Quick Collard Greens

Quick Collard Greens

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This quick collard greens recipe made me fall in love with collards.

The collards are cut into then ribbons then sauteed with bits of smoky applewood bacon, onions, and garlic. This amazing side dish is a quick and easy way to enjoy collards any day of the week. 

In the South, you usually see collards make an appearance around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The greens are traditionally stewed (boiled to death) in a big pot with a ham hock. This method of cooking collards can take hours because you have to boil the leaves to season them well with the ham and to get that bitter taste out of them. Boiling the collards also boils out all the nutritional value out of them. 

bowl of quick collard greens

You might assume that just because David and I were both born and raised in the south that we automatically love collard greens. David, yes, but not me. Until now, I’ve never really cared for collards. They are often bitter and when they are boiled the can turn out really slimy. However, I’ve learned that when cooked properly, collards are delicious. 

Since collard season is upon us, I want to share this quick collard green recipe with you. I’ll show you how easy this recipe is, and how good collards can be so you can get more green leafy vegetables in your diet.

There’s no need to boil them for hours. It only takes 20 minutes!

Let’s make some quick collard greens!

ribbons of collard leaves

What Are Collard Greens?

Collard greens are a loose-leaf vegetable that comes from the same family of plants like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. They are grown and enjoyed all over the world from east Africa, southern and eastern parts of Europe, South America, and the southern United States. 

A collard plant can grow in stalks up to two feet high. The leaves are full of nutrients your body craves such as folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Collards are also full of fiber and a powerful source of plant-based calcium.

cutting stem from collard leaf

How to Purchase Collard Greens

Collard greens can typically be found in your local grocery store year-round. Collard greens are freshest from fall, through winter until spring and usually at the best cost. When shopping for collards look for the following characteristics:

  • Choose bunches with small, thin leaves versus large, thick leaves. They have the mildest flavor and will not be as tough as the larger ones.
  • Look for bright green leaves that are firm, tender, and perky. Pass up on bunches with lots of wilted leaves or ones that have a lot of brown spots or bug holes. 

You can store collard greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before cooking them. Keep in mind the longer you keep them the tougher and more bitter than can become.

rinsing collard leaves

How to Make Quick Collard Greens

Prepare The Collard Leaves

  1. Take the bunch of collard leaves apart. Remove any yellow or wilted leaves within the bunch. Cut the thick center rib out of each collard green leaf. 
  2. Stack each stemless collard leaf in a pile and roll them up like you would a cigar. Slice the rolled leaves into ½-inch ribbons. Pick the ribbons up with your hands and shake them out of the rolls. Give the ribbons a few rough chops to make them shorter.
  3. Put the collards inside the drain bowl of a salad spinner or a colander. Toss the collards under cold water to wash off the grit and dirt. Allow them to drain well or spin in the salad spinner. Make sure they are as dry as possible before cooking.
bacon and onions cooking in Dutch oven

Cooking:

  1. Add the diced bacon and onion to a heavy Dutch oven (with a lid) over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and the onions are translucent; about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the garlic and sugar, stirring constantly until fragrant (about 1 minute) before adding the collard greens. Toss the collard greens with the onions, bacon, and garlic. Place the lid on the Dutch oven. Cook stirring occasionally until the leaves are tender; about 5 minutes.
dropping collards into Dutch oven

Seasoning & Serving:

  1. Give the collards a taste and season with salt as needed. Stir in the red crushed pepper flakes to taste before serving for a little spice (optional).
  2. Serve warm.
bowl of quick collard greens
tongs holding quick collard greens with mountain view

Get the most out of collard greens try this recipe. I believe you will fall in love with them and enjoy them more often. 

Other Collard Recipes:

You can even eat collard leaves raw as a wrap in these Rainbow Rollups This is one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Check out the recipe [HERE]

quick collard greens
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Quick Collard Greens

Enjoy collards any time with this quick collard greens recipe. Thinly cut ribbons of leafy greens sautéed with bits bacon, onions, and garlic.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Collard Greens, Fried
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 280kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch collard greens (8-10 ounces)
  • 5 strips applewood smoked bacon diced
  • ¼ cup sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

Prepare The Collard Greens

  • Take the bunch of collard leaves apart. Remove any yellow or wilted leaves within the bunch. Cut the thick center rib out of each collard green leaf.
  • Stack each stemless collard leaf in a pile and roll them up like you would a cigar. Slice the rolled leaves into ½-inch ribbons. Pick the ribbons up with your hands and shake them out of the rolls. Give the ribbons a few rough chops to make them shorter.
  • Put the collards inside the drain bowl of a salad spinner or colander. Toss the collards under cold water to wash off the grit and dirt. Allow them to drain well or spin in the salad spinner. Make sure they are as dry as possible before cooking.

Cook The Collard Greens:

  • Add the diced bacon and onion to a heavy Dutch oven (with a lid) over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and the onions are translucent; about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and sugar, stirring constantly until fragrant (about 1 minute) before adding the collard greens. Toss the collard greens with the onions, bacon, and garlic. Place the lid on the Dutch oven. Cook stirring occasionally until the leaves are tender; about 5 minutes.

Season & Serve The Collard Greens

  • Give the collards a taste and season with salt as needed. Stir in the red crushed pepper flakes to taste before serving for a little spice (optional).
  • Serve warm.

Notes

Caution: Droplets of water from the collard leaves can cause the grease to spatter. Make sure the collard leaves are completely dry before adding them to the pot. 
Shopping for Collard Greens:
  • Choose bunches with small, thin leaves versus large, thick leaves. They have the mildest flavor and will not be as tough as the larger ones.
  • Look for bright green leaves that are firm, tender, and perky. Pass up on bunches with lots of wilted leaves or ones that have a lot of brown spots or bug holes.
  • You can store collard greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before cooking them. Keep in mind the longer you keep them the tougher and more bitter than can become.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 4768IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 1mg
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