My Best Caveman Paleo Collard Greens Recipe

Collard Greens

What’s a collard green? Most likely the green part of a collard? What’s a collard? The part that’s not green?

Being Paleo, I don’t eat dairy products. Being a human being, I know that I need calcium to keep my bones looking like bones.  Collard greens are a good source of calcium. It turns out that they allegedly also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. In addition to this they are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and a bunch of other useful nutrients.

So, what are collard greens? They are a member of the cabbage family. Basically they are like a cabbage without a head. (The word “collard” means “headless cabbage” in some language. I suppose that makes sense. If a collar is something you wear around your neck, then it’s not a big leap to assume that collared becomes headless.)

Now that we know how good they are for you, and sort of what they are, how do you cook them? It takes about an hour and, when done right, they are very tasty.

Here is what you need:

About 2 pounds of collard greens

6 slices of bacon (fried until crispy, also save the bacon grease)

1 medium yellow onion (sliced or chopped)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

About a quart of water (enough to cover the greens by about 2 or 3 inches)

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

A large pot with a lid

Here is what you do:

First, wash each leaf on both sides to remove any residual sand or grit. Remove the stems and the ribs in each leaf. Some people soak the greens in a little salted water for an hour before cooking. (I’ve tried it both ways and can’t tell the difference.)

Put the greens, cooked bacon and the bacon grease, chopped onion, crushed red pepper and salt in a large covered pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. If the greens don’t seem tender cook a little longer. If you look at the old collard green recipes it just says to cook them for “a very long time”. Mine seem to turn out pretty good after about an hour to an hour and a half.

This dish is traditionally served with cornbread and they dip the bread in the left over juice or “liquor”. Because this is a Paleo recipe, I’m not going to suggest that. However, the juice is really good and is also nutrient dense. If you can find something to soak it up with you will enjoy it.

6 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    Collard greens are a great side dish. Hate to be stereotypical but this dish is seen as more a southern or African American dish. I love in the North and am white. I love all sorts of greens, collards, mustard, turnip, and beet. I have been making them for years. Mine aren’t quite as paleo as yours. I used a smoked ham hock. I also add carrots to the mix for some added flavor and color. My grandma taught me to add a dash of vinegar to the greens right before I eat it for some added tang. Great post and I would encourage anyone to try these for something tasty and nutritious.

    • admin #

      Sounds like your grandma was a good cook!

  2. 3

    I just washed some collards to make for the first time tonight. I have heard how nutritious they are but they are not the easiest to find so I have stuck with chard, kale etc.

    I am lightly sauteeing them in bacon grease with shallots and green onions. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

    • admin #

      I love swiss chard too. Thanks for your comment and please do let me know how your collards turn out.

  3. 5

    Kit, now this is a paleo recipe I can get behind! I LOVE collard greens! I’d cut way back on that crushed red pepper, though. But it might not be too much for a lot of people.

  4. 6

    Wonderful! I have been looking for info like this , thanks for posting, paleo diet.

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