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Bacon and Collard Greens

Updated on January 11, 2015

Bacon and Collard Greens Easy Recipe

Bacon is one of my favorite foods and I love using bacon as an ingredient in recipes, as a base for sauteeing and frying other foods and as a wonderful seasoning for main dishes and favorite entrees as well as in my side dishes.

If you are instantly wondering what the heck collard greens are, believe me I understand! If you grew up eating these delicious, nutritious greens and still love them, you may love them even more now. This easy delicious recipe combines the ultimate deliciousness of bacon (!) with the tasty, healthy almost meaty taste of collard greens.

For those of you not so familiar with collard greens, let me try to explain. It's kind of in the cabbage family, but it's not cabbage at all. It could easily remind you of kale with it's darky leafy appearance, but no it's not kale either. Collard greens much like spinach is packed full of nutrients in every bite. A great and tasty source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C , Vitamin K, a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and Iron just to name a few of it's wonderful qualities. I can honestly say I never tasted a collard green in my life until about a year ago. Cooking in New York City just didn't include collard greens. If I had to answer the final question on Jeopardy about collard greens, all I would guess is, What vegetable do they eat in the Southern States of the United States?

I would be kind of right but that's not the only place it's eaten and it's not just a vegetable you have to suffer through on the side of your main meal. Collard Greens are delicious.

Collard greens made with my easy bacon recipe is delicious, healthy and I know you will love it too!

Greens By The Bunch

Collard Greens By The Bunch
Collard Greens By The Bunch

The first time I bought collard greens, honestly I had no idea what to do with them! They come on long leafy stems and I bought them by the bunch already "tied" together. I decided to give them a try because, well I never had them before so I was curious and because always looking for great nutritional tips and foods - there were collard greens in every list of healthy foods.

So of course, I Googled some recipes. Commonly they are boiled and eaten with some spices added. Meh, it was OK. Traditionally down South it is cooked up with pork drippings or bacon. Bacon hmmm that caught my eye right away. But so many ingredients, seasonings, oily and still a little tough too.

Time for the creative spark that produced some great recipes from terrific basics - so here we go. I like all my recipes to be easy, if you have read my other recipes you recognize that will never change LOL. Have very few ingredients, be very tasty and delicious, have easy clean up and make me want to make it again.

I can't promise I actually am the only one who cooks Collard Greens this way, but I'm happy to share it the way I do it, cause it's yummy!

Greens Glorious Greens!: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens
Greens Glorious Greens!: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are more than just your side dish. Check out some of these amazing ways to bring green to life on your family's dinner plate.

 

Collard Greens To Start

Collard Green Freedom
Collard Green Freedom
The Leafy Greens Cookbook: 100 Creative, Flavorful Recipes Starring Super-Healthy Kale, Chard, Spinach, Bok Choy, Collards and More!
The Leafy Greens Cookbook: 100 Creative, Flavorful Recipes Starring Super-Healthy Kale, Chard, Spinach, Bok Choy, Collards and More!

Super healthy, nutritious and full of flavor recipes that are great for every day meals and entertaining.

 

To start preparing your fresh collard greens you want to use a cutting board or plate because you will definitely want to cut the big green leaves off of the stems they come with.

The big leaves may come kind of furled up but they should not look soggy or wilted. They should be a lovely and definite green color. Leaves that are yellow are overripe and will not taste good, cut them off if you do find any and just throw them away! And collard greens shouldn't smell. If you smell anything or a weird odor, they are past their prime - don't buy them - go for the green!

Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves
Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves

Vegans love the leafy greens and there are so many wonderful way to prepare collards that don't use bacon or animal products that may work for your lifestyle.

 

Stems Have Got To Go

Green Stems
Green Stems

The light green stems of collard greens have just got to go. They are hard and not the tasty part of this vegetable. They are very easy to cut though with any sharp knife, even a steak knife will do.

Cut the stems up high until you meet about the bottom of the leaves and separate them from the leaf.

Easy enough. Throw away the hard stems, keep the leaves. It doesn't look like much yet but hang in there, the good stuff is coming.

Collard Leaf Anatomy Lesson

Collard Green Leaves
Collard Green Leaves
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen

Paleo is my kind of food honestly. I am far from a vegetarian and really appreciate a great protein in my meal. Pairing up paleo with collard greens is a delicious cooking journey.

 

Collard greens are a gift from nature growing on farms, growing on roots that are in the ground, to stems that connect to the leaves and ribs that branch off from the stem and grow through the leaves. Well that's my basic version of a collard green bunch of leaves.

The stem, roots spine and the smaller midribs that run through the leaves are super fibrous to very hard to chew and we are going to trim them all off and keep only the tastiest part of the green, the leaves themselves. See the thick spine on the back of this collard green? We are going to easily trim that off and throw it away!

Green Leaves

Green Leaves
Green Leaves

Go for the green leaves. It is really easy to trim them I promise. I'm the type of cook who doesn't like to have to chop too much, fight with cutting off skin and bone, I don't even like to have to mallet my chicken breasts - it's just way too time consuming and complicated!

Trim right down the "spine" of the leaf until you are left with a nice green section on either side. That's the yummy stuff right there. Save that, I usually put the leaves in a bowl or colander because after we cut them all it will be time for their bath.

Rinse Rinse Rinse

Southern White Folk’s Soul Food Cookbook
Southern White Folk’s Soul Food Cookbook

Southern cooking has all the flair of comfort food, rich delicious generations of recipes and collard greens - everyone from the South knows their greens.

 

After your leaves are removed from the spines it's time to give them a little bath. You want to rinse your collard green leaves to remove any grit or any of nature's gifts that came along with the leaves.

I usually find after I rinse them off they start perking up and look a little greener and brighter after their wash.

You don't usually have to scrub the leaves, just a nice rinse and run your hand over them and drain, then it's time cook.

Collard Green Poll
Collard Green Poll

Do you love collard greens, or hate them? Have you ever tasted them before? Share your collard green history with us!

Collard Greens: The Poll

See results

Skillets Work Great

Cooking Skillet Style
Cooking Skillet Style

Skillets work perfect for my bacon and collard greens recipe, but any frying pan or sauté pan will do fine. Non-stick is best because I don't use any additional oil, butter or even cooking spray. If you don't have non-stick pans you can certainly spray some non-stick spray first.

I like to get the skillet nice and hot first. Not burning and crackling but just hot enough so that when you drop the bacon in you get that nice, happy shhhhh of a sizzle.

It's a good idea to use a nice size skillet or fry pan to start because at first a whole bunch of collard greens will be piled high in the pan until it wilts down, which it does pretty quickly.

Click the skillet photo to visit my Cooking With a Skillet lens!

Bacon Time

Bacon Time
Bacon Time

It's bacon time and for me, it's always bacon time. Our collard greens are trimmed, washed and ready so that means it's time to cut the bacon. I buy any brand of bacon slices. Remove four to six slices of bacon from the package (depending on how much you love bacon!) and cut each slice into thirds.

Serve Every Meal With Style
Serve Every Meal With Style

Serve It Up In Style

Serve everything you cook in style with beautiful place mats, cute serving trays and even colorful napkins. It makes every meal fun whether it's a throw together snack or a gourmet delight!

Cook The Bacon

Bacon Cooking
Bacon Cooking

With our skillet heated up just right it's time to add the bacon. I love to use bacon as my replacement for the "oil" and seasoning in a recipe when I can. No need to add cooking spray, or butter or for me, any other seasoning because bacon is it's own pre-packaged recipe of goodness.

Add the bacon and let it start to brown.

Don't let the bacon cook all the way through because it will continue cooking and you don't want it to burn before the collards are cooked. Just a little bit of browning on each bacon slice is a good place to start.

By now your mouth is watering and your house probably is starting to smell like bacon heaven. I'm never afraid to add extra slices of bacon when I make this because I already know my family loves it! I wouldn't add the whole package because then it's too salty and bacon-y tasting but 6 to 8 slices leaves a few leftover for me to nibble on after it's all cooked.

Now you are getting the bacon goodness throughout the pan and it's time to add the collard greens.

Greens Over Bacon

Green Over Bacon
Green Over Bacon

Fresh Greens and Cooking Recipes

Collard greens are healthy, nutritional and so often overlooked in our journey for green cooking, adding greens to our diet and are so much more than just a vegetable or salad green. Eat it as a side dish, a main dish or have it for lunch or dinner. Breakfast omelettes with collard greens - delicious!

If you have by passed the greens in your search for kale, spinach, chard and paleo style diets - try my recipe or try some of these easy and delicious collard green recipes too.

Add your collard green leaves right over the bacon that is by now sizzling in your skillet. You may have a lot of it piled high. Don't worry, it will wilt with the heat - in fact if you have a lot of green leaves cut up and they won't all fit at once add them a little at a time as you have room when the leaves wilt.

When the collards start to wilt, use a large nylon fork or safe for your non-stick pan cooking utensil and start to fold the greens into the bacon. Little by little, the leaves are starting to wilt, the bacon is starting to cling to the beautiful leaves and a beautiful relationship is cooking up right in your kitchen.

Cooking It Up Together

Bacon and Collard Greens
Bacon and Collard Greens

The final recipe step is to keep the collard greens wilting until they are soft and no longer firm. But be careful, you don't want them to get squishy and mushy either like creamed spinach. You want them to have a little texture but no crunch.

At the same time, you don't want your bacon to burn because now it's been cooking for a little bit so it's a good time to stir and fold frequently. This keeps the greens and the bacon slices cooking to just the right flow and brings together the flavors gently but encouragingly.

The greens are getting greener now, the bacon is getting crispy but not burned. This is what I call a delicious easy recipe. All of this has taken only about 10 minutes in the skillet.

Today's Lunch Time Special

Lunch Time Special
Lunch Time Special

Just as I was cooking up my bacon and collard greens, I heard my front door open. First my oldest daughter popped by to visit and decided she picked just the right time to come by. Within minutes the door opened again and I heard "Hi Mom" because my youngest daughter also stopped by to borrow a stick of butter to bake her famous chocolate chip cookies. Yum she said, what smells good, could it be lunch for me!

Collard greens! They had never eaten collard greens. I never made it for them before, it was still kind of new to me and I didn't start cooking it until after they had moved out to their own homes. What is this they both asked! How are we going to eat it!

So I decided that today it would be part of our fun lunch time visit. I toasted up some flat breads, added some butter that melted nicely on the warm toast, on top of that I added a slice of provolone cheese, then a thin layer of collard greens and bacon.

Did they love it! I could tell they did when each had a second helping and there was no more bacon and collard greens in the dish.

Bacon and collard greens I discovered are delicious by themselves, but even better when shared with people you love!

Microwave Bacon Cooker - The Original Makin' Bacon Microwave Bacon Rack - Reduces Fat up to 35%
Microwave Bacon Cooker - The Original Makin' Bacon Microwave Bacon Rack - Reduces Fat up to 35%

If bacon in the oven and bacon on the stove is still too messy for you how about a microwave bacon rack for super easy cooking

 

Bacon Gone Wild

Bacon is one of my favorite treats in life. While the world debates whether it is healthy or bad, nutritious or harmful - I'm busy eating and enjoying it, OK, in moderation - but isn't that how everything in life should be anyway!

Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence
Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence

Bacon and more bacon. Why do we love bacon - how do we love bacon - let me count the ways!

 
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

Great Plates

Serve your favorite recipes on great plates. Big platters or smaller serving plates are so much fun and really express who you are. Buy matching sets or even more fun, all different ones in all different sizes perfect for eating off of or serving the whole family party.

Omaha Steaks 100 Precooked Bacon Slices (12 oz. pkg.)
Omaha Steaks 100 Precooked Bacon Slices (12 oz. pkg.)

A gift delight custom ordered what could be better than a bulk package of 100 bacon slices.

 

Food Art

Food Art
Food Art

Food art should look just like this! The wonderful color green representing healthy nutritious vitamins, irons and omegas mixed with the wonderful flavor of bacon.

Beautiful to look at, easy to prepare and wonderful to eat and serve. This is a photo close up of my finished product.

Will it be a side dish today or even a dinner main entrée? Today's special bacon and collard greens turned into a lunchtime special and was gobbled up almost before I could finish taking pictures to share with you!

Menu Ideas
Menu Ideas

Menu Ideas

Bacon and collard greens have a lot in common really. They not only go together perfectly as a great recipe but together they are a great dining delight when served with some of my other favorite foods.

As different as their culinary background is, amazingly they pair together beautifully. Anything you can cook in a skillet will taste even better if you add bacon and collard greens. From a beautiful steak to perfectly cooked lamb or pork chops what would go better than some greens on the side and bacon in the skillet while it is all cooking.

You can read more about my favorite skillet cooking here: Cooking Skillet Style

Bacon and eggs and collard greens, how simply delicious. What a wonderful fritatta or omelette you can make and everyone knows nothing goes better with eggs than wonderful bacon.

Instead of a spinach omelette with bacon on the side, consider one with collard greens and bacon in one delicious dish.

How about some gourmet egg salad with finely chopped bacon and greens added in for a wonderful exotic blend of taste sensation.

For some hard boiled egg cooking tips: Hard Boiled Egg Magic

Be creative. Have fun with the basic bacon and collard greens recipe first so you can be familiar with it's wonderful texture and taste.

You can keep your collard green leaves wide and big, cut them down a little in size leaving rectangles and squares that wilt together nicely in a heaping forkful. If you prefer you can shred the leaves sideways for an easier serving every time and not worry about the leaf being too big per bite. Or you can even chop your greens up so that it blends even better into every tasty dish you mix it with.

Whether you love casseroles or stews, skillet meats, sausage and potatoes or just a wonderful serving of bacon and collard greens, I hope you enjoy our delicious recipe today.

I hope you enjoyed your visit with our photo recipe for Bacon and Collard Greens. I love easy delicious recipes and I love to share so thank you for stopping by! What do you think, will you give it a try, or maybe you already love your own Bacon and Collard Greens Recipe.

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      mrdata 4 years ago

      Congrats for your LOTD! I Best wishes to you and thanks for bacon and collard green recipe!