Collard Greens Soup with Black-eyed Peas is a hearty and comforting dish that makes for an easy weeknight dinner. Made with simple ingredients, this soup packs a nutrient-rich punch of collard greens, black-eyed peas, and plenty of flavorful seasonings.
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Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Collard greens and black-eyed peas are a must in my house on New Year’s Day. These traditional Southern foods come from an ancient tradition of celebrating good luck with these two vegetables on New Year’s Day across the South – to symbolize money and successes for the upcoming year!
Although traditionally, collard greens and black-eyed peas are cooked separately and enjoyed as a part of a meal, collard green soup provides the best of both worlds. Therefore, a bit less work in the kitchen results in a delicious and healthy dinner.
Ingredients for Collard Green Soup
- Olive oil, onions, and garlic cloves are sauteéd to boost flavor.
- Smoked ham hocks – this provides the ultimate flavor to the soup broth. Smoked meats are often used to add flavor to greens and beans. You can also use smoked turkey wings, smoked legs, wigs, or even bacon.
- Cajun seasoning – I like adding this for a kick and extra flavor.
- Low sodium chicken broth – Low sodium in this recipe as the smoked turkey and cajun seasoning provide ample salt.
- Black-eyed peas, fire-roasted tomatoes, collard greens, and apple cider vinegar.
How to make Collard Green Soup
Place oil in a large pot over medium heat and add chopped onions. Cook and stir until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and stir for an additional minute.
Add smoked ham hocks, cajun seasoning, chicken broth, and black-eyed peas. Increase heat to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a quick simmer. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover with a tightly fitting lid and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for about 1 hour until the meat becomes tender. Remove the ham hocks from the pot and remove the meat from the bone. Set the meat aside.
Add roasted tomatoes and collard greens to the pot.
Allow it to simmer for 20 minutes until the greens are tender. Return the meat to the pot and add the apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with cornbread and enjoy.
Swaps + substitutes for this recipe
I love this recipe as is, but here are some common swaps you can use.
- Smoked bacon – just add this in place of the smoked meats.
- Canned black-eyed peas – if using canned peas, add them during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Other legumes, like cannellini beans, great northern beans, or pinto beans.
- Add red pepper flakes for a bit more spice.
- Sub collards for other greens, like turnips or mustard.
Can we make collard green soup in the Instant Pot?
Yes! This recipe can be made in an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. To do so, follow the recipe as instructed, except cook the soup on high pressure for 35 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
Can I use bagged collard greens?
Yes! However, bagged collard greens are usually chopped larger. This is great for traditional collard green recipes, but for this soup, I suggest you thinly slice the collard greens.
To refrigerate: Once cooked, allow the soup to cool and place in an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator for up 3-4 days. When ready to use, heat the soup to piping hot.
To freeze: Once cooked, allow the soup to cool completely and place it into an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly and reheat it to piping hot before serving.
What is collard green broth called?
Pot liquid or pot licker is a liquid that is left behind after cooking greens in a pot. I sometimes call this soup an amped-up pot liquor.
What does adding vinegar to collard greens do?
Vinegar provides an additional flavor and prevents bitterness. It also adds an extra flavor boost to soup and stews.
Can I make this vegetarian?
Of course! Just swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and omit the smoked meat. Add a dash or two of liquid smoke, or use smoked paprika to get that smokey flavor.
I hope you enjoy this collard green soup recipe as much as we do. If you have tried this recipe, or any other recipe on our site, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
Collard Greens Soup With Black-eyed Peas
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 lb smoked ham hocks
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dried black-eyed peas rinsed
- 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes undrained
- 1 large bunch of collard greens leaves only, thinly sliced (8 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place oil in a large pot over medium heat and add chopped onions. Cook and stir until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and stir for an additional minute.
- Add smoked ham hocks, cajun seasoning, chicken broth, and black-eyed peas. Increase heat to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a quick simmer. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for about 1 hour, until the meat becomes tender. Remove the ham hocks from the pot and remove the meat from the bone. Set the meat aside.
- Add roasted tomatoes and collard greens to the pot. Allow it to simmer for an additional 20 minutes until the greens are tender. Return the meat to the pot and add the apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Try and get smaller-sized smoked ham hocks to ensure they become tender in about an hour. Large pieces will take longer to cook.
- If subbing canned black-eyed peas for the dried ones, add the black-eyed peas during the last 10 minutes of cooking.