These Southern style collard greens are simmered with bacon and seasonings until tender and flavorful. A simple yet satisfying side dish that pairs perfectly with proteins such as chicken, beef and pork.
Collard greens are often overlooked at the grocery store, but if you haven’t tried these greens, you’re missing out! They have tons of great flavor, especially when you pair them with bacon.
What are collard greens?
Collard greens are a leafy vegetable that is commonly eaten in the Southern United States. This veggie features large dark green leaves attached to tough stems. Collards have similar properties to kale, turnip greens and mustard greens in that they’re all sturdy greens with a bit of a bitter kick. This type of green is best enjoyed when slow cooked, as the leaves are tough when raw.
How do you make collard greens?
Clean your greens well in cold water, making sure any dirt or grit is removed. Cut the woody stem out of each piece, then roughly chop the leaves. Cook diced bacon until crispy, then remove half the bacon to use as garnish. Add onion and garlic to the bacon grease in the pan, and cook until tender. Place the greens in the pot, along with chicken broth and seasonings. Simmer until the greens are very tender. Stir in the hot sauce and vinegar, then garnish with reserved bacon and serve.
Tips for the perfect dish
- The greens can be cleaned and prepped up to three days before you plan to use them. You can also buy a bag of pre-prepared greens to save some time.
- This dish stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe as the greens will be watery when thawed.
- I recommend serving your greens with cornbread on the side for optimal enjoyment.
While I love this dish as written, there are many ways to change up the flavor to customize it to your tastes.
- Meat: Instead of bacon, try another smoky meat such as ham hocks, diced ham steak or smoked turkey wings. If you use ham hocks or smoked turkey wings, you’ll want to simmer them until tender before you add them to the greens. Be sure to cut the meat off the bones after they’ve simmered and stir it into the finished dish.
- Greens: While collards are the traditional choice, this recipe also works with other varieties of greens such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens or dandelion greens. You can even use a combination of different types of greens.
Are collard greens healthy?
Greens contain many nutritional properties and are a great addition to any healthy diet. This veggie is full of calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as iron, magnesium and niacin. In their natural state, collard greens are low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, yet high in fiber. This particular dish calls for bacon, which makes the greens a little less healthy. If you’re looking to save on calories, you can cut the amount of bacon in the recipe by half.
Give these greens a try, it’s the best way to eat your veggies and enjoy them too!
More side dishes you’ll enjoy
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Green Beans
- Maple Sweet Potatoes
Collard greens video
Collard Greens with Bacon
- 6 slices bacon coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound collard greens cleaned, stems removed, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Place the bacon in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until crisp. Remove half the bacon from the pan and reserve for later use.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, then cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the greens to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until greens are tender. Uncover and stir in the hot sauce and vinegar. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with reserved bacon, then serve immediately.