Healthy Collard Greens

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There’s no doubt about it. Everyone should include more healthful, dark, leafy greens in their diets. This healthy collard greens side dish is a great addition to any meal.

Collard greens are rich in vitamin K, with a stunning 1,045%  of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin in one cooked cup! Vitamin K contributes to strong bones, healthy arteries, and regulation of the clotting of your blood. Collard greens also are an excellent source vitamin A, C, folate, manganese, and calcium, and a good source of other B vitamins.

Traditionally, ham hocks (pork legs) are used in collard greens recipes, providing smokiness and making the greens more tender. Here, we have provided three healthful options, two of which are meatless: smoked turkey wings, dried smoky chiles, or liquid smoke. All of these can infuse the leaves with that smoky goodness, with the chiles adding spiciness. Choose the ingredient that you prefer!

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Healthy Collard Greens

Healthy Collard Greens

Yields: 6 to 8 servings | Serving Size: ½ cup collard greens and ½ cup broth| Calories: 197 | Total Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 44 mg | Sodium: 379 mg | Carbohydrates: 10 g | Dietary Fiber: 4 g | Sugars: 1 g | Protein: 17 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5 |


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 smoked turkey wings or legs or 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (vegetarian/vegan option) or 2 whole dried chipotle chiles or ancho chiles (and omit the chili flakes or cayenne later)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, low sodium preferred
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (optional)
  • 2 bunches (about 2 pounds) fresh collard greens


  1. Prepare the collard greens by first removing the stems. Pull them off by hand or cut them out with a knife. Wash the leaves in a very large bowl of water or clean sink filled with water, allowing the soot from the greens to sink to the bottom of the container. Repeat by cleaning the container, and resubmerging in clean water. To test a leaf for no grit, simply bite into one. Never dump the leaves into a strainer with the water, or the leaves will get dirty.
  2. Stack the leaves and cut across into about 1- inch sized ribbons.
  3. In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil and onions. Saute onions for 5 minutes over medium high heat until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and saute quickly for an additional 30 seconds or so, just until golden and fragrant. Add the turkey wings, the stock, the greens, and the salt and pepper and bring just to a boil.
  4. Optional cooking method: Steam just until wilted to maintain the amazing nutrients of collard greens.
  5. Reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, until the greens are tender.
  6. Remove the smoked turkey wings(if used) from the liquid. Remove the skin and bones from the turkey wing and tear the meat into bite-sized pieces. Remove the chiles and discard. Add the turkey meat back to the liquid. Stir the vinegar into the greens, if using, just prior to serving or serve on the side, to be sprinkled in as a condiment.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to serve on a plate, or serve in individual side dish bowls with the broth and dip cornbread, corn muffins, or other biscuits into the broth when eating, as is traditional.
  8. *Cooking liquid from greens, often called Pot Likker, can be served and cornbread can be dipped into it (as is traditional), or if not served, cooled to room temperature and then frozen to use for stocks or to make beans in.


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13 Comments on "Healthy Collard Greens"

  1. Tina  December 29, 2017

    Where are all the points coming from? If using liquid smoke or dried chipotles, wouldn’t the point count drop and only counting the olive oil?

    • Gale Compton  January 1, 2018

      Tina, With the new 200 foods w/o points, the points would likely drop.

  2. Dee  May 27, 2018

    No water needed to cook collards?

    • Gale Compton  May 28, 2018

      Dee, We chose not to boil the greens in order to retain more of the nutrients. 🙂

  3. Jillian  May 30, 2018

    Hi! Is there a way to make this where there isn’t so much broth left over? I don’t want it to go to waste.

    • Gale Compton  May 30, 2018

      Jillian, You can reduce the broth by half and still be fine. 🙂

      • Jillian  May 30, 2018

        Thank you!!

  4. Lydia Brockmeyer  February 20, 2020

    It says don’t boil for best nutrition. I truly want the best I can get. What are your suggestions.

    • Gale Compton  February 20, 2020

      Lydia, I added a steaming option in the instructions. I love steamed greens, personally.

  5. Noline  June 5, 2020

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it with smoked turkey and added red pepper flakes. I used less broth (for steaming) and it came out perfect!!!

  6. Andrea Rivera  August 14, 2020



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