Easy Braised Southern Greens Recipe

5 from 1 vote
45 minutes
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Eating your leafy greens has never been more delicious–or easy! Bacon adds a punch of flavor to the turnip and mustard greens in this Easy Braised Southern Greens recipe that is healthy and comforting! Serve with my Shrimp and Crab Seafood Casserole for a lovely Southern-style meal!

“This recipe is simple and wonderful! Turned out great! Thank you!” — Pinterest Review

Braised Southern Greens in oval serving bowl with serving spoon on light blue background.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Being from Wisconsin, I had never made or eaten Southern-style braised greens or other Southern-style dishes like Fried Cabbage with Bacon before moving to Tennessee. So, I was pretty befuddled the first time I had to cook Southern-style greens for a personal chef client.

Thankfully I got some coaching from two lovely Southern ladies in the grocery store that day. Their advice:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Combine turnip and mustard greens.
  • To add flavor to the greens, use bacon for ease instead of ham hocks or other smoked meats.

Perfect! This Easy Southern Braised Greens recipe is all of that!

I’ve been doing it their way ever since and have pleased some pretty discriminating Southern palates! And now I’m hooked on them, too!

Let’s make these lovely braised greens!

Braised Southern Greens in oval serving bowl with serving spoon.

How to Make Braised Southern Greens:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this braised greens recipe along with how to prep. See the greens recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Braised Southern Greens

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Turnip Greens: Turnip greens taste a little like turnips–peppery with a touch of bitterness. They can be muddy, so be sure to wash them well. You may be able to find bagged greens that are ready to cook. You can also use collard greens.
  • Mustard Greens: Like other dark leafy greens, mustard greens are slightly bitter but with a spicy mustard flavor. The mustard flavor is not overpowering but mellows with cooking. These can also be muddy, so wash them well unless you use bagged greens ready to cook. You can also use collard greens.
  • Bacon: Use pork bacon, turkey, or beef.
  • White Vinegar: The least expensive vinegar! Apple cider or red wine vinegar may be substituted.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients for the braised greens.
  • Wash the greens thoroughly and coarsely chop.
  • Place the bacon in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Cook over medium heat until it’s nice and crisp.
  • Tip the pot and remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. (You can keep it all if you don’t mind the added saturated fat.)
  • Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
Chicken broth and bacon in white Dutch oven.
  • Add the greens by the handful, allowing each addition to wilt before adding the next.
  • Reduce the heat, then cover it with a slightly ajar lid.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the greens are tender.
  • Add white vinegar, hot sauce and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • A little horseradish (optional) takes these greens over the top!
Greens in white Dutch oven being stirred with white spoon.
  • That’s it! Healthy and delicious Easy Braised Southern Greens!
Braised Southern Greens in white oval serving bowl.

Chef Tip:

  • Short on time? Use precooked bacon or recipe-ready bacon pieces available in the grocery store’s salad dressing section. You won’t have the bacon grease, but it will still add flavor.
Braised Southern Greens in oval serving bowl with serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the origin of braised greens?

Most Americans have come to associate greens (collards in particular) with the American south. It is believed that braised greens originated with Africans brought here to be slaves. However, they actually originated in northern Europe. Though greens did not originate in Africa, the habit of eating greens that have been cooked down into a gravy and drinking the juices from the greens (known as “pot likker”) is of African origin.

What do braised greens mean?

Braising greens means that they’re cooked in both fat and liquid such as this braised greens recipe.

What do you serve with Southern greens?

Traditionally, black-eyed peas and cornbread are served alongside, but almost any Southern-inspired dish will do! Serve alongside my:

Crustless Southern Tomato Pie
Nashville Style Hot Fried Chicken
Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Gouda Cheese
Turkey Picadillo

Braised Southern Greens in bowl with spoon scooping some up.

More easy green sides!

Get all my delicious vegetable recipes here! Vegetable Side Dishes – From A Chef’s Kitchen

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Braised Southern Greens in oval serving bowl with serving spoon on light blue background.

Easy Braised Southern Greens Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Eating your leafy greens has never been more delicious–or easy! Bacon adds an extra punch of flavor to the turnip and mustard greens in Easy Braised Southern Greens that is both healthy and comforting!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Vegetables
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4
Calories 180 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices bacon - turkey, pork or beef, sliced into small pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large bunch turnip greens - washed, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large bunch mustard greens - washed, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar - or to taste
  • Tabasco sauce - to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish - (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place bacon in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly browned and crisp.
  • Tip the pot and remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from the Dutch oven.
  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add greens by the handful, waiting in between each addition until the greens wilt.
  • Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook 20-25 minutes or until greens are tender.
  • Add vinegar, tabasco, horseradish if using, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS:  You can substitute collards, kale or Swiss chard for the turnip and mustard greens.
MAKE AHEAD:  The greens can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly and freeze in portions as desired.  Thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave.  Reheat until thoroughly heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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