Collard Greens

Side DishQuick and EasyCollard Greens

Wondering what to do with collard greens? Here's an easy recipe for a simple side dish! Cook collards on the stovetop with onions and garlic — it's an easy, flavorful way to eat your greens.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My brother Eddie was over for dinner a while ago one fortuitous night when we happened to be having collard greens. I say fortuitous because Ed introduced us to a wonderful new way to serve these healthful, somewhat bitter greens—with barbecue sauce.

Huh? Barbecue sauce?

Ed explained that whenever he had collard greens it was with barbecued ribs, and the sauce from the ribs would make its way over to the collard greens, making them taste oh so good. Well, that was enough incentive to try it, and I must agree, collard greens are excellent served with a little BBQ sauce.

They are also pretty good on their own with onions and garlic. Our recipe works great as a base; feel free to add the BBQ sauce!

Best ever collard greens cooked on the stovetop and served in a bowl

Shopping for Collard Greens

Collards are in the same family as kale, mustard greens, and other hearty greens. The leaves are dark green and the stems are tough.

Look for collards that have an even green color and look fresh. Avoid collards that have browned or wilted leaves or show other signs of age. They will keep for several days in your fridge.

Prepare collard greens by trimming out the stem

How to Prepare Collard Greens

To prepare, cut away the tough stem and slice the greens into thick ribbons.

Cook the greens in plenty of fat until they are tender and silky. Young, fresh greens are usually ready in about 15 minutes, but older, tougher greens can take up to 45 minutes.

More Recipes with Collards and Kale:

Updated March 1, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Collard Greens Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

We use bacon fat here primarily for flavor. Bacon fat provides an excellent balance to the natural bitter of the collard greens. That said, you can easily skip the bacon fat and just use a little more olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 pounds (900 g) collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (Dynasty or comparable brand)
  • Chili pepper flakes, a pinch
  • Salt, a couple pinches
  • Sugar, a couple pinches
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)

Method

1 Cook onions and garlic: Use a large skillet with a tight fitting cover. Melt bacon fat and heat olive oil on medium heat.

Sauté onion until transparent, a couple of minutes.

Add garlic and and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2 Cook the collards: Mix in the greens, sesame oil, chili pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Cover and cook until tender, 8-15 minutes. (Note that young collard greens will cook up relatively quickly. Older greens may take upwards of 45 minutes to tenderize.)

If you want, serve with barbecue sauce.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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41 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Grace

    This was easy and delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Sharon

    These were great! I will definitely make them again. I was concerned that my husband would prefer the typical ‘Southern way’ but he really liked them also.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Tiffany

    Just made collard greens for the first time. Thanks for the recipe. Served it with some left over basmati rice. Just learning to cook and eat this way.

  4. Andrew

    You need to add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar.

  5. John

    Made this today; it was definitely a keeper. Paired it with pressure cooker baby back ribs; two great tastes that go great together.

    Definitely on my regular rotation; thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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Best ever collard greens cooked on the stovetop and served in a bowlCollard Greens