Collard Greens: From Ancient Greeks & Romans to the Southern United States, a Healthy Food With a Rich History

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IMG_20160531_101318631-1Collard greens are a main attraction at southern Thanksgiving dinner tables. A few weeks prior to the holiday, you can find local farmers selling collards on the road side from the back of their truck or at the local Farmer’s Market. Collards are inexpensive,therefore, a great way to stretch your food dollars.

Collard greens have been around since prehistoric times. They are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. According to, “What’”, before the Christian era, the Romans grew several kinds of collards and kale and did not distinguish between them, including those with large leaves and stalks and mild flavor; broad –leaved forms like collards; and others with curled leaves.

In the southern United States, collards are enjoyed cooked down to a low gravy. This method came with the arrival of the African Slaves to the southern colonies. The nutritious juice from the greens is enjoyed as a drink called “pot likker”.

Collard greens are one of the world’s healthiest foods. They are a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and iron. They also provide vitamin E, copper, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B1 and potassium, according to “”.

 A great recipe that you can try with leftover holiday turkey and collard greens is this delicious Turkey & Collard Green Quiche.

Turkey and Collard Green Quiche

Makes 2 quiche

6 servings per quiche

Serving Size: 1/6 quiche


  • 2 (9-inch) pie crusts, baked
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
  • 3/4 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup cooked, chopped turkey
  • 10 ounces of cooked collard greens(cooled)
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake pie crusts according to package


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, garlic powder and pepper.

Mix well.

  1. Place drained collard greens to the side
  2. Layer the meat, vegetables and cheese into baked pie crusts.

Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients.

  1. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is browned and a

knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

  1. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.