Heart Healthy from WakeMed Heart Center

Traditional Collards

September 11, 2013 |

Traditional Collards | Flavor, NC

Recipe courtesy of Chef Rodney Lloyd
as seen on episode “Pine Knot Farms“, season 3

Serves 8-10


  • 4 bunches of Fresh Collards (or one large bag of washed collard leaves)
  • 1 large White Onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped bacon (may also use 12 oz sliced bacon, fry to almost fully cooked and dice up)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 oz olive oil or 1/4 pound butter
  • 2, 32 oz cans Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth…may also use plain water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Wash and stem collards. Stem collards by holding the stem firmly in one hand, and with other firmly pull collard leaf away from base of stem (like you are making a “safe” sign for baseball). Place them in an empty sink. Fill the sink with cold water. Wash the collards, rubbing them with your hands to remove any surface dirt. Drain sink, and refill with cold water. Repeat washing. Drain. Fill with cold water and wash a third time. Remove the collards from the sink, shake excess water off and tear collards into large pieces and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water, chicken stock/broth or vegetable stock/broth to almost cover the collards.
  • Boil the collards for 30 minutes, periodically turning over the collards. No need to boil hard- just regular boil. May be covered or uncovered- your choice.
  • While collards are boiling, slice one large white onion into 1/2 in wide slices and put in saute pan with a SMALL pinch of crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup of bacon and the olive oil or butter.  Saute mixture until onions are translucent- DO NOT BROWN onions. Remove from saute pan and set aside.
  • After collards have turned bright green and are semi soft, set colander in sink and drain collards of their liquid into the colander.  DO NOT SAVE THE COLLARD WATER.  Run cold water over the collards to rinse off remaining liquid and then dump them back into the same pot you used to boil them.  Add the onion-bacon-crushed red mixture to the top of the collards, add 1/4 cup of cider vinegar and the rest of your broth.
  • Put back on stove top, bring to a low boil and cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring and folding collards and mixture together.
  • Remove from stove top and serve or store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chef’s Note: I like to store them in the liquid to retain flavor.  These collards will be sweet and tender since we removed the bitterness from the first boiling.  Some refer to the initial boiled water as the “pot liquor” and some like drinking it straight or using as a stock for other cooking.  It is really bitter, but full of vitamins.

Heart Healthy by WakeMed Heart Center

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Heart Healthy Tips

Collards are:

  • Highly nutritious and low in calories
  • Good source of Vitamins A, C and K, calcium and iron
  • Contain 3 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving
  • Try using half the recommended amount of fat when preparing in a recipe

NOTE: If you take Warfarin (Coumadin®), foods high in Vitamin K (such as leafy greens like collards) may affect the way your medication works. If you do eat Vitamin K-rich foods, eat the same amount each day and throughout the year. Do not eat a small amount one day and a large amount the next. If you have any questions or concerns about eating leafy greens, please talk to your doctor.

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