Healing Power from A Good Ole Pot of Collard Greens

By: Sonjy Bambi Davis Daniels

 In the southern community, there are no ifs, ands, buts, or debates about collard greens being the number one “must-have” vegetable dish at every meal gathering, particularly in the black community, where it is deeply ingrained in our cultural heritage. “Collards” grow big and beautifully in every garden patch in the south. Whether at Big Mama’s or MeeMaw’s house for Sunday dinner or at a kickback with your eclectic friends, someone is bound to prepare or bring a delicious pot of some good ole collards! Collard greens were introduced to America through the African Diaspora. West Africans who were captured for slavery brought the collard green seeds with them. These seeds, with the slaves’ ancestral knowledge of growing collards, quickly germinated and abundantly thrived in the warm climate and the rich soils of southern plantations. Slaves planted collard greens around their quarters to sustain their families and community. Collard greens continue to play an essential role in the black community, symbolizing resilience, strength, and cultural identity.

Long before the word “superfood” came into being, our ancestors knew the power that collards possessed. Ranked as one of the most nutritious foods in the world, collards are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Our elders have always encouraged us to drink the “pot liquor,” the vitamin-enriched green broth left over from the cooked greens, to extract their healing qualities. To this day, they even scold us if we try to discard this powerful flavorful liquid before consuming it. I can still vividly recall the image and sound of my maternal grandmother, Nana, in her blue button-down dress and horn-rimmed glasses leaning close to me during dinner, telling me from her favorite corner window seat at the table, “Finish it all, it’s good for you.” She would then pass me a warm piece of freshly made cornbread from a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to “sop up” (dip into) the green liquid gold. This beautiful white-haired woman had survived a near-fatal stroke and was miraculously and wonderfully living as if the stroke had never occurred. She was still raising us, her numerous grandchildren, great-grands, and the neighborhood “strays” that would come to play and conveniently stay til dinner. My Nana did this with unwavering strength and seemingly effortlessly. So when it came to eating what was “good for you,” she was truly the authority. Known as an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and fiber, collard greens help support healthy bones, improve digestive health, boost the immune system, and protect against chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Our ancestors knew of the collard’s healing power before any documents made the proclamations. In addition to being highly nutritious, you can be very versatile with cooking collard greens. Try various cooking options beyond the traditional Southern method of ham hocks or smoked turkey, like sautéing, steaming, and even roasting your collards. Incorporated them into soups and salads or used to create non-traditional dishes like stir-fries and egg rolls. Here are three non-traditional collard greens recipes made from one for you to try—and don’t throw away the pot liquor! My Nana lived to be 99 years old, so remember, it’s good for you!

“Likka” House Collard Greens 


Smoked turkey necks or smoked wings

 3 bundles of collard greens or 2 bags 

1/2 cup of chopped onion 

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes in oil 

2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes 

1 tablespoon of minced garlic 

1 tablespoon of onion powder 

1 tablespoon of garlic powder 

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar 

1/4 cup of dark brown 

1/4 cup of sugar 

1/4 cup of olive oil 

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar 

1 teaspoon of Lawry’s seasoning salt 

1 tablespoon of butter 

2 tablespoon of chicken bouillon 

1 cup of chicken broth 

1/2 cup of Kentucky Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey 


In a large cooking pot, heat oil and butter to medium high. Add bourbon or whiskey and smoke turkey necks/wings. Sear turkey necks and remove. Add onions sauté until tender. Add sundried tomatoes. Now add turkey necks back into the pot. Add spices and sugars, coat meat and then add 1/4 cup of broth, and vinegar. Allow to simmer. Add water and the remainder of the chicken broth. Fill the pot to almost half full. Bring water to a boil. Taste the broth to make sure all flavors that you desire are there. Add more seasoning to your taste. Reduce to medium high and add collard greens. Cook for collard greens for 2 hours until tender and meat from the turkey necks or wings are falling off the bone. **Remove bones as much as possible


 Collard Green Egg rolls with Backwoods Dippin’ Hot Sauce 


1 cup of Likka House Collard Greens (premade and drained) 

Egg roll wraps 

For Dipping Sauce: 

1 teaspoon of Hot sauce 

2 tablespoon of Honey 

1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

 1 tablespoon of Sesame seed or Olive oil

 1 tablespoon of Sweet Chili peppers


To make egg roll, ¼ cup of your drained Likka House Collard greens. Roll the egg up by folding the bottom over filling and then fold both sides. Tightly roll the wrap and secure the top of the egg roll by brushing water across the top to seal. Make sure egg rolls are completely sealed before frying or air frying. In a deep fryer, bring oil to 350 degrees or the old school method, sprinkle a pinch of flour in the oil, if it dances, it’s ready! Place 2 to 3 egg rolls in the oil. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and floating. Air fryer Instructions: Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees Brush egg rolls with vegetable oil and place 2 to 3 in a well oiled air fryer basket or on a well oil air fryer rack, seams down. Make sure egg rolls are not touching. Cook for 10 minutes. In 5 minutes. Flip them and cook for the remaining 5 minutes. Backwoods Dippin’ Hot Sauce Mix ingredients together. Serve. Sauce serves 4 egg rolls.

Collard Greens Quesadillas and Roadhouse Queso Dip 


2 cups Likka House Collard Greens (premade and drained)

 2 cups pepper Jack Cheese 

1 jar of jalapenos Flour tortillas

 ¼ cup vegetable oil Queso Dip 

2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese 

2 cups of grated pepper jack cheese 

1 cup of chopped jalapenos (from jar)

 A small can of diced tomatoes & chilies 

2 tablespoons of Hot sauce

 ½ of Bacon pieces (Pork or Turkey) 

13 oz of evaporated milk 

1 teaspoon of butter or olive oil 


In a flour tortilla place in the center ¼ cup of your Likka House Collard Greens and ¼ cup of pepper jack cheese, and 1 tablespoon of jalapenos. Fold tortilla in half over the filling. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a warm frying pan on medium high heat. Place the tortilla with filling into the pan, flip over once the tortilla becomes golden brown and you notice that the cheese is melting. Make sure both sides are golden brown. Cut Collard Green Quesadilla in half and serve. Roadhouse Queso Dip In a saucepan, over medium low heat add teaspoon of butter, jalapenos, diced tomatoes and chilies, saute then add warm milk. Mix and add cheese. Using a whisk, blend until cheese melts and mixture becomes creamy. Place into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with bacon pieces for garnish. 

This is just a guide, be creative and make every recipe your own. ENJOY!

Sonjy Bambi Davis Daniels 

Fab Foodie Club

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