Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens

October 9, 2019
Love collard greens?  Love cabbage?  The two are even better together than they are on their own! -- Especially if you like a milder-flavored version of collards.  Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens are seasoned with bacon, slow-simmered until super tender, and packed full with fabulous flavor.  They're a perfect comfort food side for Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Day, or any time that Southern collards craving hits.

Bowl of Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens Image

Having grown up in Vermont, I didn't grow up eating collard greens.  It just wasn't a dish with which we were real familiar.  But since moving to North Carolina, I have developed a love for the stuff.

I have to admit though, for me, collards were an acquired taste.  It did take me a while to grow into loving this distinctly-flavored green.

And while I love my own super tender and flavorful Southern Collard Greens recipe, I can't honestly say I love all collards I come across.  Sometimes? -- The collards are just not tender enough for me, or have a bit of a harsh, bitter flavor.

As tasty as collards and cabbage are on their own, I'm happy to report these 2 iconic greens are even better when they're together!

My husband, on the other hand, grew up in the South and grew up eating collards his whole life. They're one of his absolute favorite Southern dishes.  And he likes them any way, anyhow.

For me though, cabbage is a completely different story than my acquired-taste history with collards.  I have always loved cabbage, and am hard-pressed to think of a cabbage dish preparation I haven't liked.

So when I came across the idea of combining collards and cabbage together into one dish, I knew immediately it was an idea I had to try.  And as tasty as collards and cabbage are on their own, I'm happy to report these 2 iconic greens are even better when they're together!

My collards-loving husband agrees. -- He says this mixed collards & cabbage version is the best collard greens dish he's ever had.

Serving Spoon of Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens Image

To whip up a pot full of Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens, grab two large bunches of collard greens and one small head of green cabbage.  You'll wash and cut the collards just as you would to cook up a batch of traditional Southern Collard Greens (see my How to Cook Collard Greens: Step-by-Step post for tips on how to best wash and cut collards).  And you'll chop the cabbage into thin shreds.

But before I start cooking my collard greens, I make a flavor-packed cooking liquid to simmer the collards in. -- So I decided to follow the same method with this mixed greens collards and cabbage version.

The cooking liquid is a mixture of bacon, onion, and chicken broth with a bit of salt, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes.

I simmer the cooking liquid ingredients together for about 20 to 30 minutes so they develop a depth of flavor all of their own before the greens are added in.  That way, the cooking liquid can impart all its depth of flavor into the greens themselves as they simmer -- resulting in one super flavorful pot of greens.

Head of Cabbage and Bunch of Collard Greens Image

Once the cooking liquid is prepared, it's time to get those beautiful greens cooking.

Cabbage and collard greens have very different cooking times.  Collard greens take much more simmering time to become tender than cabbage does.  So in this dish, give the collards a head start.  If you don't, you'll end up with either undercooked tough collard greens, or overcooked mushy cabbage.

Place the washed and cut collard greens in the pot with the prepared cooking liquid and simmer them for an hour and a half on their own.

The flavor of the cabbage beautifully complements the bold flavor of the collards, mellowing them a bit and creating a fantastically milder collard greens dish.

Then, add in the cabbage and continue simmering the whole pot for another 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender.  Once the cabbage is done, the collards will be perfectly done too!

Both greens end up with a fabulously tender texture.  And the entire dish is packed with the deliciousness of slow-simmered collards, cabbage, and hints of onion and bacon.  The flavor of the cabbage beautifully complements the bold flavor of the collards, mellowing them a bit and creating a fantastically milder collard greens dish.

Collards and Cabbage Mixed Greens Image

So if my born-and-bred true Southern boy husband says these Southern Collards & Cabbage are the best collard greens he's ever had, who are we to argue?  I'll take him at his word!  Because I also happen to agree -- they're the best collards I've ever had, too.

Which makes them just the perfect comfort food side for Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Day, or any time that Southern collards craving hits.

Bowl of Collard Greens with Cabbage Image
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Southern recipes, collard greens and cabbage recipe, collard greens recipe, how to cook collards and cabbage, New Year's Day recipes
Side Dishes
Southern
Yield: about 12-16 servings
Author:

Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens

Love collard greens? Love cabbage? The two are even better together than they are on their own! Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens are seasoned with bacon, slow-simmered until super tender, and packed full with fabulous flavor. They're a perfect comfort food side for Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Day, or any time that Southern collards craving hits.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 2 H & 30 Mtotal time: 2 H & 55 M

ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches collard greens {about 2 to 2 & 1/2 pounds total}
  • 1 small cabbage {about 1 1/2 pounds}
  • 1 T. olive oil or canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 c. (32 oz.) chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes {optional}

instructions:

How to cook Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens

  1. Prepare the cooking liquid: Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Sauté chopped bacon and onion about 5 minutes until bacon is cooked and onion is tender. Add chicken broth, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes {if using}. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  2. Wash & cut the collards: While the cooking liquid simmers, wash and cut the collard greens. Separate the collard leaves; place in a very large bowl or clean sink and cover leaves with warm water. Add 2 teaspoons salt to act as a scrubbing agent. Gently scrub the collard leaves with your hands and then rinse. 
  3. One at a time, lay each leaf upside-down and spread out flat on a cutting board. Cut along each side of the spine in the center, cutting each leaf into two halves and completely removing the tough spine. Discard spines.
  4. Pile the cut collard leaves into several stacks and roll up each stack lengthwise. Slice each roll into 1-inch pieces, cutting the collard greens into ribbons.
  5. Cook the collards: Add collard greens to the pot and stir them into the cooking liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Prepare & cook the cabbage:  While the collards cook, rinse the cabbage and chop it into shreds.  After the collards have cooked for 1 1/2 hours, add shredded cabbage to the pot and stir into the collards and cooking liquid.  
  7. Increase the heat to return the pot to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes until cabbage is tender.
  8. When done, use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens from the cooking liquid to a serving bowl.
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You might also like these other Southern favorite recipes:
Southern Collards & Cabbage ~ Seasoned with bacon, slow-simmered until super tender, & packed full with fabulous flavor, collards & cabbage combine to create a milder version of collard greens. A perfect comfort food side for Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Day, or any time that Southern collards craving hits.  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


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