Perfect Southern Greens (Kale, Beet, Collard Greens, Mustard)

Total Time
4hrs 10mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 4 hrs

This recipe yields the best tasting greens I have ever eaten! I have yet to have a batch of bitter greens when cooked this way. This recipe has the potential to change the minds of green-haters and may even bring about a cute southern accent. Blanching the greens before adding to the slow cooker helps remove the natural bitterness. I usually make it with kale and beet greens but other greens work as well. The greens pair well with pilsner or an off-dry riesling, especially if you use the balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch beet leaves (collards, mustard, turnip) or 1 bunch other greens (collards, mustard, turnip)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced (discard seeds for less heat)
  • 12 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14 cup cubed ham (I used prepackage mini cubes)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 12 cups water (more if needed)
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar (optional)


  1. Tear greens into large pieces and discard the thick vein. Add greens to a pot of boiling salted water (I use kosher salt). Let boil for about 6 minutes. Drain and Rinse.
  2. While the greens are boiling, preheat a heavy skillet with olive oil, add onion and garlic; sauté until onions are lightly brown, add minced jalapeno peppers and cook for an additional minute or two.
  3. Put the sautéed onions in the slow-cooker then add the drained greens, ham, bacon, crushed red pepper and water.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours or until greens are tender.
  5. Serve with balsamic vinegar, optional.
Most Helpful

NcMystery; This is the way my family has been doing it since I was in three corner pants.(I'll be 80 in April). THE ONLY difference is that I cook the bacon and add the onions etc. to the bacon fat. Just an added flavor to relish. Where I come from pork rules and the only thing we never used was the oink. Simply because we couldn't catch it. Cap'n Jack

Firehousecook AKA Cap'n Jack March 14, 2010

Yehaw! We loved these! The dinner bell was a ringin' and the people came a runnin! I followed this exactly, and had a ham hock and threw that in as well. Wow! These are amazing, and I don't know about bitter greens, I've never had them, but I can tell you these are as smooth as a load of jello on a greased dish. It's great and beneficial to cook these low and slow, so all the special ingredients combine and marry in a perfect ceremony. Perfection on a country plate!

Andi of Longmeadow Farm April 08, 2011

I'm a veggie, so subbed a bit of sesame oil for the bacon---nice nutty flavor!

La Dilettante January 16, 2012