender and they are ready to serve!
Use pre-shredded and bagged greens if available at your store. I still recommend washing the greens thoroughly prior to adding to the pot
If omitting meat, simply add veggies & seasoning to stock pot, cover with water and simmer.
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Serving Size:6 people
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
This website provides approximate nutrition information as a courtesy and for convenience only.