Savor the Flavor: Southern Style Greens Recipe

Are you ready to experience the taste of the South? There’s nothing quite like a plate of southern-style collard greens, and I’m here to share my favorite recipe with you. As a chef who specializes in southern cuisine, I’ve spent years perfecting this recipe for collard greens that are tender, flavorful, and full of Southern charm.

In this recipe, we’ll be using traditional ingredients like bacon, onion, and cider vinegar to create a cooking liquid that will give the collard greens their signature flavor. Whether you’re new to Southern cooking or just looking for a new way to enjoy your greens, this recipe is guaranteed to become a family favorite.

So tie on your apron and get ready to make some mouth-watering Southern-style collard greens. This dish is sure to bring comfort and warmth to any occasion- from soul-food Sundays with the family, to upscale dinner parties that need a touch of the South. Let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Style Greens
Southern Style Greens

Are you looking for a delicious and healthy meal that will satisfy your cravings? If so, this Southern Style Greens recipe is the perfect choice for you! Not only does it fulfill your yearning for classic soul food, but it’s also packed with nutrients and fiber that will make you feel great.

The magic of these greens lies in their Southern style preparation, which calls for sautéing bacon with onions and garlic to create a savory base for the greens. This step alone is enough to make your mouth water as it releases the aroma of crispy bacon and caramelized onions.

What makes this recipe even more interesting is its flexibility in using different types of greens, including collard greens, turnip greens, and kale. This versatility allows you to switch up your greens based on personal preference, local availability or seasonality.

Plus, it includes special touches like adding apple cider vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes which give the dish a delightful tangy and spicy flavor profile. The cider vinegar highlights the natural sweetness of the greens while the pepper flakes bring a nice subtle heat to balance everything out.

Furthermore, this recipe offers various substitutions, such as smoked ham hock or turkey necks for meat lovers, or vegetable broth as an alternative for vegetarians or vegans. It adapts perfectly to anyone’s dietary needs without compromising its authentic southern taste.

So if you want to experience a taste that will take your tastebuds on an adventure while reveling in comfort food nostalgia, look no further than this Southern Style Greens recipe. It’s simple, satisfying, and has everything you’re looking for in a wholesome meal.

Ingredient List

 These greens were picked so fresh, they still had dew on them!
These greens were picked so fresh, they still had dew on them!

Let’s dive into the ingredient list for this southern-style greens recipe. You’ll need:

For the Greens:

  • 2 lbs of collard greens (2 bunches) fresh or frozen
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 pork hock, smoked ham, or smoked turkey necks (for a vegetarian/vegan option, substitute with vegetable broth)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced

For the Cooking Liquid:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For the Seasoning:

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: add bacon or smoked ham hock for extra flavor

The Recipe How-To

 Looking for some southern comfort? Look no further than these greens.
Looking for some southern comfort? Look no further than these greens.

Now that you have gathered all your ingredients, it is time to get cooking. This southern-style greens recipe is a classic staple that will take your taste buds on a journey to the south.

Here is how you can prepare this mouth-watering dish:

Step 1: Cook Your Bacon and Onion

Take out a pot with medium heat and add in smoked bacon chopped. Once the bacon is slightly cooked, add in finely chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent.

Step 2: Add the Garlic and Pepper

To enhance the flavor of your greens, add in minced garlic cloves and diced pepper. Stir them for about a minute or until fragrant.

Step 3: Add Your Greens

Add in your greens, starting with collard greens. Mix thoroughly until they wilted before adding in another type of green like turnip. Repeat the process until you’ve added all the greens.

Step 4: Pour In Your Cooking Liquid

After adding in all your greens, pour in your cooking liquid which consists of chicken broth and water to cover the greens. For a sweeter taste, feel free to add in some apple cider vinegar.

Step 5: Add Seasonings

To make Southern-style collard greens, add flavorings like ham hock, crushed red pepper flakes, and granulated sugar. Stir gently to incorporate all ingredients.

Step 6: Simmer Until Tender

Let it simmer for about two hours, or until tender. If you’re using a pressure cooker, let it cook for around 20-30 minutes under high pressure. Don’t forget to release steam according to the instruction manual.

Step 7: Season to Taste and Serve!

Finally, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can enjoy it solo or pair it with some soul food classics like fried chicken or cornbread.

Voila! You’ve made Southern-style greens that are sure to impress.

Substitutions and Variations

 Giving kale a run for its money!
Giving kale a run for its money!

When it comes to Southern-style greens, there are many options for substitutions and variations to switch things up a bit. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Pork Neck Bones – Instead of using smoked ham hock, you can add pork neck bones to the recipe. This will give your greens recipe a richer and stronger flavor.

2. Turkey Neck – For those who wish to have a healthier alternative, turkey necks would make an excellent substitute for ham hock. You can also substitute with smoked turkey wings which can provide a similar flavor profile as ham hock.

3. Vegetarian and Vegan Options – Soul food collard can be made vegan by omitting the meat such as bacon, smoked ham or pork bones. In place of bacon, you can add olive oil or other oils that will contribute aroma and flavor to the dish.

4. Optional Vegetables – You may also include other veggies such as turnip greens, spinach and kale in your Southern style greens for added nutrients and flavors.

5. Vinegar Preference – While cider vinegar is preferred by most people in this southern style collard greens recipe, you may use white vinegar instead if that’s your preference.

6. Frozen Collard Greens – Fresh collard greens are ideal for cooking, but frozen collard are still good substitutes especially when fresh collards are not available or hard to find.

7. Pressure Cooker – Cook the greens first in a pressure cooker to help tenderize them quicker than the traditional slow cook method without sacrificing its taste.

By trying out these substitutions and variations, you can create your own twist of southern-style greens that cater to your preferences while retaining its rich flavors and cultural heritage that make this dish unique and unforgettable.

Serving and Pairing

 The aroma wafting from these greens is out of this world.
The aroma wafting from these greens is out of this world.

When it comes to serving Southern Style Greens, there are so many ways to enjoy this dish. First off, a big bowl of these greens is an excellent side dish for any protein, from grilled chicken to baked ham. You can also serve them as a meatless main course, paired with some cornbread or rice.

For an extra kick, sprinkle some cider vinegar or hot sauce on top of your serving to add a tangy and spicy flavor. The vinegar will help cut through the bitterness of the greens and complement other flavors in your meal. Some folks like to add a little bit of sugar to their vinegar for a sweeter taste.

You can also pair these greens with some classic Southern sides like mac and cheese, beans, mashed potatoes or cornbread. These dishes will make for a hearty meal that’ll fill you up and give you some serious comfort food vibes.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a boozy pairing, try sipping on a glass of cold sweet tea or lemonade alongside your plate of greens. It’s the perfect way to wash down all of those delicious flavors!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get your greens in a deliciously satisfying way!
Get your greens in a deliciously satisfying way!

A key aspect to consider before starting any recipe is understanding how to store or reheat leftovers, as it can help save time and prevent food waste. The Southern Style Greens Recipe is no exception. In fact, these greens tend to taste even better once they have had a chance to sit overnight in the refrigerator!

If you have any leftovers, place them in an airtight container alongside the cooking liquid that was set aside earlier. This will help preserve their flavor without drying out. These greens can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

When it comes to reheating your leftovers, we recommend doing so over low heat on the stove in a saucepan or pot. Start by adding a bit of reserved cooking liquid into the pot and gradually working your way up until your desired consistency is reached. Just make sure to stir occasionally!

For those with limited time or who find themselves without access to a stove, Southern Style Greens can also be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later use! Some people even swear by freezing their greens twice because it “purges” or releases some of the enzymes that can cause bitterness in the dish.

When it comes time to reheat your frozen greens, simply thaw them out overnight in the fridge before starting the reheating process. From there, you may choose to follow the same instructions as reheating your fresh greens or add fresh ingredients (such as ham hock) to liven things up.

No matter how you prefer to prepare or consume them, Southern Style Greens stand proud as one of the South’s most beloved cultural staples. With the right storage and reheating techniques, these delicious greens will remain vibrant and flavorful for successive meals long after they’ve been cooked!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Melt-in-your-mouth goodness that will make these southern style greens a household staple.
Melt-in-your-mouth goodness that will make these southern style greens a household staple.

If you want to achieve the best results when making Southern Style Greens Recipe, I have some tips that might help you. First, do not overcook your greens. You want your greens to remain tender and not too soft. Boil them for a few minutes less than recommended by the recipe and then let them simmer until they are soft.

Another tip is to taste the cooking liquid before adding the greens. This will give you a better idea of how much salt or vinegar you need to add. Remember that greens will absorb the cooking liquid, so make sure it is well-seasoned.

To prevent your greens from becoming too bitter or dull in color, add some acid to the cooking liquid. Use either cider vinegar or apple cider vinegar, whichever one you prefer. A quarter cup of vinegar per two pounds of greens should be enough.

For those who like their greens with a bit of kick, add crushed red pepper flakes or diced pepper to the cooking liquid. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.

When using smoked ham or bacon as recipe ingredients, be aware that they contain a lot of salt. Adjust the seasoning accordingly and taste the liquid before adding more salt.

Consider using pork neck bones or smoked turkey wings for extra flavor. You could also use turkey necks if you prefer a healthier option.

Finally, try using collard greens from different sources to find which ones work best for you. Some find frozen collard greens are easier to work with, while others swear by fresh collards.

With these tips, you can make Southern Style Greens Recipe perfectly every time!


Now that you have all the information regarding cooking these southern-style greens, let’s take a moment to address some frequently asked questions about this recipe. Here are some helpful answers to common queries that may arise in your mind while preparing this dish.

How do you make Patti Labelle collard greens?

Now it’s time to bring out the best in our greens. Gather your collard greens, chicken stock, onions, and seasonings – kosher salt, pepper, and seasoning salt. Don’t forget the secret ingredient, smoked turkey. Add all these elements into the pot and mix them up. Make sure the heat is low and let everything cook covered. In about 35 minutes, you’ll have tender collard greens, but be careful not to make them too soft.

What does adding vinegar to collard greens do?

Adding vinegar to the collard greens not only enhances the taste but also eliminates any potential bitterness. It’s best to offer the vinegar separately so that guests can adjust the amount to their liking. While apple cider vinegar is the traditional choice, some prefer white vinegar or hot sauce to complement the flavors.

What can I put on my greens to make them taste better?

When it comes to cooking greens, ditch water and opt for chicken broth as your liquid of choice. Enhance the flavor by adding some chopped onions, garlic, or crispy bacon to the mix. For an extra crunch and burst of savory goodness, top the cooked greens with crumbled bacon. And as a finishing touch, give the greens a subtle tanginess by lightly sprinkling balsamic or cider vinegar over them after cooking.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this southern style greens recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves a rich and flavorful side dish. It captures the essence of traditional southern cooking while adding a modern twist. With its combination of bacon, onion, garlic, and cider vinegar, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Whether you’re looking to make southern collard greens or turnip greens, this recipe has got you covered. And for those who are health-conscious or vegetarian, you can still enjoy the flavors of southern-style greens by making some substitutions.

So don’t hesitate to try this recipe out for yourself. It’s simple to follow and yields perfect results every time. You never know, it might even become a staple in your family’s meal rotation. Give it a go and experience the prosperity and comfort that comes with this soul food classic.

Southern Style Greens

Southern Style Greens Recipe

I love beets and to throw away the tops is such a waste so now I have a recipe for them.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 70.8 kcal


  • 2 lbs beet leaves
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar


  • Wash greens in sink of cold water.
  • Drain greens, wash a second time.
  • Drain greens and remove any heavy stems.
  • Tear leaves into bite-size pieces.
  • Set aside.
  • In 6-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon until lightly browned.
  • Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown.
  • Stir in garlic.
  • Add water to hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan.
  • Stir in sugar and red pepper.
  • Continue cooking until mixture boils.
  • Add greens to boiling water mixture; reduce heat.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in vinegar.
  • Continue cooking additional 5 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  • Cut into bite-size pieces before serving.
  • Serve with chopped tomatoes, green onion and additional vinegar, if desired.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 184gCalories: 70.8kcalCarbohydrates: 9.5gProtein: 3.3gFat: 2.7gSaturated Fat: 0.9gCholesterol: 3.9mgSodium: 305.6mgFiber: 4.4gSugar: 4.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Canadian, Greens, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Meat, Pork, Savory, Stove Top, Vegetable
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