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Creamy Collard Greens: A Perfect Winter Dish

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Gluten-free, can be adjusted to vegan.

This is my new favourite winter dish! To be honest, I don't think I have ever had collard greens before. How I missed out! But I am making up for it now. This dish is especially great when you are not the biggest fan of eating greens. The cream and bacon totally make you forget you are eating leaves.

Creamy Collard Greens are perfect to eat in late winter and early spring when they are at their sweetest and most tender. This is a very nourishing dish, with the greens marking the cleansing time of year. More on this below!

Ayurvedic Perspective on Creamy Collard Greens

Late winter is kapha time of year. This means the qualities (gunas) of kapha are more present in nature. Slushy, wet, and melting snow, damp air, the stability of the slow winter. These kapha qualities also show up in our bodies. Kapha makes us stable, steady, calm, and grounded. But if these qualities increase we might feel lethargic, unmotivated, and stuck. In our bodies, we can feel an excess of mucus, congestion, and weight gain.

To avoid or move out of this lethargic state of being it is key to switch our diets from heavy and fatty winter foods to lighter and dryer foods.

"Late winter marks the start of the cleansing season in Ayurveda."

This means that for the last six months we have been building up our bodies to create insulation for winter and now it is time to shed this. We no longer need these extras and the body naturally starts to cleanse itself of water, fat, and toxins. How cool!

We can support our bodies by adjusting our diets to lighter and dryer foods that are pungent, bitter, and astringent. These tastes help the body cleanse. Pungent foods like chilies, ginger, and black pepper increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing. The bitter taste purifies the blood and supports the liver. The astringent taste is drying and acts as a broom in the body.

Creamy Collard Greens is a perfect dish for the transition towards cleansing. We don't just yet want to dive into bowls of raw and cold salads, but we do want to start adding more greens into our diet.

What's The Season?

In Ayurveda, we promote seasonal eating. This means we want to consume vegetables, fruits, meats etcetera that are locally produced in your current season.

"Collard greens hit their peak in late winter and early spring, which means they are at their sweetest and most tender. This also means they are at their highest nutritional density. Perfect!"

Shop Locally

Buy your collard greens at your local farmer's market to ensure strong, waxy leaves with white veins. This means optimal freshness!

Ayurvedic Nutritional Information

Natural Elements

The five natural elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the foundation of Ayurveda. We look at everything through this lense.

Collard greens are bitter in taste which means they have the ether and air element. To balance out this dish with the other elements we add cream and bacon for water and earth and black pepper for fire. This way we have all elements represented in this dish, which is ideal.


The collard greens are light, cold, and rough which we balance out with soft cream and oily bacon to balance the dish.


Creamy collard greens are bitter, sweet, and salty in taste. Since this dish is a side dish we can add other foods to make up for the rest of the tastes. We can add potato for example for the astringent taste, and chicken with mustard for a bit of pungency and sourness.

Adjust To Your Dosha

  • Vata

Vata loves the extra cream and bacon fat. It helps them gain weight and adds oil to their body which reduces dryness. Vatas like their greens cooked well to be able to digest them. Don't overdo it with the black pepper. Too much will lead to dryness.

  • Pitta

Pitta can benefit from the cooling effects of the cream and milk. Leave out the black pepper or reduce it to three twists. Swap the bacon fat for olive oil or ghee. Too much grease is hard for pitta to stomach. You can leave out the bacon altogether.

  • Kapha

Reduce both the milk and cream to half for kapha and add a cup of water to make it lighter. You can leave the bacon and bacon fat out. Use olive oil or ghee to cook the shallots. Be generous with the black pepper!

Don't know your dosha? Do the FREE test here.

Let's get cooking!


prep time: 20 min yield: 4 servings

cook time: 40 min category: side dish

total time: 60 min gluten-free, vegetarian, soy-free, nut-free


  • 1 bunch of collard greens

  • 2 strips of bacon (optional)

  • olive oil, ghee, or fat from the bacon

  • 3 medium shallots

  • 1 cup of whole milk

  • 1 cup of heavy cream

  • pinch of salt

  • 10 twists of black pepper

Use alternative milk and cream for a vegan option.

How To Make

Step 1:

Bring a large pot filled three-quarters with water to a boil. Fill another bowl with iced water and set it to the side. Start to prepare your greens. Remove the leaves from the stems with a knife or tear them off. Discard the stems or save them for your vegetable stock. Roll up the leaves like a cigar and cut small strips. Wash the leaves thoroughly. Cook the leaves in the boiling water for about 20 minutes. Drain and put them in the iced water for 5 minutes. This way the leaves will retain their bright green colour. Drain well and put aside.

Step 2:

Fry your bacon until crisp. In the meantime finely dice your shallots. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and fry the shallots in the bacon fat for about 7 minutes until soft. Add a bit more oil or ghee to your pan if needed. If you didn't use the bacon you can use oil or ghee to fry your shallots.

Step 3:

Add the milk and cream to the shallots and bring to a boil. Add your greens, stir, and simmer for 20 minutes until leaves are tender. Add a pinch of salt and your black pepper.

Step 4:

Serve your creamy collard greens with crumbled bacon on top. Enjoy!


Please let us know how this dish turned out for you in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Ayurvedic cooking and had fun making this luscious winter dish!

Share your dish on Instagram and tag @christade.ridder! Or share in our Facebook group!

Ayurveda Spring Cleanse

Spring is around the corner! This is the time to plan your cleanse. Register now for the upcoming Ayurveda Spring Cleanse from March 27 till April 2. Learn more here.


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