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Collard Greens With Bacon, Parmesan and Lemon Zest

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2


  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 400-500 grams collard greens
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 100 grams bacon bits you can also use strips of bacon and chop them up
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil for frying
  • ¼ cup water or stock
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  1. The first thing to do is assemble all of your ingredients. If you are using a block of ungrated parmesan, you can grate off 1 flat tablespoon of shavings and put this aside to add to the recipe at the end.
  2. To prep the vegetables begin by peeling and thickly slicing the onions.
  3. Next up it's time to prep the collards. The first thing to do is the remove the thick rib from the centre by slicing it out. You can leave the upper portion of the rib, where it is thinner. Then slice up the collard leaves into ribbons, and dice up the ribs.
  4. Now peel and crush the garlic. You can also grate it finely if you do not have a garlic crusher on hand. At the same time take the lemon and grate off a small amount of lemon zest, approximately one half’s worth.
  5. Place a medium sized pot onto the heat, and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Bring up to heat and add the bacon bits in three lots to prevent the bacon from making water. Fry on a medium high heat until the bacon shows signs of crisping on the edges. Remove the bacon from the pot, retaining the oil, and set aside.
  6. Maintaining a medium high heat, add the chopped onion to the pot. Saute until al dente but cooked.
  7. Now place the collard greens into the pot, re-add the bacon and sprinkle in ¾ teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat, and saute lightly a few seconds. Now add ¼ cup of water or stock, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, checking intermittently to see if the pot still has enough water to steam and not burn on the bottom. If you see that it is sticking on the bottom, add a little more water or stock.
  8. Once the collards are fully cooked, turn off the heat and add in the parmesan, lemon zest, grated garlic, and any additional salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, squeeze over some of the juice from one half of the lemon from which you grated the zest.
  9. Once you have added the last ingredients, all that is left to do is serve up your collards. Collard greens go really well with just about any meat dish, and of course pair perfectly with practically all Southern cuisine style dishes. Cornbread is an ideal side to serve along with collard greens, and you can use to soak up any juices. And if you don’t have any corn bread, feel free to try using any alternative bread that is nice.