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

5 5

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

5 5

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!

4 5

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