Pass the greens, please: 12 Southern Thanksgiving recipes for collards, kale and turnip greens

Southern Kitchen staff

While we may be knee-deep in squash recipes this week, there’s still room for one of our other fall favorites — braised hearty greens. From collards to kale and even turnip and mustard, there’s a Southern-grown green perfect for your Thanksgiving table.

Sweet and Spicy Collard Greens

This classic Southern collard greens recipe is chock full of ham hock and its smoky flavor.

When you think of the flavor profile of classic collards, this recipe checks all the boxes. Ham hocks bring smokiness to the party, while jalapenos and hot sauce offer the spice most collard lovers crave. Since the best collards also are a balancing act of sweet and tangy, using twice as much vinegar as brown sugar keeps the acidity in check while keeping the greens from being too cloying. Cook the greens at a steady simmer to prevent them from shriveling. Get the recipe

Instant Pot Collards

Instant Pot Collard Greens

Better living through technology. If you’re a member of the legion of Instant Pot fanatics, this is an ideal recipe for the versatile gadget. Originally designed for a pressure cooker, these collards require just 20 minutes of pressure cooking to become so tender, you’ll think they’ve simmered for hours. Cooking the bacon separately ensures it crisps up. Get the recipe

Dels Bourbon Collard Greens

Bourbon Collard Greens

Typically, collard greens feature apple cider vinegar, but this particular recipe opts for balsamic vinegar with its mellower acidity. The real star of the show is the bourbon, which provides a sweet backdrop that plays beautifully with the salty, smoky bacon. We love the textural contrast between the hardy collards and the delicate spinach. Get the recipe

Eddie’s Turnip Greens

Collards get more love, but turnip greens can be equally delicious. These soft, tender greens absorb plenty of flavor while requiring less cooking time. This recipe comes from Eddie Hernandez, chef and owner of Atlanta’s Taqueria del Sol. Butter and tomatoes harmonize nicely with the turnip greens to create a dish that just begs to be served alongside some rice and pinto beans. Get the recipe

Smoky Vegan Collards

Virginia Willis’ Smoky Vegan Collard Greens

Vegans and vegetarians need culinary love too, and Virginia Willis offers a delicious, meatless alternative by using canned chipotle peppers to mimic the smokiness of bacon, ham hocks or turkey. There is also no sugar nor vinegar, as tomato juice covers both sweetness and acidity. For other meat-free methods, try cooking your collards in garlic butter with a touch of water or substituting umami-rich white miso paste for any cured pork a recipe may require. Get the recipe

Apple Kale Coleslaw

Cynthia Graubart’s Apple Kale Coleslaw

Leave the tubs of watery, bland coleslaw and dull potato salad in the cold case at the supermarket and try this crisp, healthy apple and kale slaw from chef Cynthia Graubart. Virginia Willis adapted the recipe for Southern Kitchen. Get the recipe

Fall Harvest Salad

Fall Harvest Salad with Kale

In this recipe, we pair thinly sliced Tuscan kale with some super-Southern friends — toasted pecans, diced mirlitons, apples and roasted butternut squash — for a salad substantial enough to eat for dinner all on its own. Get the recipe

Squash And Kale Casserole

Butternut Squash and Kale Casserole

Comfort food is at its best in this simple, cheesy casserole. You can use any variety of squash you like and any preferred nutty cheese. Serve this casserole warm alongside your Thanksgiving feast or at your next dinner party. Get the recipe

Even more hearty green-filled recipes, right this way:

Honey-Braised Collard Greens from OK Cafe

Red Lentil and Collard Green Soup

Southern Collard Greens from Greenwood’s Restaurant

Spoonbread with Garlic Greens and Smoked Ham