Collards are members of the cabbage family (*Brassica oleracea*), and a staple side dish in Southern cooking. They feature dark green leaves and tough stems that need to be removed before eating. The flavor of collards is a cross between cabbage and hearty [kale](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/a-guide-to-kale-varieties-and-how-to-cook-with-them), similar to Swiss chard.\n\nCollard greens are commonly used in Southern braises and stews, as the hearty leaves can hold up to longer cooking times. More recently, collard greens have become increasingly popular to use as wraps in plant-based diets.\nCollard greens soup is a hearty dish that’s simple to prepare. The three components of collard greens soup are:\n\n1. __Broth__: Simmer collard greens in broth or water flavored with aromatics. (You can swap out the collard greens for other dark leafy greens, like Swiss chard or mustard greens.) Customize your soup with herbs and spices—try dried oregano, smoked paprika, or chili powder. Recipes for collard greens soup often call for diced tomatoes in the broth.\n2. __Beans__: Collard greens soup often includes beans for a more substantial meal. You can use any type, such as cannellini beans, black beans, navy beans, or even black-eyed peas. Rather than draining the beans, use the starchy liquid to thicken the soup naturally. If you’re using black beans, drain the beans and thicken your soup with a potato instead. \n3. __Ham__: Collard greens soup is often made with diced pieces of ham, but it’s not necessary if you would rather keep the soup vegetarian. \nA tender, brothy collard greens soup makes for a hearty weeknight meal.