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Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

Indulge in the rich and comforting flavors of the South with this smoky collard greens recipe. This dish is a delightful blend of sweet and smoky flavors, wrapped up with the hearty, nutritious collard greens. It's a perfect side dish that brings warmth and satisfaction in every bite.

Smoky Collard Greens Recipe
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You might not have collard greens readily available in your pantry, as they are a bit specific to certain cuisines, especially Southern and African. They are leafy green vegetables similar to kale. They can be found in most supermarkets, particularly in the produce section. Another ingredient to look out for is liquid smoke which is used to give a smoky flavor. It can be found in the condiments aisle at your local supermarket.

Smoky Collard Greens Recipe Ingredients

Olive oil: A healthy choice of fat that adds a depth of flavor to the dish.

Onion: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor that balances the bitterness of the greens.

Garlic: Gives a kick of flavor and aroma which complements the other ingredients.

Collard greens: A nutrient-rich green vegetable that is the star of this dish.

Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and helps to caramelize the greens.

Molasses: Helps to deepen the flavor and adds a hint of sweetness.

Liquid smoke flavoring: Gives the dish its distinct smoky flavor.

Salt: Enhances the flavors of the dish.

Black pepper: Adds a bit of heat and sharpness to the dish.

One reader, Freddi Gillette says:

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This smoky collard greens recipe is a game-changer! The combination of molasses and liquid smoke creates a rich, smoky flavor that perfectly complements the tender collard greens. It's a must-try for anyone looking to elevate their greens game. Highly recommended!

Freddi Gillette

Techniques for Preparing Smoky Collard Greens

How to sauté onions and garlic: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

How to prepare collard greens: Wash the collard greens thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or grit. Remove the tough stems and ribs, then chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

How to season with liquid smoke: When adding the liquid smoke flavoring, start with a small amount and taste the greens before adding more. Liquid smoke can be quite potent, so it's best to add a little at a time to achieve the desired smoky flavor without overpowering the dish.

How to simmer collard greens: After bringing the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the collard greens to simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are tender. Check and stir occasionally, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking.

How To Make Smoky Collard Greens

For a vegan take on collard greens without smoked meat, try this collard greens recipe which uses only liquid smoke for the same smoky taste. The natural smoky and earthy flavors are then balanced by sweet molasses.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



  • 1tbspolive oil
  • 1cuponionchopped
  • 2clovesgarlic
  • 2lbscollard greensrinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1tbspbrown sugar
  • 1tbspmolasses
  • 1tbspliquid smoke flavoring
  • saltto taste
  • ground black pepperto taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Place chopped collard greens in a pot, and add water to cover.

  2. Stir in brown sugar, molasses, and liquid smoke. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until greens are tender.


  • Calories: 97.77kcal
  • Fat: 3.23g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.41g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.70g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.56g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.48g
  • Fiber: 6.67g
  • Sugar: 5.93g
  • Protein: 4.98g
  • Sodium: 439.90mg
  • Calcium: 370.03mg
  • Potassium: 426.02mg
  • Iron: 1.03mg
  • Vitamin A: 379.66µg
  • Vitamin C: 55.66mg

Helpful Technique for Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

When preparing your collard greens, make sure to remove the tough stems and ribs before chopping. This will ensure that all parts of the greens are tender and flavorful after simmering. Additionally, to enhance the smoky flavor, you could also consider using smoked salt instead of regular salt.

Time-Saving Tips for Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop and wash the collard greens in advance to save time on the day of cooking.

Use pre-chopped onions: Opt for pre-chopped onions to skip the time-consuming task of chopping them yourself.

Quick-cook method: Consider using a pressure cooker to significantly reduce the cooking time for the collard greens.

Batch cooking: Make a large batch of smoky collard greens and freeze the leftovers for future quick and easy meals.

Efficient multitasking: While the collard greens are simmering, use the time to prepare other components of your meal to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Substitute Ingredients For Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar high smoke point and mild flavor, making it a suitable substitute for olive oil in this recipe.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, which can complement the collard greens without overpowering them.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a similar flavor without the need for mincing or sautéing.

  • collard greens - Substitute with kale: Kale can be used as a substitute for collard greens, offering a similar texture and flavor profile when cooked.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can add a touch of sweetness and depth of flavor, similar to brown sugar, in the smoky collard greens recipe.

  • molasses - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a substitute for molasses, providing a sweet and slightly caramelized flavor to the dish.

  • liquid smoke flavoring - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can impart a smoky flavor similar to liquid smoke, enhancing the dish with its rich and aromatic profile.

  • salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for regular salt, adding a subtle briny flavor to the collard greens.

  • ground black pepper - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can be used to add a spicy kick similar to black pepper, elevating the flavor profile of the dish.

Presenting Smoky Collard Greens

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the smoky collard greens in a visually appealing manner, using edible flowers or microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a crunchy element such as crispy shallots or toasted pine nuts to provide contrast to the tender collard greens.

  3. Utilize elegant serving ware: Present the smoky collard greens in a sophisticated manner, perhaps in a porcelain dish or on a slate platter to enhance the overall presentation.

  4. Garnish with precision: Add a sprinkle of smoked sea salt or a drizzle of balsamic reduction to add a touch of finesse and elevate the flavors of the dish.

  5. Consider the visual balance: Pay attention to the color contrast on the plate, perhaps by serving the collard greens alongside a vibrant roasted carrot puree or a pickled vegetable medley to create a visually stunning composition.

Essential Tools for Making Smoky Collard Greens

  • Large pot: A large, sturdy pot is essential for cooking the collard greens and ensuring they cook evenly.
  • Sauté pan: This will be used to sauté the onions and garlic before adding them to the pot with the collard greens.
  • Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for chopping the collard greens into manageable pieces.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a stable surface for chopping the collard greens and other ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons: These are needed to accurately measure the brown sugar, molasses, and liquid smoke flavoring.
  • Stirring spoon: A sturdy stirring spoon is essential for mixing the ingredients and ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  • Tongs: Tongs will be useful for stirring and turning the collard greens as they cook.
  • Lid for the pot: A lid is necessary for covering the pot and simmering the collard greens to perfection.

Storing and Freezing Smoky Collard Greens

  • Allow the collard greens to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the smoky collard greens, portion them into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents for easy identification later on.
  • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, where they will keep for up to 6 months.
  • When ready to eat, thaw the collard greens in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat the thawed greens in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through. You may need to add a little water or broth to restore the desired consistency.
  • If you prefer, you can also reheat the frozen collard greens directly in a pot over low heat, stirring frequently and adding liquid as needed until they are heated through and reach the desired consistency.
  • Enjoy your reheated smoky collard greens as a delicious and nutritious side dish!

How To Reheat Leftover Smoky Collard Greens

  • Reheat smoky collard greens in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through (about 5-7 minutes). This method helps to preserve the texture and flavor of the greens.

  • For a quick and easy reheating option, microwave the collard greens in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a damp paper towel, for 1-2 minutes on high power. Stir the greens halfway through to ensure even heating.

  • If you prefer a slightly crispy texture, reheat the collard greens in a skillet over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil or butter. Stir frequently until the greens are heated through and slightly crispy around the edges (about 3-5 minutes).

  • For a hands-off approach, reheat the smoky collard greens in a covered casserole dish in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. This method is ideal if you're reheating a large quantity of greens.

  • To add extra flavor and moisture to leftover collard greens, stir in a small amount of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water when reheating. This will help to revitalize the greens and prevent them from drying out.

Interesting Fact About Smoky Collard Greens

Collard greens are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They are also high in fiber and low in calories, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

Is Making Smoky Collard Greens at Home Cost-Effective?

This smoky collard greens recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. Collard greens are affordable and packed with nutrients, making this dish a budget-friendly option. The addition of liquid smoke flavoring provides a rich, smoky flavor without the need for expensive meats. With simple ingredients like onion, garlic, and molasses, this recipe offers great value for money. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this recipe a solid 9 for its affordability and delicious results. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10, making it a wallet-friendly choice.

Are Smoky Collard Greens Healthy or Unhealthy?

The smoky collard greens recipe is a nutritious dish with some room for improvement. Here's a breakdown of the recipe's health aspects:

Healthy elements:

  • Collard greens are a nutrient-dense leafy green, rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants
  • Onion and garlic provide additional vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids that support overall health
  • Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat source

Less healthy elements:

  • Brown sugar and molasses add extra calories and sugar to the dish
  • Liquid smoke flavoring may contain additives and preservatives
  • Salt content could be high, depending on the amount used

While the recipe showcases the nutritional benefits of collard greens, a few tweaks can enhance its healthiness:

  • Reduce the amount of brown sugar and molasses, or replace them with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
  • Use a smaller amount of liquid smoke flavoring, or opt for smoked paprika or chipotle powder for a natural smoky flavor
  • Control the salt content by using low-sodium vegetable broth instead of water, and adjust seasoning to taste
  • Add other nutrient-rich ingredients, such as diced tomatoes, bell peppers, or carrots, to boost the dish's vitamin and mineral content
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices, like red pepper flakes or thyme, to create a flavorful dish with less reliance on salt and sugar

Editor's Opinion on This Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

This smoky collard greens recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The combination of savory onion and garlic, sweet brown sugar and molasses, and the smoky depth of the liquid smoke creates a rich and satisfying dish. The slow simmering process allows the collard greens to absorb all the delicious flavors, resulting in tender and flavorful greens. This recipe is a wonderful way to elevate collard greens to a new level, making it a perfect side dish for any meal.

Enhance Your Smoky Collard Greens Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Juicy corn on the cob, grilled to perfection and brushed with a savory herb butter.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese: Indulgent macaroni and cheese, baked until golden and bubbly with a crispy breadcrumb topping.

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Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Smoky Collard Greens Recipe

Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Combine creamy spinach and artichoke dip with crispy tortilla chips for a delightful start to your meal. The rich and savory flavors will leave your guests wanting more.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Indulge in the earthy and savory flavors of stuffed mushrooms, filled with a delicious blend of cheeses, herbs, and breadcrumbs. These bite-sized treats are perfect for any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crunchy oat topping. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate treat.

Why trust this Smoky Collard Greens Recipe:

This recipe for smoky collard greens is a must-try for anyone looking to elevate their collard greens game. The combination of brown sugar, molasses, and liquid smoke flavoring creates a rich and smoky flavor that will tantalize your taste buds. The use of olive oil and garlic adds depth to the dish, while the addition of onion brings a sweet and savory balance. With these high-quality ingredients, you can trust that this recipe will deliver a delicious and satisfying dish that's perfect for any occasion.

Share your thoughts on this Smoky Collard Greens Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum.
How can I make the collard greens less bitter?
You can make the collard greens less bitter by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes before cooking. This will help to mellow out the bitterness.
Can I use a different type of greens for this recipe?
Yes, you can use different types of greens such as kale or mustard greens for this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time as needed based on the type of greens you use.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. Simply cook the collard greens as directed, let them cool, and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat them on the stovetop when ready to serve.
How can I adjust the smoky flavor if I don't have liquid smoke?
If you don't have liquid smoke, you can achieve a similar smoky flavor by adding a small amount of smoked paprika or chipotle powder to the recipe.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze the leftovers. Allow the collard greens to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply thaw and reheat when ready to enjoy.

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