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Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)

Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)

I have yet to meet a southerner who doesn’t love a bowl of good, well seasoned collard greens! I’m talking about greens so good that you will gulp down the leftover juices from the pot! True food for the soul.
Southern style collard greens are a must-have at our holiday table…it just doesn’t quiet feel the same without them.
If you are looking for an easy, flavorful and downright addictive southern soul food collard greens recipe then HERE SHE IS!!!
Growing up, my grandmother use to prepare collard greens almost every Sunday and for a while it was the only vegetable I’d ever eat. I can remember eating bowl after bowl of these things until I felt sick.
I still love collard greens to death but I’m real picky as to how they should be fixed (as most southern folks are : )  I hope that you will enjoy this recipe and go ahead and have two bowls…collards have more calcium than milk!
Ohhhhhh I CAN NOT do this post without sharing some quick facts about collard greens:

Collard greens have been cooked and used for centuries. The Southern style of cooking of greens came with the arrival of African slaves to the southern colonies and the need to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. Though greens did not originate in Africa, the habit of eating greens that have been cooked down into a low gravy, and drinking the juices from the greens (known as “pot likker”) is of African origin. The slaves of the plantations were given the leftover food from the plantation kitchen. Some of this food consisted of the tops of turnips and other greens. Ham hocks and pig’s feet were also given to the slaves. Forced to create meals from these leftovers, they created the famous southern greens. The slave diet began to evolve and spread when slaves entered the plantation houses as cooks. Their African dishes, using the foods available in the region they lived in, began to evolve into present-day Southern cooking

Watch me make these Southern Collard Greens from start to finish!

Serve the turkey leg pieces right along with the greens and savor a little piece of history!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)
Author: Divas Can Cook
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • 1 fully-cooked, smoked turkey leg (can also use smoked turkey wings)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1t. red pepper flakes
  • salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce (optional)
  1. Remove the collard green leaf from the steam.
  2. Wash the collards several times in cold water to remove any dirt and grit. You can also use salt to help remove the grit if needed. Rinse well & set aside
  3. In a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onions & garlic. Saute until tender.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, red pepper flakes, & the turkey leg. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the broth take on that delicious, smokey flavor!
  5. Add in the collard greens. Cook on med-low heat until tender for about 45-60 minutes. You can increase the heat if needed but do not boil the collard greens. you want to slowly steam cook. They will wilt down as they cook.
  6. When done, season to your preference. In my opinion these greens don’t need a thing but usually add in a few dashes of black pepper and few drops of hot sauce!


  1. I made your recipe for collards last night, all except I didn’t have a smoked turkey leg, so I used some fat back, but let me tell you, this is the best recipe for collards. They come out with so much flavor, and they are so darn good you may not want to share them (I almost didn’t want to). I advise this for anyone wanting to try collards…

  2. These greens are fantastic. I just drank the left-over broth straight out of my bowl! I’ve made these for a variety of people, and everyone loves these greens.

  3. Hi Monique,

    We bought a house four months ago with a big ‘ol cabbage looking plant growing in the garden. The leaves were green and really wide but the main stalk was growing very tall out of the ground (wish I could show pics). Since I couldn’t find any collard plants on the internet with a similar stalk I wasn’t sure they were collards. But when I found your recipe, I decided it was now or never that I would clip those leaves and make greens from them. Turned out they were collards after all.

    I had never made greens before, but for Thanksgiving I made the most delicious greens from your recipe. THANK YOU! I can’t thank you enough. Not only did they taste “down home” and come from my own garden, but I got to practice a part of my culture doing something my ancestors did and understand how they took what they had and made it special. That was the real lesson for me here. Funny thing is that my husband’s white and when he saw me going through all the washing, we both got a cultural lesson! We got into an entire enriching discussion about food and the black culture as I cooked your recipes.

    You are doing something very special. If there’s any other way I can show my appreciation for you sharing your family recipes, please tell me! THANKS MONIQUE!

  4. I found your recipe via youtube. I just made these greens. Sooo delicious and easy to make. I’m in my late 20′s and trying to step up my cooking game, I have none. Keep bringing recipes like this out and I might actually start fooling folks. :-) I might actually be able to bring a real dish to the family get togethers now. Hahaha…Thank you so much for taking the time to share your talents. Be blessed. Amen.

  5. I made this and I added a greens seasoning pack, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and hot sauce and it was amazing!

  6. How many servings does this make? And do you know the calories because I’ve been craving collard greens badly and I’m on a diet and count calories.

  7. I tried this recipe today along with the tangy wings macaroni and cheese and banana pudding and this meal is on point. I know nothing about southern cooking accept for how to eat it lol. My fiancé comes home in May and I am definitely utilizing your blog so I can step my cooking game up. Thank you Diva!!!

  8. Omg you are awesome I have never ever been able to successfully cook greens… tried your recipe today and Omg it was awesome. I gave my mom a bowl and she told me she wants me to make a pot for her this weekend. As Im typing this I’m literally slurping down a bowl. thank u sooooooo much for this recipe I cant wait to try out some of ur other recipes.

  9. I just made these today and OMG!! I love this recipe. Is a keeper. I am puerto rican and I love soul food. Thank you for sharing your recipes you are awesome!

  10. These greens were sooo good! I love using your recipes! Thanks for sharing! Do you have a recipe for kale greens? Would I cook it the same way? Thanks

  11. I am making (made) these for Christmas and they are simply delectable!! This is the only recipe I will ever use to cook collard greens. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the history.

  12. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was soooo delicious Thank You so much for sharing this recipe with us!!

  13. I’ve made this twice in one week now because my family loves it that much! This is such an easy, flavorful recipe. That pot likker ain’t no joke, you really will want to drink it all up! I usually don’t have the time to clean and cut fresh greens so I use one 1lb bag of those precut Glory collards. I also HATE onions so I use a little onion powder instead. Lemme tell you, those bad oys come out PERFECT!! Thanks Diva, now I got people thinking I can really cook!

  14. Simple, easy and delicious. Even better the next day.

  15. I’m making these greens right now in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. My House smells amazing.

  16. I enjoy cooking, and love collards make em all the time, But I’m gonna try these out. I know they gonna be good!!

  17. I made this last night and the greens were awesome! I’ve been missing my grandma’s cooking (even though I’ve only had it once) and this recipe definitely gave me what I was craving. Also, I had a bag of prewashed collard greens, and had enough for one recipe’s worth after I picked out the really thick stems and tore the leaves into smaller pieces.

    Thank you for such a great recipe!

  18. I made this collard greens recipe (along with your mac and cheese and bbq baked chicken) for our Sunday dinner. I followed your recipe exactly and I must say it was right on! Not only was it easy, it was delicious. Even my husband who normally does not eat collard greens had two bowls of these! And you were right, the broth is so full of flavor, you don’t need to add a thing! I made 4 of your recipes, 3 in one day and they all were amazing!!

  19. Hi diva! Just stopping by getting my holiday menu in order. I can hardly wait! By the way im using your turkey, mac n cheese collard greens,sweet potatoes, and apple pie recipes. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and efforts to keep us divas in the kitchen!

    Peace and blessings

  20. Hello Monique, I make your greens all the time and they are wonderful, so wonderful that my husband has asked me to make a large pot for his grandmothers surprise B-day party this weekend. I know this sounds crazy but can you tell me what is needed to make a large pot for about 20 people? Thank you everything I have made of yours are wonderful… Please Help!!!

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