Southern Collard Greens 🥬 - A quintessential Southern food usually braised with chunks of smoked ham hocks, crispy bacon, and cured pork belly (tasso).
One of the most popular recipes in New Orleans, This hearty and Meaty Collard Green Recipe from Southern Louisiana is tasty, filling, and packed with nutrients.
Top with crumbled Buttermilk cornbread and serve it just like the Southerns do.
A crawfish boil or a Fried Chicken is totally incomplete without a helping of southern Louisiana collard greens.
As a child I remember my Grandmother cooking collard greens.
She used to fry the collards and that would infuse so much flavor and depth of taste to the greens.
I'm sure this recipe for collard greens will remind you of that original southern collard green.
She would always make it with her secret seasonings and ham hocks.
This vegetable is no longer just a Southern staple. Collards are great in soups, salads and as a side dish. Their flavor pairs well with many types of meat.
Hearty and Meaty Side dish 🥗
A popular meat substitute for vegetarians, Collard greens are the staple of Southern cooking.
Always a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table, This festive season has all been about roasted turkey and Collard.
And that’s where the collard greens come in!
- Hearty and Meaty Side dish 🥗
- What exactly are Collard Greens?
- How do you eat Collard Greens?
- How do you wash Collard Greens?
- So here is how you wash collard greens
- How long will collard greens last in the refrigerator?
- How to make collard greens?
- Why do you put vinegar in Collard Greens?
- Variations you can try with collard greens!
- Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
- How to store collard greens?
- Tips to make collard greens even better!
- Common questions
- Southern Louisiana Collard Greens Recipe "Hearty and Meaty"
What exactly are Collard Greens?
Basically, Its a green leafy vegetable with with large leaves and tough stems. Now you may ask Is Collard Green Same as Kale?
Although both look alike since they are from the family of cabbage. To be more specific in the species - Brassica oleracea.
BUT, there are a few differences between collard and kale.
Collard is low in calories and higher in fiber as well as protein when compared with kale.
Does Kale tastes like Collard Greens? No. Kale is lightly bitter-ish when compared to collard greens.
Are Collard Greens healthy? As per WebMD Just like Cabbage, Kale, and Broccoli Collard Green is a healthy source of Vitamin K.
Besides that, Collard Greens are a healthy source of Dietary Fiber, Lowers Cholesterol Levels, and Brings in Good Bacteria in your diet.
How do you eat Collard Greens?
Collard Green is such a nutritious veggie that you can actually eat your collard greens raw.
Many people wonder if they can eat their collard greens raw. Yes. They are more nutritious if eat raw.
However, they might taste leafy and dry. So, we prefer to cook collard greens and then eat them.
You can enjoy your collard greens with anything fat. I like to pair it with the following:
- Sausage Peppers and Onions
- Smoked Sausage with Rice - Instant Pot / Slow Cooker
- Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
- Beef Wellington
How do you wash Collard Greens?
Cleaning collard greens is the first step of this recipe. Even if you wish to consume raw collard greens, you've got to clean the dirt.
Although the concept of farm-to-table is pretty popular these days. But cleaning your collard greens (although one extra step) is crucial.
Collard Greens belong to the cabbage family and may be covered in pesticides or may have insects like aphids.
So here is how you wash collard greens
- Plug the basin and fill it up with water.
- Soak the collard greens in water for about 20-25 minutes.
- Unplug the basin and rinse the collard greens with running water.
- While rinsing you will see the dirt coming off.
- Take out individual stalk and wash it thoroughly under running water.
- Blot them dry with a paper towel, and then you are ready to use them.
PRO TIP: Never use soap or detergent to rinse your greens.
How long will collard greens last in the refrigerator?
Uncooked Collard Greens: Unwashed raw collard greens may stay in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Wrap them using a wet paper towel. Please place them in a sealed plastic container or sealed plastic wrap. Please keep them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Cooked Collard Greens: Preferably cooked collard greens should last in the fridge for up to 4 days. 3 to 4 days is the max that you can store collard greens in the refrigerator.
What do you need to make collard greens?
- Smoked Ham Hocks
- Low-sodium chicken broth
- Fresh collard greens
- Kosher salt
- Garlic cloves that are either minced or pressed
- Red pepper flakes
- Lemon wedges for decoration
How to make collard greens?
- Do you know what's the most important part of making collard greens? It is cutting this leafy vegetable right. And although handling collard greens can be a little messy, we'll make it really simple for you!
- All you need to do is cut out the central part of the collard greens and keep it away. We need only the leaves, and not that hard part. Then roll up all the leaves together like a cigar and start chopping them with a sharp knife. You'll get finely chopped collard greens, just what you need for this recipe!
- Take a large skillet that has a heavy bottom base. Heat up a small amount of olive oil on it until it starts simmering. Then add collard greens and salt to the skillet and stir them for about thirty seconds. Then again start to stir the collard greens until their color darkens and the leaves start to wilt. This means your collard greens are cooking great! Try to get a brown edge on the collard greens as this will make it even more delicious. This whole step will take about six minutes.
- Just two minutes before your collard greens are entirely done, add minced/pressed garlic cloves and red pepper flakes. Mix everything until you can smell the garlic and pepper flakes from the collard greens. Stir for a few more seconds before shutting off the heat.
- Your collard greens are now ready! Plate them up with lemon wedges and serve them to everyone!
Why do you put vinegar in Collard Greens?
People often ask - How do I get the bitterness out of collard greens? The answer to both the question is same - To get the bitterness out we generally use vinegar. But, instead of vinegar you can use a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice. 🍋
Variations you can try with collard greens!
Collard greens might look monotonous at first glance, but there's actually a lot of room for variations! So many cultures use collard greens in their own special way that you really need to try all of them!
- Want to try more Western African style collard greens? Then just add some peanuts for that extra crunchy and taste!
- You can also make great Asian style collard greens. Just replace the garlic with some grated ginger, although you can also keep both. Reduce the amount of salt as you will add some Asian sauces like teriyaki and soy sauce as well. Drizzle some sesame oil on top and you'll have some great Asian style collard greens. Have this with some fried rice and enjoy!
Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
When you are cooking collard greens with smoked ham hocks make sure you wash the smoked ham hocks thoroughly before cooking them.
Place them in a large stockpot with low sodium chicken stock.
Cook for 3 hours until the meat is tender.
Remove the smoked ham hocks from the stock. And use it for your collard green recipe.
How to store collard greens?
Just like any other leafy vegetables, it is best if you serve collard greens fresh and don't leave any leftovers. Which we are sure you won't considering how great this recipe is. But if by any chance you do end up with leftovers then don't worry. Just pack the leftover collard greens in an airtight container and store it in the fridge easily for up to four days. Whenever you want to have it again, just reheat the collard greens in the microwave!
We recommend you to not freeze collard greens as that way not only will the fresh taste get completely ruined but the vegetable will also ruin much of its nutritional value. So just make it fresh and have it while it's still fresh!
Tips to make collard greens even better!
- Try to get organic and fresh collard greens from your nearby farmer's market rather than going to a grocery store like Walmart. You'll get the best quality produce at any farmer's market and that too at very affordable prices!
- Don't go overboard in seasoning collard greens. Not only will it negatively affect the fresh and piquant taste of collard greens but it will also destroy a lot of nutritional value.
- Don't use too much oil while making collard greens. Olive oil is the best choice for
- making collard greens.
- If you want to remove the slight bitterness of collard greens then blanch them first before stir-frying them with olive oil.
- I don't like collard greens. Can I use something else?
There are many great viable replacements for collard greens, but we think kale comes the closest. It's a great leafy vegetable not only in taste but also in nutritional value. You can go ahead and use this recipe with kale with no worries!
- What dishes are best with collard greens?
Collard greens will go with almost anything. But it definitely goes with fatty and heavy flavor profile dishes. Southern Fried chicken with collard greens for example is an all time Southern classic!
- Is collard greens good for my health?
Absolutely yes! Collard greens are among the healthiest vegetables and you should definitely consider including them in your daily diet. This recipe of collard green is especially healthy for you as it barely uses any oil, keeping the fat low. It is also very light on seasonings, keeping the nutritional value intact. With high fiber contents and packed in vitamins and antioxidants, collard greens is the best thing you can include in your diet!
Southern Louisiana Collard Greens Recipe "Hearty and Meaty"
- 680 gram Smoked Ham Hocks 1½ lbs
- 2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
- ½ lb bacon cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ lb tasso cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 3 lbs collard greens
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice to taste (optional)
Cook Smoked Ham Hock
- In a large Dutch Pot, combine ham hocks and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours until the hocks are tender.
- Remove ham hocks from the stock. Transfer to a cutting board. Pull apart the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Chop up the meat into chunks and keep it aside.
Cook Bacon and Tasso
- Cook bacon and tasso in a large stockpot with a heavy bottom base set to medium. Allow them to get crispy.
- In the meantime, cut out the central part of collard greens and set it apart. We need the leaves. Roll them up like a ribbon and chop them with a sharp knife.
- Remove bacon and tasso from the pot leaving behind the leftover fat.
Cook Collard Greens
- Add diced yellow onions, finely chopped collard greens, and salt to the skillet. Stir for about 30-seconds.
- Stir again until the collard greens start to wilt and darken in color. This means your collard greens are looking great.
- Cook until you start to see the collard greens turn brown on the edges. This will add more flavor to your collard greens recipe.
- Just 2-minutes before your collard greens are about to be entirely done, add freshly pressed garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Stir in chopped ham hocks. Cook until the garlic, and red pepper flakes become fragrant.
- Add leftover chicken stock with the flavors of smoked ham hock. (As much as you want) You can use the leftover for some other recipes.
- Squeeze in lemon juice (as much as you need) and stir lightly.
- Serve your collard greens with lemon wedges, crispy bacon, and tasso.