Easy Southern Mustard Greens Recipe + {VIDEO} – Stay Snatched

Recipe for cooking mustard greens

This easy Southern mustard leaf recipe is the best dish for your soul food and Sunday dinners vacation. This dish is made with smoked turkey and loaded with flavor.

Southern mustard green stew with a smoked turkey leg in a Dutch oven

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learned to cook vegetables from “black people” at a very young age, so I’ve been cooking them all my life. We commonly eat these for soul food holidays or traditional Sunday dinners.

Mustard greens are actually my mother’s favorite. I grew up eating far more mustard greens than cabbage.

In general, greens are bitter. The best way to remove that bitterness is to cook them with some tasty ingredients.

Creole seasoning, garlic, chopped onions, chicken broth and smoked turkey on a flat surface

What are mustard greens? Mustard greens

come from a variety of plants that are known as brassica juncea. They come in different colors, but are usually dark green. The mustard plant has several uses for food, including leafy greens, seeds, and mustard oil.

How do you know?

Mustard greens are bitter and spicy. They are a bit spicy, like a spicy mustard. They are much more bitter when eaten raw. They are lighter greens and are not heavy.

fresh raw mustard greens on a flat surface

How are they different from kale?

They come from different plants and collard greens are members of the cabbage family. Mustard greens are a much lighter green. They are thinner and will shrink much more. They are also more tender because they are thin. Mustards have a spicy taste. Mustard leaf seeds are used to make mustard.

Cabbage is more bitter. They have solid, broad leaves with hard stems.

Does cooking vegetables take away nutrients? I see

this discussed often and it’s actually a debate, usually from people outside the community

. Vegetables are a

leafy green vegetable packed with nutrients and are labeled as a superfood. They are rich in vitamin K, fiber, iron and antioxidants. According to The Huffington Post, vegetables can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

All of these nutrients will remain intact no matter how the vegetables are cooked. Boiling the vegetables can break down the nutrients, but then the nutrients are passed to the broth and liquid in the vegetable pot. Which is a great reason to enjoy that broth or use it in sauces!

You can read more about How to Cook Healthier Vegetables here


However, cooking vegetables in fatty meats will add extra sodium, calories, and fat to the dish. This is where the greens have gotten a bad rap (again, usually from outsiders). When growing up, ham hocks, salted pork, etc. were used to cook vegetables. Now there are much healthier options, such as turkey.



years, I have often stopped washing vegetables and bought Glory vegetables in pre-packaged prepackaged bags at the grocery store. They are sometimes harder to find, especially for mustard greens, and often have many more vegetable stems than actual thick leaves.

You can buy them if you wish. It will reduce your washing process and save a lot of time!

If you are shopping in the normal produce area, vegetables are sold in packages. Look for packages with very thick leafy greens. If you wait and buy at the last minute, this can be hard to find and you get stuck with smaller packages. You may just have to buy more.

Greens have thick stems and veins on the back of the leaves. These areas capture soil and sand. You will have to clean them thoroughly.

raw, fresh mustard greens in a red bowl with a bottle of produce cleaner
  1. Start by picking your vegetables and removing the stem. Fold the leaf in half (lengthwise) and tear off the stem.
  2. Fill a large bowl or your sink with water.
  3. I like to use this vegetable cleaner to spray vegetables. You can also use vinegar. Or you can simply use water, it’s your choice.
  4. From there load them into your bowl or sink.
  5. Use your hands and wave them around. Rub your hands on the actual leaves to clean up dirt.
  6. Drain the water and refill. Repeat this process until the water comes out clear and you don’t see dirt in the water.

Seasoning and flavor

You can really keep it simple with seasoning. I like to use fresh onions and garlic, but you can use powders if you wish.

I use a smoked turkey leg. You can also use smoked turkey wings. I find them in the standard meat section of my grocery store. You may need to ask your local butcher if they are being carried.

You can also use ham hocks, bacon or salted pork if you wish.

How to cook southern mustard greens

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found on the recipe card at the end of this post


  1. Sauté the onions and garlic in a large pot. I like to use a Dutch oven.
  2. Deglaze the pot with broth. Add the greens in stages so that they wither and fit in the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the Creole seasoning and add the smoked turkey leg
  4. .

  5. Bring the vegetables to a boil and then lower the heat to medium.
a collage photo showing how to cook mustard greens in a Dutch oven, onions and garlic sautéed with mustard greens

How long

to cook I like to let them cook for two hours. If you’re really short on time, you can use my Instant Pot Collard Greens recipe method.

Most of the cooking time is spent softening the turkey leg so that it can provide the immense flavor the dish needs. You can also cook your turkey leg in broth for 45 minutes to an hour while you clean and prepare your vegetables.

Once washed, you can prepare the remaining ingredients and mix the turkey leg and cook the vegetables for an hour or until tender


I like to cook everything together at once, just my personal preference.

grated smoked turkey on a bamboo cutting board

How to make them vegetarian

You can substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. You can also use a teaspoon of smoked salt or 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke to add flavor.

Can you make them in advance/how long will they last in the fridge


To cook during the holidays, you usually do them a day in advance. Vegetables will last in the covered fridge for 3-4 days.

Southern mustard green cooked with a smoked turkey leg in a Dutch oven

Freezing tips

I freeze vegetables almost every time I make them. I use these Amazon freezer molds and they work perfectly. You can freeze the vegetables in 1-cup portions, which is great for when you want to take out a serving for dinner.

You can freeze vegetables for up to 6 months. I throw them in the slow cooker for an hour or two to reheat them.

<img src="https://www.staysnatched.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/southern-mustard-greens-2-1.jpg" alt="a tablespoon of mustard greens

over a Dutch oven

” />

a bowl of southern mustard greens with smoked turkey and a slice of cornbread

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Get a complete list of Soul Food Thanksgiving recipes and the best authentic soul food recipes here.

Canzaciti.com Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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