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Easy Sautéed Collard Greens with Crispy Pancetta

Side Dishes

These easy, sautéed collard greens are topped with crispy pancetta and crunchy breadcrumbs for incredible flavor. Once you try this dish, I guarantee that collard greens will become a regular vegetable at your table.

This recipe takes all of the intimidation out of how to make collard greens because they are actually really easy to make with this method!

Sauteed-collard-greens-and-pancetta
Looking for a quicker and healthier alternative to traditional southern collard greens? These sautéed collard greens are vibrant, delicious, and easy to make. They're topped with flavorful crispy pancetta, crunchy buttered croutons, and parmesan for the perfect side dish that will put collard greens on your regular dinner rotation.
5 from 1 vote
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Why You’ll Love These Sautéed Collard Greens with Pancetta

I hosted my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day and she really wanted fried chicken so I decided to create healthy twists on traditional southern side dishes typically served with fried chicken. I made these sautéed collard greens as well as this delicious French potato salad.

I must admit, these collard greens were amazing, flavorful, and shockingly simple to make. Once you make sautéed collard greens, you likely won’t make them any other way. Until making this recipe, I had never even considered putting collard greens on my regular rotation of side dishes.

Not only are collard greens incredibly nutritious, but they also have a much better texture than spinach and even kale. Cooking them with this method also ensures they retain as much of their nutritional value as possible.

Sauteed-collard-green-ingredients

Collard Greens Nutrition

Collard Greens are a powerhouse of nutrition. Most notably, one cup of collard greens offers 770 micrograms of vitamin K. Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium (sourced by Medical News Today).

Sauteed-collard-greens-with-pancetta

Can Boiling Vegetables Reduce Their Nutritional Content?

One reason I almost never boil vegetables is because boiling vegetables can reduce several key nutrients. When it comes to amazing ingredients like collard greens, sautéing will ensure that all the incredibly key nutrients it contains will remain.

The following nutrients are often reduced during cooking:

  • water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and the B vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12)
  • fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • minerals: primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium

(source: Healthline)

Sautéing vs. Boiling Collard Greens

One of the reasons collard greens were traditionally boiled is because the stems were added which can be very tough if not cooked down. To avoid this, we remove the stems and sauté only the leaves.

How-to-cut-collard-greens

Instructions

First, to prepare you collard greens, slice each leaf on either side of the main stem that goes down the center. Then remove the stem. Stack all the prepared leaves on top of each other, roll them, and then cut them into slices. This presentation and texture are much better than chopping the leaves.

Pancetta-sauteing-in-pan

Next, to infuse our collard greens with flavor, heat your pan over medium heat, then add 1/2 tbsp olive oil and the slices of pancetta. Sauté until crispy, about 5-8 minutes, then remove the pancetta and set aside.

Sauteed-collard-greens-in-pan

Then add the diced shallots and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until just slightly browned and add the sliced collard greens. Sauté the collard greens for 3-5 minutes until the are cooked down. It is ok if some pieces get a little crispy char.

Once the collard greens are sautéed, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken broth, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then cook for another 2 minutes. You want the collard greens to retain their beautiful vibrant green color so once you add the liquid, do not overcook them.

Finally, add your collard greens to a serving dish. Break apart your crispy pancetta and add to the top along with a few shaving of parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of crumbled breadcrumbs.

Sauteed-collard-greens-close-up

Substitutions

Pancetta: While this recipe uses pancetta, you can also use bacon. However, I recommend using quality bacon that is low in fat. One reason Pancetta is preferred is because it is lower in fat and each slice is very thin. When cooked down it does not become overly greasy and is very crispy.

If you do use bacon, sauté it only halfway so there is only a very light coat of fat in the pan. Then finish it in the microwave in 30-second increments until it’s nice and crispy. If there is a good amount of bacon grease in the pan, omit the olive oil.

Croutons: If you’re gluten-free or on a low-carb diet, you can also use Chicharones instead of bread crumbs.

Serving Suggestions

I served this for Mother’s Day along with some amazing fried chicken from Gus’s. However for a much healthier meal, sautéed collard greens go excellent with roasted chicken, steak, and fresh fish.

If you like to meal plan, this is also a great side dish to make for the week to add to breakfast scrambles, wraps, and bowls.

More Incredible Side Dish Recipes

Leftovers & Storage

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The following day, I like to dice up a few small yellow potatoes and sauté them in a pan with a little EVOO. Once the potatoes are cooked, I add the sautéed collard greens. This makes a nice hash for breakfast which I top with a fried egg over medium (or sunny side up if you prefer).

Sauteed-collard-greens-with-pancetta

Sautéed Collard Greens with Pancetta

Looking for a quicker and healthier alternative to traditional southern collard greens? These sautéed collard greens are vibrant, delicious, and easy to make. They're topped with flavorful crispy pancetta, crunchy buttered croutons, and parmesan for the perfect side dish that will put collard greens on your regular dinner rotation.
Sondra Barker
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 81 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch collard greens stems removed & sliced
  • 1 whole shallot chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 sliced pancetta
  • cup croutons crushed for topping
  • 1 tbsp parmesan sliced or grated for topping

Instructions
 

  • First, to prepare you collard greens by slice each leaf on either side of the main stem that goes down the center. Then remove the stem. Stack all the prepared leaves on top of each other, roll them, and then cut them into slices.
    1 bunch collard greens
  • Next, heat your pan over medium heat, then add 1/2 tbsp olive oil and the slices of pancetta. Sauté until crispy, about 5-8 minutes, then remove the pancetta and set aside.
    1/2 tbsp olive oil, 2 sliced pancetta
  • Then add the diced shallots and garlic to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent or just slightly browned.
    1 whole shallot, 3 cloves garlic
  • Then, add the sliced collard greens and sauté them for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked down. It is ok if some pieces get a little crispy char.
  • Once the collard greens are sautéed, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken broth, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then cook for another 2 minutes.
    1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Finally, add your collard greens to a serving dish. Break apart your crispy pancetta and sprinkle on top along with a few shaving of parmesan cheese, and crumbled breadcrumbs.
    1/8 cup croutons, 1 tbsp parmesan

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 435mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 2396IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 0.4mg | Net Carbohydrates: 3g
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About The Author

Sondra Barker is an established culinary writer, photographer, and recipe creator. She is a published cookbook author and worked as a nutritional counselor, personal trainer, and pilates instructor for 10 years.

Her expertise, culinary reviews, and recipes have been featured in Good Housekeeping, Modern Luxury, Fox News, and many more. When she is not writing about restaurants she is traveling to wine country, on a cruise, or spending the day at Disneyland.

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CHEERS!

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I created this site for purveyor of exceptional eats and escapes; our team is always on a journey to find the perfect bites in the most wonderful places.

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