These easy honey cider collard greens are a little sweet and a lot savory. Made with apple cider vinegar, honey, and garlic, these collards are perfect for New Year’s Day and all year!
This honey cider collard greens recipe was originally published in 2013 updated on December 26 with new photos!
Growing up in the Carolinas, I always knew what would be on the dinner table come New Year’s Day. Without fail, my Grandma would make collard greens, Hoppin’ John (field peas and rice), cornbread, and meat (usually ham). With a handful of other superstitions, this traditional Southern meal was eaten for luck and good fortune in the New Year. In fact, eating greens on New Year’s Day is a common tradition around the world with cabbage, kale, and chard leading the bunch.
For health, wealth or taste alone, starting the year with greens and peas is a delicious way to good health and fortune in the New Year. At a young age, I learned that the greens symbolized money or economic fortune, and the peas were for luck. I’ve since grown to appreciate the wealth of nutrients in these foods. Collard greens are chock full of fiber, calcium, folate and vitamin A, which gives them a cancer-fighting quality. Like other dark leafy greens, collard greens are also a great source of lutein which supports eye health.
In my opinion, the best flavor comes from young collard greens that you clean, cut and cook yourself. If the thought of preparing a big bunch of fresh collard greens is overwhelming, try the pre-washed and cut ones. (Use the bagged greens as soon as you can. I find that they tend to dry out quickly.) You can also experiment with turnip greens which are much easier to manage, but still nutritious and full of flavor.
Over the years, I’ve learned to create my own New Year’s Day meals minus the traditional salt pork and ham hocks used for seasoning. I use a drizzle of olive oil to tenderize the greens, and red pepper flakes or hot sauce for a little bit of spicy heat. My great-grandmother pickled hot peppers that we would enjoy on greens all winter long. Though I don’t have her recipe, I mimic that tangy flavor at the table with a healthy dash of apple cider vinegar.
Here’s my favorite way to eat traditional greens at the moment. Make them vegetarian by skipping the bacon or swapping in tempeh for some extra flavor. I swapped the bacon fat in the original recipe with a healthier oil and use cooked bacon to add a little smoky flavor.
Here’s the original photo 🙂
Honey Cider Collard Greens
- 1 1 medium bunch fresh collard greens
- 2-4 slices thick sliced, center cut bacon
- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ - 1 cup broth
- dash hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Thoroughly clean the greens and remove the tough stems. Roll several collard leaves together into a tight bundle and slice into uniform strips. Uniformity is essential for even cooking.
- In a medium saucepan or pot with a lid, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the slices and any excess rendered bacon fat from the pan. Chop the bacon and set aside.
- In the same pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute just until fragrant.
- Add the greens, apple cider vinegar, honey, half the broth, and hot sauce. Cover and simmer until the greens are tender, at least 30 minutes or longer depending on how thick you sliced the collard greens.
- Check the greens periodically - adding more broth as necessary to the desired level of pot liquor. When the greens reach the desired tenderness, add the bacon back to the pot. Taste and add additional salt or pepper to taste. Enjoy!