Soul Food Twist: Terrific Tasting Collard Greens

Soul Food Twist: Terrific Tasting Collard Greens

Ah… the mighty collard green. This hearty and healthy side side is a soul food staple, and I can’t remember a Sunday or holiday that would not find these tasty green gracing the table.

Wonderfully nutritious collard leaves are very low in calories (provide only 30 cal per 100 g) and contain no cholesterol. However, these leafy greens contain very good amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that helps control LDL cholesterol levels and also; offers protection against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases.

Traditionally, collard greens are simmered with pieces of ham hock and/or salt pork to impart a smoky, meaty flavor to the wilted greens. However, that also tends to make the greens extremely salty and not good for folks looking to control their sodium intake.

Because my goal is to do healthy takes on traditional soul food dishes, I definitely saw an opportunity to improve the basic recipe, with a few changes. Using a smoked turkey drumstick and garlic and red pepper flakes help to flavor without the extra salt. Enjoy!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup of chopped red onions
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener (sugar, honey, Splenda,  or even brown sugar)
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 smoked turkey drumstick
  • 5 bunches collard greens – rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and gently saute until garlic is light brown, and onions are translucent. Pour in the chicken stock, sweetener and add the turkey leg. Cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the collard greens to the cooking pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the greens cook down for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the greens are tender and dark green, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain greens, reserving liquid. Mix in red pepper flakes if desired. Use liquid to reheat leftovers.

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