Collard Greens vs Mustard Greens (Difference, Nutrition & Health Benefits)

If you and the family have grown tired of the same old green salad or just adding spinach to your dishes for greens, you may be ready to try collard greens or mustard greens.

But, which one should you choose? Are they similar? What do they taste like? If you are new to the world of greens, we have the answers you need. 

Collard greens and mustard greens are not the same. Collards are from the same family as cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Mustard greens are classified as a herb. The mustard seed is where we get the condiment mustard from. Consequently, collard greens are large and thick and have a more bitter taste like cabbage. Mustard greens are smaller, lighter colored, and have a peppery taste. Both offer quality nutrients and are a good complement to your diet.

Continue reading for detailed information about the nutritional benefits of collard and mustard greens, texture and flavor comparisons, how to cook them, and recipe suggestions. 

Which Has Better Nutrition?

Both Mustard Greens and Collard greens pack a nutritional punch. Let’s put the nutritional information side-by-side and compare these two leafy greens. 

One cup of collard greens has slightly fewer calories than mustard greens. Collards are higher in fiber and calcium.

On the other hand, mustard greens have more vitamin C, iron, and folate than collard greens.

Each of these greens offers quality nutritional benefits. To make the most of your greens, eat them both!

Compare the Nutritional Values for Collard Greens and Mustard Greens

1 cup Raw Greens – Chopped

Collard Greens

Mustard Greens

Fat.2 g.2 g
Sodium6 mg11 mg
Potassium77 mg215 mg
Carbohydrates2 g2.6
Fiber8 g6 g
Protein1 g1.6
Vitamin C21% DV65% DV
Vitamin B65% DV5% DV
Iron1% DV4% DV
Magnesium2% DV4% DV
Calcium8% DV6% DV
Vitamin K640% DV120% DV
Vitamin A600% DV9% DV
Vitamin E4% DV8% DV

Nutritional Information for Collard Greens

1 Cup Chopped Collard Greens, Raw Contains:

  • 11 calories
  • .2 g fat
  • 6 mg sodium
  • 77 mg potassium
  • 2 g carbohydrates
  • 8 g fiber
  • 1 g protein
  • 21% DV Vitamin C
  • 1 % DV Iron
  • 5% Vitamin B6
  • 2% Magnesium
  • 8% Calcium
  • 770 mcg Vitamin K (Many times over the DV)
  • 722 mcg Vitamin A

How Collard Green Nutrition is Beneficial

Vitamin K and Calcium

The Vitamin K and Calcium in collard greens contribute to the health of your bones. It reduces the likelihood that you will experience osteoporosis and fractures.

Cancer-Fighting Properties

Cruciferous vegetables, collard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous veggies contain glucosinolates which may reduce the risk of some cancers. It may help fight against breast cancer, digestive tract cancers, and kidney cancers.

High-Fiber Diets

High fiber diets may reduce inflammation in the body and may also help those with Type 2 diabetes maintain steady blood glucose levels, and improve insulin sensitivity.

The fiber in vegetables like collard greens also contributes to positive gut health and reduces the risk of constipation. 

Nutritional Information for Mustard Greens

1 Cup Chopped Mustard Greens (Raw) Contains:

  • 15 calories
  • .2 g fat
  • 11 mg sodium
  • 2.6 carbohydrates
  • 1.6 g protein
  • 6 g fiber
  • Vitamin C 65% DV
  • Vitamin E 8% DV
  • Iron 4% DV
  • Vitamin B6 5%
  • Vitamin K 120% DV
  • Magnesium 4%
  • Calcium 6%
  • Copper 10% DV

How Mustard Greens are Nutritionally Beneficial

Vitamin K for Healthy Blood

Mustard greens are incredibly high in Vitamin K. Raw mustard greens provide 120% of the DV of VItamin K.

Cooked mustard greens may offer as much as 690% times the recommended DV of Vitamin K. 

Vitamin K supports heart health and reduces the chances of osteoporosis. Scientists have noted that low levels of Vitamin K may contribute to loss of brain function like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Antioxidants for Eye Health

Mustard greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin which help protect your retina from blue light.

Eating foods high in these substances may help protect your eyes from macular degeneration.

Nutritional Issues to be Aware of from Mustard Greens

If you take blood thinners or commonly have kidney stones, you may want to consult your doctor before adding large amounts of mustard greens in your diet.

Mustard greens also contain oxalates, which may lead to the formation of kidney stones. Those who commonly have kidney stones should only eat an occasional serving of mustard greens.

What are Collard Greens?

Collard Greens are dark green leafy vegetables closely related to kale. Collards are also in the same group as chard and cabbage. The plant can grow to be 2-3 feet tall with leaves 6 inches to 12 inches across.

If you are growing your own collards, gardeners and cooks suggest that you pick leaves from the outside of the plant when they are 6 – 8 inches in size for the best taste and tenderness. This will allow the plant to continue growing and producing.

If you are buying collards from the grocery store or farmer’s market, avoid leaves that are dry on the edges or have holes in them. Also, larger leaves tend to be tougher than smaller leaves.

Be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly before you use them in a recipe. Many vegetables are sprayed with insecticides and mustard greens tend to catch a lot of dirt that blows around in the garden.

Collard Greens
Raw Organic Collard Greens

What are Mustard Greens?

Mustard greens are part of the same brassica family as collard greens, but they are classified as an herb rather than a vegetable. They are a lighter color than collard greens.

Mustard plants grow quickly and up to 18 inches. Each leaf can grow to between 8 and 12 inches.

However, most cooks explain that picking new leaves  3 – 4 inches in size will offer the best tenderness and flavor.

You can easily grow mustard greens in your own garden, even an indoor garden. If you grow mustard greens in an herb garden, you can harvest the sprouts and eat them much like you would eat alfalfa sprouts.

Again, be sure to wash greens carefully before using them or eating them to remove any insecticides or excess dirt.

Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens with Flower

How to Use Raw Collard Greens and Mustard Greens

Collard greens and mustard greens have quite different flavors. Raw collard greens have a bitter taste, but not as bitter as kale.

After you cook collards, the flavor is milder. Collard greens also tend to take up the flavor of other items in the dish. 

Raw mustard greens have a peppery, pungent, slightly bitter flavor. It is slightly reminiscent of mustard, which makes sense because we use mustard seeds to make the condiment, mustard. When they are cooked, the flavor is more like very flavorful spinach. 

Greens and Citrus Salad

  1. Cut up these greens and mix them in your green salad. Be sure to cut out the stem of the collard greens because it can be tough and unpleasant. Use collard greens, mustard greens, or other high nutrient greens.
  2. Place the leaves into a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. 
  3. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt.
  4. Massage the greens gently for 2-3 minutes to soften them up.
  5. Mix the dressing. ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅓ cup red onion, 3 cloves garlic, minced, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. Toss the greens with the dressing. 
  7. Top with peeled and segmented tangerines, sliced almonds, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Use Collard Greens and Mustard Greens on a Sandwich or Burger

Instead of using iceberg lettuce again on your burger, slice some collard greens and mustard greens into strips. And place them on your burger or sandwich. They will add some natural flavor to the sandwich instead of just crunch.

How to Cook with Collard Greens and Mustard Greens

Make a hearty bean and collard green soup

  1. Heat a pressure cooker and sautee one chopped onion with a tablespoon of olive oil. 
  2. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Chop and remove stems from 1 ½ pounds of collard and other greens, and add to the pressure cooker.
  4. Add 2 ribs of celery, chopped, 2 carrots, chopped, 1 teaspoon of thyme, and 4 cups of vegetable broth.
  5. Cook under high pressure for 5 minutes, then manually release the steam.
  6. Add 2 cans of white beans, drained; 1 ½ teaspoons of oregano, another 1 teaspoon of thyme, ½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne (to taste), ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Simmer in the pressure cooker on low for 20 minutes. Top with parmesan or vegan parmesan if desired.

Make a Stir Fry

  1. Gather your favorite stir fry ingredients and also some collard greens and mustard greens. Cut the greens into thin strips and sautee them first in the skillet or wok so they will soften up. 
  2. Add the other ingredients and seasonings that you like in the stir fry.
  3. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Substitutions for Collard Greens and Mustard Greens

You can substitute collard greens for mustard greens and vice versa in a recipe. Just remember that mustard greens have a pepperier flavor than collard greens, so the flavor of the dish will change.

Closer substitutes for collard greens are kale, spinach, and swiss chard. If you need a substitute for mustard greens, try radish sprouts, English spinach, turnip greens, or kale.

How to Collard Greens and Mustard Greens Measure up to Spinach and Kale?

Overall, spinach and kale pack more nutrients into each bite than collards or mustard greens.

However, you really can’t go wrong by adding leafy greens into your diet, so add collards and mustard greens into the recipe rotation for some variety.

Concluding Thoughts

Both mustard greens and collard greens offer benefits for your nutrition. Collard greens have a mild, but slightly bitter flavor and mustard greens have a peppery taste, each of these leafy greens offers high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K.

You will also get a good amount of iron, potassium, and calcium from these leafy greens. Add some variety by incorporating these greens into your regular recipes.

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