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
Print WW Personal Points
4.2 from 5 votes
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Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon

73 Cals 3 Protein 7 Carbs 4.5 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Side Dish
CUISINE: American
Thinly sliced collard greens sautéed with bacon, garlic, and olive oil is the perfect side dish for New Year’s Day.


  • 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.


Serving: 1/4th, Calories: 73kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 4.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 1.5mg, Sodium: 68mg, Fiber: 2.5g, Sugar: 0.5g
WW Points Plus: 2
Keywords: collard greens with bacon, how to cook collard greens, new years day food, Sauteed Collard Greens with Bacon

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  1. Very tasty! Was a great side for Garlic Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash

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

  3. 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!

  4. These were amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Why are these greens cooked with BACON tagged “vegetarian”

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. this not  Vegetarian  with bacon in it. 

  9. I can’t wait to try this in my Instant Pot! Gina- have you tried it that way yet?

    • Not yet, let me know if you do!

      • 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. 

  10. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when the collard greens are done?

  11. Great with caramelized onion as well. And scrambled eggs to complete the meal! Yum!!

  12. Yes I tried it at my place and it is a wonderful recipe. Good to see more recipies. .

  13. I just tried this recipe and my first time cooking collards. Delicious!

  14. 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.

  15. Will turnip greens work just as well?

  16. 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!!!!

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

  18. So, so good! Neither of us had ever eaten them before and they were absolutely delicious!

  19. 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.

  20. My computer is literally slowing down because I have so many tabs of your recipes open 🙂
    This one looks sooo delicious. I'm vegetarian but I love me some Morningstar bacon so I want to try using that. I know you don't get the bacon fat which probably flavors the dish, but the taste will still be there!

  21. This turned out great. I had a huge bunch of swiss chard in my fridge and used that instead of the collard greens. Turned out amazing. Thanks for this.

  22. Fredah, turkey bacon has come a long way, so give it a try!

    So happy you guys tried this, I love my collards and I think it's a vegetable that's commonly overlooked.

  23. Had this for dinner with Pork Pernil and Cuban Black Beans. Oh my word. So great. First time eating Collard Greens and I can't believe what I've been missing! Thanks so much for all of your wonderful recipes!

  24. We made this for supper tonight with the pernil and brown rice. It was very filling and wonderful. These collard greens were so rich-tasting, even with only one piece of bacon. I'll add them to my recipe collection. Thanks for an easy and delicious recipe for cooked greens!

  25. Gina-
    My husband and I don't eat pork. (Sorry bacon lovers!) So are you sure it is better to leave the turkey bacon out and make it plain? Any suggestions for a good, healthy substitute?

  26. Gina, this was fantastic! We made it last night with your pernil recipe. I've never made collard greens before- what an introduction! Thanks so much!!!

  27. Nicole, just read your comment, good for you, your mom should be proud!

    Loryn, with eggs, that is interesting!!

  28. Caroline, it's confusing sometimes, isn't it? Bacon makes everything better!

  29. Ok, so I was being dumb with the last comment. I can't tell the difference between cooked and raw bacon. 🙂

    I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. My husband is obsessed with bacon so maybe he'll try some veggies for once.

  30. Made it and loved it! It was so nice to get that great bacon flavor in the greens.

  31. I cook kale greens like this. Sometimes I add small diced onions. A little bacon goes a long way. And it does taste better with it.

  32. Thanks Fred!!

    I used real bacon, I would leave the bacon out instead of using turkey bacon, just my preference.

  33. Did you use pork or turkey bacon? What is your preference

  34. Just wanted to post my first comment.. You're AWESOME !! I tried a lot of your recipes and it has always been so yummy.. Thanks so much for your blog, you rock !!!

  35. I've never tried collard greens, when I do, I'd like them cooked this way! ANYTHING is better with bacon!!!

  36. About to try this recipe! Very excited.

  37. Yummy, this looks delicious!

  38. Hi Gina,
    I'm 19 and I'm trying to find easy dishes for me to make, while also helping my mom eat better for her weight watchers! We both love greens, so I'm very excited to try this recipe! I've been bookmarking your recipes all day! Can't wait to try them!

    Thanks so much, my mom will be proud of me.

  39. My boyfriend is Brazilian and we make these with a few scrambled eggs instead of bacon and it is soo yummy! Also good for vegetarians. They really do go so well with beans!

  40. Welcome Jill!

  41. Hello!

    My friend just told me about your blog and I am so glad I stopped by to check it out! However I am quite hungry visiting here, lol. I am your newest follower and look forward to visiting often. 🙂 Have a great day and a wonderful new year!!


  42. What's great is collards are usually less than a dollar a bunch so it's also great for the wallet! Enjoy 🙂

  43. Yum… That is all 🙂

    Semalee @ Nailing Jello to a Tree

  44. Thanks for the recipe! I've been looking for a great easy collard recipe. I can't wait to make this for my family!

  45. This makes me want to try collard greens. On the grocery list they go! Thanks Gina!

  46. I've never tried collard greens but I'm on the hunt now to try this recipe!

  47. Yum! Extra bacon for me! 😉

  48. I absolutely LOVE collard greens!Cannot wait to try this!!!

  49. I LOVE collard greens, can't wait to try this.