There is more than one way to cook collard greens in the South, and this recipe for Mary’s Healthy Southern Collard Greens is as nutritious as it is delicious!
Mary’s Healthy Southern Collard Greens are made without traditional ham hocks or other pork products. Her simple, straightforward method of cooking the greens enhances the mild flavor of the fresh collards and keeps them crisp and tender.
These collard greens had actually just been harvested from our friends Mary and her husband Rick Carroll’s garden earlier in the day, which brought a whole new meaning to the popular phrase “farm to table.” Mary prepared these delicious greens for our dinner that night and graciously agreed to share her recipe with me. And, of course, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!
Collard greens are chock-full of vitamins K, B6, C, and E, and are an excellent source of calcium, folate, and beta-carotene. They also have high levels of antioxidants, can help reduce inflammation, are low in calories and high in soluble fiber. Collard greens also have more calcium per serving than kale and double the amount of protein and iron.
Collard greens, which have long been a staple in the South, have become the new “it” vegetable and recipes are popping up all over the internet, which makes use of nutritious collard leaves in wraps, cole slaws, salads and more. Collard greens grow best in cooler temperatures and the peak season is January through April. However, these days you can find fresh collard greens in most grocery stores and farmers markets year round.
There are only three ingredients in Mary’s Healthy Southern Collard Greens: fresh collard greens, kosher salt, and olive oil. And, although this recipe is as easy as they come, the leaves do need to be washed thoroughly before cooking to remove any sand or dirt. After washing the leaves, let them dry, wrap in a paper towel, and they can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag for up to 5 days.
To prepare Mary’s Healthy Southern Collard Greens, use a sharp knife to cut out the tough center stalk of each leaf and then stack the leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch ribbons.
Fill up a dutch oven or large pot about 1/3 of the way up with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the olive oil and salt.
Add the collards to the water and bring back to a boil. (You may need to add the collards in batches if they don’t all fit at one time. They will wilt down, and then you can add the rest.)
When all of the collards have been added, and the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Continue to cook for about 10 more minutes. Serve immediately and be sure to include some of the flavorful “pot likker”.