12 Days of (heart healthy) Christmas: Collard Greens

New Years is rapidly approaching and if you’re southern like I am it’s time to start cooking your hoppin’ john (field peas and rice) and collard greens for good luck and money. I don’t know if I believe that food will actually bring good luck or prosperity, but it’s tradition.

…and it’s delicious!

I’ve made collard greens several times before, but this time I did some research. We had dinner at RB’s Seafood restaurant for my grandmother’s 96th (yes, 96!) birthday and the collard greens that my mom ordered were so good I decided to change up my recipe. After scrolling through Pinterest and remembering the taste that I was going for, I did a few things differently:

  1. I used two types of meat for flavor
  2. apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar
  3. brown sugar instead of granulated sugar
  4. low sodium chicken broth

Usually I buy the chopped collard greens in the bag, but I couldn’t find them this time and being in the store at almost midnight I refused to go to another store when I could just pick up the bunch. I know some people just cut the bottom stems off, but it’s easier for me to peel them off like celery then go in and cut out the hard middle stem. Once you have all the leaves you can roll and then chop or rough chop. I chose the rough chop because it was just less work and I was already tired, but I knew that if I left them out in the air too long the leaves would start to turn yellow and I would have had to throw them out.

Collard greens are what I call a labor of love, and I’m glad that I put my labor into it because they turned out great. When my mom says she was impressed and gave me an A+, I know that I actually did something right!

12 Days of (heart healthy) Christmas: Collard Greens

45Prep Time

2 hrCook Time

2 hr, 45Total Time

Save Recipe


  • 1 large bunch (3 clusters) of collard greens
  • 6 slices thick cut all natural bacon
  • 1 lb. smoked turkey necks or smoked pork neck bones
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C table salt
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 4 C low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 C water + more for rinsing


  • Remove the hard stem from the middle of each leaf, chop, and set aside.
  • Fill your sink or a large pot with cold water and salt and add the chopped greens in batches to rinse off any sand and tenderize.
  • To make sure that your greens aren't bitter, be sure to parboil them for 15 - 20 minutes before the actual cooking process. After you parboil, make sure to drain off all the water so that they don't continue to cook.
  • Set the greens aside and in the same pot fry your bacon and onions before adding in the chicken broth, water, and smoked meat. Allow to boil for thirty minutes to flavor the soup water before adding in the greens and brown sugar.
  • Cook on low for an hour and a half to two hours until your desired tenderness is reached.
Cuisine: Southern |


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