These Braised Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon are a perfect side dish. Olive oil and lean turkey bacon make this Southern style collard greens dish a little more healthy. A splash of cider vinegar gives it a nice tang. I could really eat this as my main dish any day.
My husband and son love BBQ joints. They cannot get enough barbecued meat.
My daughter is a vegetarian and I am somewhere in between. I like to eat meat but don't need to eat it every day.
Luckily, most BBQ restaurants have plenty of sides to choose from with many being vegetarian. My daughter can always eat macaroni and cheese and coleslaw. I prefer the sides over the meat but I will not pass up the chicken or ribs.
I love the mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, deviled eggs and collard greens. Yes, I like it all but the collard greens side dish recipe have a special place in my heart, or should I say stomach?
What are Southern Collard Greens
Collard greens are a staple in southern cuisine. Many people eat them for good luck on New Year's day as the green color represents money and prosperity.
Traditionally cooked in flavorful stock from ham hocks, this leafy green vegetable took on a flavor that was comforting and rich and elevated them to a high place in many southern kitchens. These greens are rich in vitamins like vitamin c and calcium and they can help to lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, the addition of bacon and bacon grease in many recipes left me looking for a healthy collard greens recipe.
Healthy Collard Greens Recipe
Collard greens in most BBQ restaurants might sound healthy but they usually have lard, salt and lots of bacon in them. Don't get me wrong, they taste wonderful. But if I made them like that at home on a regular basis, the jeans would be even tighter than they are now. And after the holidays, the jeans have been barely buttoning so that could get to be a problem.
So I decided to make a light, good-for-you version of southern collard greens. I actually have eaten a whole bowl of Braised Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon as my dinner.
This past fall, we had plenty of collard greens at the CSA farm that I belong to. You could even say I was up to my eyeballs in collard greens. Have you ever seen giant collards like this?
I cooked lots and lots of them and came up with this healthy easy recipe. Luckily the grocery stores have plenty of collard greens in the winter too so they can be made all year round.
- olive oil - Or use your favorite neutral oil
- turkey bacon - I like this lean protein but use regular bacon if you prefer
- garlic cloves - A little bit goes a long way
- fresh collard greens - Remove tough stems and slice into bite size strips with a sharp knife. For variation use mustard greens or turnip greens instead of fresh collards.
- chicken broth or stock - Homemade chicken stock or broth is great but there are plenty of premade options at your grocery store.
- apple cider vinegar - You can also use red wine vinegar or lemon juice instead. Vinegar neutralizes any bitter taste the leafy greens might have.
- brown sugar - White sugar can also be used.
- cayenne pepper - Or use red pepper flakes. I also like to serve mone with some hot sauce on the side.
- salt and black pepper - To taste.
Steps to Make Bacon Collard Greens
- Saute the Turkey Bacon - Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and saute the bacon until it just begins to crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and set it aside on a paper towel. I used lean turkey bacon in this recipe but who am I to tell you to use less fat. By all means, use regular bacon if you'd like.
- Saute the Greens - Add garlic to the bacon fat and let it cook for a few moments before adding the collard greens. Saute them until they just begin to wilt. Pour in the stock, vinegar, sugar and salt and cover with a lid.
- Simmer and Serve - Simmer the pot of greens on low heat for 40 minutes or so until tender. Remove the lid and stir in the bacon. Raise the heat to reduce the liquid. Check for seasoning and serve.
Full instructions, exact ingredient amounts and nutrition facts are included in the recipe card below.
Main Dishes That Go With Southern-Style Collard Greens
Make Braised Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon and then serve them with chicken, beef or pork. Or just eat a bowl for lunch or dinner like I do! Here are some of our favorite meals to serve with bacon collard greens.
- Spicy Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
- Roaster Slow Cooker Chicken
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Delicata Squash Medley
- Drunken BBQ Pork Chops
- Slow Cooker Shredded Beef and Beer Sliders
No matter what you serve them with these Southern collard greens are loaded with flavor and deserve some attention at the table!
More Side Dish Recipes
- Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes
- Roasted Cranberry Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash (via Dole)
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Sauteed Baby Bella Mushrooms with Red Wine Sauce
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Braised Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 strips of turkey bacon chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 very large bunch collard greens stemmed and sliced into bite size strips
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock plus extra if needed
- 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil on medium heat in a medium size sauce pan. Add the bacon and saute for a few minutes or until starting to crisp, then set aside on paper towels, leaving the oil in the pan.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the collard greens and cook until they begin to wilt.
- Pour in the stock, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Uncover, add the bacon, raise the heat to medium-high, and reduce the liquid until there is barely any left. Season with salt if necessary.