Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

This recipe for smoky, spicy collard greens will delight collard lovers and surprise collard haters. So good.


My world of greens has expanded since belonging to a CSA. I’ve always loved chard, kale and spinach, but this past year I’ve also become fond of turnip greens, beet greens, kohlrabi greens, tatsoi, even radish greens. But I’ve had a tough time with collard greens, a real NC staple.

Collard greens from In Good Heart Farm CSA

Collard greens from In Good Heart Farm CSA


Our CSA would often give us a choice: kale or collard greens. I always went for kale since Jim didn’t seem to think much of collards. But when I was at the farmers market, I bought some baby collards. I’m so glad I did.

I combined the ingredients from two recipes on the Whole Foods Market website – Smoky Collard Greens and Spicy Collard Greens. My lord, it was delicious. So well balanced with lots of flavor but not enough to mask the good, yes, I said good, collard flavor.

If you’re not a fan of collards, this recipe might change your mind. Try it first with baby collards, not the foot-long (or more) older leaves. But if that’s all you can find, I’m sure they will still be fantastic with this recipe. You just might have to add more liquid and cook them a bit longer. I’m finally ready to give the big boys a try.

Update: This recipe is fantastic with regular, large collard greens.

Smoky Spicy Collard Greens |Grabbing the Gusto

Smoky Spicy Collard Greens |Grabbing the Gusto

Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens

You’ll need a large skillet with lid.

  • 1 large yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, smoked pork jowl or pancetta, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeno or hot pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 bunch collard greens (3/4 to 1-1/4 pounds), thick stems removed, leaves sliced crosswise and rinsed, but not dried
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • At least 1 cup of chicken broth, vegetable broth and/or water

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bacon, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno, cook for 1 minute. Add greens with water still clinging to the leaves, stirring often until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper and about 1 cup of chicken broth and/or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the pan is nearly dry and collard greens are very tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their age and heat of stove. Add more broth/water during cooking if the greens get too dry.

Original recipes: Smoky Collard GreensSpicy Collard Greens, Whole Foods Market

2 thoughts on “Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens for Collard-Phobes

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