Turnip Greens Vs Collard Greens – What’s The Difference?

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If you haven’t incorporated leafy greens in your diet then you are seriously missing out on not just nutrition but also a range of different flavors!

Turnip greens and collard greens hail from the same cabbage family and while they may have some similarities, they differ in flavor.

Both these greens can also be prepared the same way and, in some instances, can be used interchangeably as well. 

What is the difference between turnip greens and collard greens? Turnip greens tend to have a sweeter flavor compared to collard greens that may have a slightly bitter flavor. These leafy greens pack a lot of nutrition but turnip greens are notably known for being high in Vitamin K.

Read on below to learn more about the differences between these greens, their flavors, and how to properly cook them. 

Turnip Greens

Turnip greens refer to the leafy part of the turnip vegetable. Turnips are a commonly sold produce around the world and are known for being a good source of vitamin K, A, C, and other minerals

Every part of the turnip plant can be consumed and even used as a stock. The leafy green vegetables somewhat resemble spinach and even collard greens that we will be discussing next. 

Turnip greens can be prepared in several ways too. For example, you can steam, slow cook, and even eat the leaves raw in some cases. They are an extremely easy and quick way to get nutrition and plant fiber

These leafy greens make for a great addition to any diet because of their ability to satiate the appetite.

A normal serving of this vegetable is good enough to keep you full for some time and you can also have it at any time of the day since it’s also easy to digest as well. 

Turnip greens can be found in any supermarket or can also be bought online directly from a local farm. This vegetable is available year-round and can be stored for later as well.

You may also be able to find the roots and leaves of the vegetable separately in some regions. 

Since the leaves have a lot of water, they will usually shrivel up and condense as they cook which means that you can make a lot of this vegetable in one go

The best way to consume turnip green in our opinion would be to steam it and then have it as it is or further blend it and turn it into a delicious paste that you can season with various condiments and can even mix with butter. 

For example, turnip greens can be had in the morning as a side dish along with your usual breakfast. They can also be blended with vegan butter and seasoned with salt and pepper and used as a spread on sourdough. 

Collard Greens

Just like turnip greens collard greens belong to the same plant family and it also bears some resemblance but when it comes to the flavor of this leafy green, collard greens are known to have a bit of a punchier flavor than turnip greens.

Collard greens are also known to be a little bitter but their bitterness can be tamed if you wash and cook them properly. This leafy green is also notably at its sweetest flavor in colder weather. 

Collard greens are available as loose leaves in many superstores around the world. They are cultivated in many regions and can also be made available around the year. These leafy greens can be cooked and frozen for long-term use too. 

There are many ways to cook this leafy green as it shares almost all of the same cooking methods used for turnip greens. Collard greens can also at times be used as a replacement for turnip greens.

This leafy vegetable can also be added to salads but its quantity is usually kept less due to its slightly bitter flavor.

As mentioned above, cleaning and cooking them in various ways significantly lessens the bitterness of this vegetable.

Collard greens share somewhat the same nutritional profile and are a great source of vitamin C along with other minerals too

The cook time for collard greens and turnip greens is similar as both can be cooked using the same way and will yield about the same serving size after being cooked.

Collard greens can be tossed in salads along with other leafy vegetables including turnip greens, spinach, kale, and more.

The Differences Between Turnip Greens And Collard Greens

Turnip green and collard greens come from the same plant family so they share a lot of similarities but can be different in the following factors:


Turnip greens are known to be a bit on the sweeter side with a more robust flavor. You will immediately be able to tell apart this leafy green when compared to collard green which can be a bit bitter.

When cooked, collard greens can taste more or less like turnip greens with a few flavor deviations.

They can be prepared in the same way and they both cook the same too. One of the best ways to enjoy these leafy green vegetables is to have them as a side dish. 

For example, you can use turnip greens and blend them into a paste with some herbs for a creamy veggie dip. You can also steam collard greens and serve them as a side to meat dishes. 


In the initial stages of their growth, both these leafy vegetables can look identical.

However, when they are cultivated and fully mature, they can easily be identified. For example, collard greens have a dark to light green color with light green veins

Turnip greens will have slender leaves and may also be whitish or reddish at the top. Another great way to tell these two apart is if they come with the full vegetable.

Turnip leaves attached to turnips make them easier to identify whereas collard greens are sold as individual leaves

Even if you just find the leaves of these vegetables in the supermarket, they will likely be labeled and you can keep them in separate, labeled containers too.

The matured leaves of both these vegetables will bear some resemblance but will ultimately be able to stand out due to their size, width, and color.


Collard greens and turnip greens have a lot of uses in the culinary world.

Turnip greens are famously used in a lot of salads and are considered to be a favorable and sweeter variety of leafy greens and they pair extremely well with other leafy vegetables as well

Collard greens on the other hand also have a lot of uses but due to the bitterness in the raw leaves, they are usually first cooked before being consumed.

However, some cuisines use raw collard leaves in salads and even in side dishes. 

Cooked collard green has a very agreeable and favorable flavor, so much so, that you may also be able to use these leafy greens as a replacement for one another.

For example, while replacing turnip greens with collard greens in a salad may be noticeable, replacing them in cooked dishes won’t matter much. 

This is especially true if you pair the greens with a range of spices and herbs.

Collard greens can have some textural differences when cooked but all in all, they are both going to feel and taste the same if cooked the right way and using the right condiments or spices.

Both turnip and collard greens can be paired with meat dishes as well.

For example, you can serve them as a side with a steak or you may also add them to cooked and sauteed beef dishes as well. The uses of these greens are limitless and can fit any type of diet with ease!

How To Store Turnip Greens And Collard Greens

Both turnip and collard greens can be stored in the fridge for about 5-7 days. The right way of storing them would be to first properly clean the leaves under clean water and then dry them out using a paper towel. 

You can then wrap each leafy green together using a cling wrap and store it in the fridge. Make sure that you don’t cram or compress the leaves while storing by putting more food over them. Try to keep them in an open space in the fridge.

Also, make sure that you keep the greens away from temperature variances. For example, storing them near the refrigerator door may cause significant temperature variance which may affect the quality and shelf-life of the greens. 

Alternatively, if you have the space then we recommend that you shift each leafy vegetable in a separate air-tight container.

Make sure that neither the container nor the leafy greens have any moisture as it may lead to spoilage over time, especially when thawed and stored again.

Adhering to these tips can extend the life of the greens to about a week but it is still advised that you consume them within 5 days. These vegetables can also be frozen for the long term. To do this, you may have to first cook them.

Do not freeze raw leaves as it may destroy their texture and flavor. To freeze collard and turnip greens, first, steam them using any pot or steamer.

Once cooked, tender, and reduced in size, you will then have to pack them tightly into a mold. 

We recommend that you use a measuring cup. Tightly pack each leafy green into the cup so that they take the shape of a hockey puck. Tap the cup to release the compressed leafy green to a baking sheet. 

You can then store the sheet in the freezer overnight. Once they are hard and frozen, simply move the vegetable pucks to a zip lock back and store them in the freezer for about 2-3 months.

These vegetables will remain edible so long as you continue to store them at -18°C.

It is however recommended that you consume them within 2-3 months. You can use these cooked turnip and collard pucks in a range of recipes. Just thaw them in the microwave or add them directly while cooking food. 

Since the vegetables are already cooked, you will only need to wait for them to thaw. This strategy works best for all types of greens and can be used to store cooked turnip and collard green recipes too. 

How To Spot Spoiled Turnip And Collard Greens

The best way to tell if these greens have spoiled is to look for the following:


Fresh greens will never have slime and will have a rather smooth and velvety texture. Rubbing your fingers with the greens in the middle is the easiest way to detect any spoilage.

If you feel any slime or if the leaves break apart while testing, it may indicate that the leaves have gone bad

We recommend that you discard the entire vegetable instead of just removing the spoiled part, to be on the safe side.


Fresh turnip and collard greens will either smell like nothing or will have a faint vegetable-like aroma.

They should never smell bad, if the leafy greens have a foul odor, then you should not attempt to salvage them by washing them. Please discard the entire plant and avoid cooking it. 


This is an obvious tell-tale sign that will easily indicate that the greens have gone bad.

If you see any sign of mold then just discard the entire plant instead of the affected area because while mold does appear on the surface, it has tentacle-like roots that go beyond and may even travel across the food.

Every time you use any of these leafy vegetables, make sure that you check for these signs regardless of whether they are fridge or freezer-stored greens. 


Collard and turnip greens are one of the most consumed leafy greens in the world. While they come from the same cabbage family, they have just enough differences to entirely set them apart. 

However, they also bear some similarities too like how they can taste similar when cooked or how they can be used interchangeably in some recipes and can be cooked and stored the same way.

Collard greens can be a bit bitter when consumed raw compared to turnip greens that are usually sweeter.

These leafy greens can also be distinguished by their physical appearance as collard greens are usually dark green to light green with light green veins.

Turnip greens can have slender leaves with a whitish or reddish color near the top.

One thing is for sure, both these leafy vegetables pack a lot of similar nutrition and will be a delicious addition to your diet as well!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the difference between turnip greens and collard greens, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Are collard greens like spinach?

Collard greens are considered to be healthier than spinach as they can sometimes pack double the nutrition and benefits of spinach.

Their taste also differs as collard green can be a bit on the bitter side while spinach has a strong vegetable-like flavor.

Can you find turnip and collard greens all year round?

Yes, while both these leafy greens have optimal growth seasons, they can be available all year round.

You can also store them for a longer period by cooking or steaming them and then storing them in an airtight container in the freezer.

Fresh greens can remain good for about 5-7 days if kept properly.

Can turnip greens replace collard greens?

Yes, in most recipes, using collard greens instead of turnip greens won’t make much of a difference, especially if you are cooking both the leaves

However, using them raw in salads may make them easier to detect since collard greens have a distinct bitter flavor which is why they are paired with other leafy vegetables in salads.  

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