How to Cook Greens

We always hear that we should eat leafy greens every day - and for good reason! They are full of vitamins and minerals, are quick to prepare, and come in a wide variety of interesting flavours, textures, colours, and uses. Sautée for quick and easy cooked greens

This method is suitable for cooking any leafy greens. The only difference is that some greens take a few minutes longer to cook. In order of least to greatest cooking time:

  • spinach / baby braising mix (1-2 minutes)
  • chard / bok choy / mustard greens / komatsuna (3 - 5 minutes)
  • tatsoi (5-6 minutes)
  • kale / collards (5+ minutes, up to 30 minutes on low heat for super-tender greens)

150423 stripping kale leaves A few easy steps:

1. Rinse the greens.

2. Cut off long stems below the leaves, and remove any thick stems / mid-ribs (most important for sturdy greens like kale). There are two ways to do this:

  • As in the photo above: Start at the bottom end of the leaf, and pull the leafy part off the stem by pulling towards the base of the stem. When you get more than half way up the leaf, it may work better to pull towards the top of the leaf.
  • OR, as in the photo below: Fold the leaf in half, with the stem along one side. Use a sharp knife to cut along the edge of the stem to separate it from the rest of the leaf.

150418 cutting kale stem

3. Slice the greens into 1-inch thick ribbons (or whatever thickness you desire)

4. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a frying pan on medium heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the greens, stir them around briefly, and season with salt.

5. Add 2-3 Tbsp broth or water, and cover the pan with a lid

150418 kale in pan

6. Let the greens cook until wilted and tender. If you wish, you can carefully sample a leaf (it's HOT!), to determine if it is tender enough.

Be sure to not let all the liquid evaporate; there should be a thin coating of liquid on the leaves when finished. Add a bit more liquid if needed. Burnt / scorched greens are not very tasty!

7. If desired, add a clove or two of minced garlic to the pan during the last minute of cooking the greens. Get it right into the butter / liquid for the best flavour (as in the photo above), and stir it into the greens when you remove the pan from the heat.

(You can also add the garlic when you add the greens to the pan, but the flavour is more garlicky if added at the end.)

Cooked greens go especially well with:

  • any meat or seafood
  • eggs
  • as a side with pizza or lasagna
  • cooked bean dishes
  • served with an orange vegetable (carrots, squash, sweet potato, etc) in the same meal
  • potatoes

Optional Toppings

a) small drizzle of kombucha / apple cider vinegar / other vinegar of your choice / sauerkraut juice

  • Highly recommended (for flavour), and some experts say that consuming something acidic with greens will help absorb more of the nutrients from the greens.

b) chopped nuts; toasted for more flavour

c) spoonful of seeds

d) crumbled cheese, such as feta

e) sliced green onions

What other suggestions for toppings do you have?