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Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon

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Thinly sliced collard greens sautéed with bacon, garlic, and olive oil is the perfect side dish for New Year’s Day.

Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon
Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon

It’s tradition to eat collard greens on New Year’s Day because their green color symbolizes wealth and prosperity for the coming year. This easy collard greens recipe is absolutely my favorite way to eat them. If you are a vegetarian, just leave out the bacon. Another collard greens recipe I love is Kenyan Braised Collard Greens with Ground Beef, known as Sukuma Wiki.

Collard Greens and Bacon in a skillet.

For many years, my dad lived in Brazil, and collard greens, known as “couve,” are a popular side dish there. The greens would also go well with these Brazilian black beans any time of the year.

Are collard greens healthy?

It’s a good idea to include collard greens in your diet regularly because of their ability to lower cholesterol and their cancer-preventive properties. They are low in carbs and calories and a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and calcium. I eat collards because I like them, so having the added health benefits is a bonus.

How to Clean Collards

Collard greens can be very sandy and dirty, so it’s important to clean them well.

  1. Rinse them and put the leaves in a large bowl or pot filled with water.
  2. Swish them around a couple of times and then let them sit. The grit will begin to fall off.
  3. Remove the collards and pour out the water. Repeat one or two more times until the water remains clear.

How to Cook Collard Greens

Once your greens are clean, then it’s time to prep them for cooking. Cut out the tough stem in the middle of each leaf. Then stack a few leaves together, roll them up, and slice into thin strips.

What should I serve with collard greens?

If you’re making these collard greens for New Year’s, then you definitely should serve them with Slow Cooked Black Eyed Peas with Ham for extra good luck! Pork is also considered good luck, so these Crispy Breaded Pork Chops or Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce would be great protein options.

Collard Greens and Bacon

More Greens Recipes You’ll Love:


Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon

4.20 from 5 votes
Thinly sliced collard greens sautéed with bacon, garlic, and olive oil is the perfect side dish for New Year’s Day.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 /4th


  • 1 slice bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large bunch collard greens, washed and dried
  • salt, to taste


  • Remove the tough stems that run down the center of the leaf.
  • Stack a few leaves, roll and slice into thin strips.
    hot to cut collard greens
  • In a large saute pan, heat bacon on low heat.
  • When bacon fat renders, add oil and garlic, saute until golden, about 1 minute.
  • Add chopped collards to the pan, season with salt to taste and cover.
  • Cook until the leaves are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 /4th, Calories: 73 kcal, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 4.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 1.5 mg, Sodium: 68 mg, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugar: 0.5 g


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55 comments on “Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon”

  1. Avatar photo
    Cindy Muschany

    I can’t seem to find collard greens but think this would be fantastic with shaved brussel sprouts!

  2. I’ve made this twice now and it doesn’t disappoint! The spices marry so nicely with the beef and the collard greens are perfect!

    1. If you read what she took the time to write, it says, ” If you are a vegetarian, just leave out the bacon.” 🙄🙄

  3. I have cooked collard greens this way for years. However, 10 minutes is not enough to make the greens tender enough to eat. But I think cooking them through is an ethnic thing. To improve the flavor especially if the greens are tough and bitter, use apple cider or white vinegar.

  4. I love this post, Gina!!  I’m a Southerner and have eaten greens all my life.  I’ve come now to agree with my mother that slick mustard greens are far better than collards or turnip greens.  They are milder, more flavorful and so enormously satisfying.   I live alone and never cook fewer than three bunches at a time.  I have a no-salt seasoning mix from Penzey’s that I use with salt, pepper and sautéed onion, garlic and diced jalepenos, seeds and all.  I never tire of them and could eat them every day.  

    On New Year’s, I cook a 1 lb bag of dried Camellia Lady Cream peas rather than black-eyed peas as they have a more refined flavor and texture.  Combined with brown rice, mustard greens and southern cornbread (stone-ground yellow cornmeal and NO sugar!!!), it’s heaven!

    1. Avatar photo
      Michelle Elliott

      Those that say “not vegetarian ” on her recipe she states to “leave the bacon out if vegetarian ”
      Obviously….Leave the bacon out if vegetarian…

      1. I cheated and used 16oz.bag of prewashed  chopped collard greens, added some chicken broth and I will never make them on the stove again. I’m from the north but live in the south and really enjoy collards….just never could make them the way my southern friends could on the stove taking an hour or more. They only took 20 mins in the IP! I sprinkle apple cider vinegar that I added pepper flakes to, to give them a kick. Love your site and recipes, Gina! Thank you. 

  5. OMG! These were sooo delicious. My 5 year old asked for more! We are from the south, and I never heard of sauteeing (?) collards. Now,I will never make them any other way! I did use two pieces of bacon instead of adding salt. Thank you for this recipe. Love it! I made with the Pernil, awesome also! You now have another fan.

  6. All this time I thought I didn't like collard greens. Turns out I just hadn't found a recipe to do them justice. Thank you so much!!!!

  7. So good! I added some diced shallots and finely diced red bell pepper, so delicious! This will be in the rotation.

  8. Just tried it this afternoon. I also added some diced onion to the mix. This was terrific. I can't wait to try other recipes.