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Collard Greens and Cabbage (Mixed Greens)

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Collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens) are cooked together, simmered in a flavorful smoky broth, with seasonings, onions, ham hocks, and red pepper flakes. It’s a tried-and-true Sunday soul food side dish that embodies Southern culinary tradition.

Collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens)

Collard greens and cabbage are leafy green vegetables commonly used in Southern cooking. They belong to the “greens” family along with turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Collards bring a hearty, slightly bitter taste, while cabbage contributes a milder flavor and a more tender texture.

When my mom makes mixed greens, she often pairs collards with mustards or turnips, but collard greens go just as well with cabbage. This recipe is made similarly to these soul food collard greens, where we start with a meaty, smoky broth and then simmer the leafy greens until they’re tender and have absorbed all the savory flavor.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • FLAVORFUL BROTH – The meaty broth made with smoked ham hocks infuses the greens with a depth of flavor, creating a satisfying and comforting side dish.
  • PERFECT FOR SUNDAY SUPPER – Mixed greens, particularly with collards and cabbage, have a special place in Southern cuisine. This dish is a tried and true Sunday dinner side, representing the warmth and richness of soul food.
Collard greens

What are Mixed Greens?

In soul food and Southern cooking, mixed greens refer to a combination of different leafy green vegetables that are cooked together and served as a side dish. The exact composition of mixed greens can vary, but it typically includes two or three of the following: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, and kale.


  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Ham hocks
  • Yellow onion
  • Seasoned salt
  • Chicken bouillon cubes (or bouillon powder, Better Than Bouillon, etc.)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 
  • Granulated garlic
  • Granulated onion
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
Collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens)

How to Make Collard Greens and Cabbage

Note: Be sure to taste the broth beforehand so you can make any necessary adjustments to the seasoning. If it needs more bouillon, salt, or other spices, you can add them gradually, ensuring that the flavors are well-balanced before adding your mixed greens.

Step 1: Create the Flavorful Broth: The first step in making collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens) is to prepare a seasoned, smoky broth that will infuse your leafy greens with mouthwatering flavor.

  • Start by taking ham hocks and setting them in a large stockpot. Pour water over them, making sure it’s about 2 inches above the hocks.
  • Next, dissolve two chicken bouillon cubes in the water. Then, add seasoning: seasoned salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, kosher salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Pour in Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar.
  • Now, turn up the heat, and bring the pot to a boil. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the ham hocks are falling apart tender.

Step 2: Prep the Collard Greens and Cabbage: Cut and wash the leafy greens. Make sure they’re clean and free from any grit or dirt. Cut cabbage into wedges then do a rough chop; rinse to remove any grit. See the “Cutting and Washing Mixed Greens” section below for photos or visit How to Cut Collard Greens for a step-by-step guide.

Step 3: Shred the Ham Hocks: After the hocks are tender, carefully remove them from the broth. Shred the meat from the ham hocks, and when you’re done, return the meat to the pot. Discard the bones.

Step 4: Simmer: With the shredded ham hock meat back in the pot, it’s time to cook your mixed greens. Carefully add collards and cabbage to the pot, making sure they’re fully submerged in the seasoned broth. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low.

Step 5: Let Greens Simmer to Perfection: Let mixed greens simmer away in that flavorful broth until they reach the desired tenderness. This will take about an hour. You’ll know they’re ready when they’re tender and bursting with flavor.

how to pick collard greens

Cutting and Washing Mixed Greens

Washing and cutting collard greens and cabbage before cooking is important for removing dirt and pesticides, improving texture and flavor, and even cooking. Here’s how to do it:


Remove the outer leaves. Then cut the head of cabbage into wedges. Next, slice wedges into 1 to 2-inch strips. Be sure to rinse to remove any grit.

Collard greens

We have a guide on how to cut collard greens, but here is a summary of how to wash and cut them:

  1. Remove collard leaves from the stems by snapping them off. Transfer destemmed collards to a large bowl of water or place them directly in a sink.
  2. Sprinkle salt onto the greens, then turn on the faucet to rinse.
  3. Mix the collards around in cold running water. Clean them by hand thoroughly and firmly for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat until the water runs clear.
  4. Then, stack and roll the leaves into a tight bundle and cut them with a chef’s knife into strips.
how to wash collard greens

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Cutting Mixed Greens: Cut greens and cabbage into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. For this recipe, we cut them both into strips.
  • Adjusting Spice Levels: Tailor the amount of seasonings to your spice preference. If you prefer mild, reduce the quantity of crushed red pepper flakes, or omit them altogether.
  • Cooking Time for Mixed Greens: Pay attention to the cooking time after adding the mixed greens. Simmering for one hour is a general guideline, but adjust as needed to achieve your desired level of tenderness.

What to Serve

If you are wondering what to serve with mixed greens, the options are endless. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Fried Chicken: Crispy fried chicken is a natural companion to this collard greens recipe. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender greens is pure comfort food.
  • Hamburger Steaks with Gravy: This old school soul food recipe combines seasoned ground beef patties with a flavorful onion gravy, creating a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Smothered Chicken: Smothered chicken, featuring tender, juicy chicken smothered in a rich, flavorful gravy, is a Southern classic.
  • Smothered Oxtails: Smothered oxtails are another soulful favorite. The slow-cooked oxtails in a savory gravy create a delicious and hearty pairing, offering a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
  • Pork Chops: Juicy, pan-fried or grilled pork chops are another protein option that harmonizes with the greens.
  • Fried Catfish: This is a Southern-style meal that captures the essence of comfort food.
  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese: The cheesy goodness of baked macaroni and cheese pairs well with the savory notes of fried cabbage.
  • Candied Yams: Sweet, tender yams cooked with butter, sugar, and sometimes marshmallows provide a sweet contrast to the greens’ savory flavors.
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Cornbread: Our soul food cornbread recipe is easy to follow and yields a moist, tender crumb.
Collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens)


How long do mixed greens last in the fridge?

We recommend eating cooked mixed greens that have been refrigerated within 2 to 3 days at most.

Can I use chicken broth or stock instead of water?

Sure! We recommend low-sodium chicken broth if you plan to go that route.

I can’t find smoked ham hocks. What else can I use?

If you can’t find any of the smoked ham hocks mentioned above in this post, you can substitute with smoked turkey (legs, necks, tails) or bacon. We suggest 1/2 pound thick-cut hardwood or hickory smoked bacon


Experience delicious collard greens and cabbage with this soul food mixed greens recipe. With a savory broth made with smoky ham hocks, paired with onions and red pepper flakes, this side dish is a comforting Sunday supper classic that brings families together around the table.

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Collard Greens and Cabbage

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: southern, soul food


Collard greens and cabbage (mixed greens) are cooked together, simmered in a flavorful smoky broth, with seasonings, onions, ham hocks, and red pepper flakes. It’s a tried-and-true Sunday soul food side dish that embodies Southern culinary tradition.


  • 2 pounds collard greens
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 2 ham hocks (alternatively, you can use smoked turkey legs, necks, or tails)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, or as needed
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (start with less and adjust to taste if using any other type of salt)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Pick, chop, and wash collard greens and cabbage; set aside.
  2. Place ham hocks in a medium stock pot and cover with water two inches above hocks.
  3. Stir in onions, seasoned salt, chicken bouillon, black pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Pour in Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  6. Boil for 45 minutes or until the hocks are fall-apart tender.
  7. Then, remove ham hocks from pot and shred meat.
  8. Add meat back to pot and discard bones.
  9. Place greens and cabbage in pot, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.
  10. Simmer for 1 hour until mixed greens are tender. 
  11. Ladle mixed greens with a bit of ham hock meat and liquid broth (potlikker) into bowls or on plates and enjoy.


Save the “potlikker” liquid broth after the mixed greens are done cooking for dipping your cornbread in. 

Keywords: collard greens and cabbage, mixed greens, collard greens, cabbage, soul food


    1. Hi Jackie! We recommend two pounds of collards. Where we live, the bunches of collards are really large.

  1. This is a dish prepared often But the collards are cooked about 20 minutes then the cabbage added after…every thing else the same and sometimes turnip

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