Garlicky Greens Recipe

If you love sauteed greens, give this recipe a go. I avoid overcooking, and throw plenty of garlic into the pan. You can use kale, chard, or spinach.

Garlicky Greens

Do you remember Nikki's sweet potato recipe from a couple weeks back? She recommended serving her sweet potatoes alongside lots of lots of garlicky, sauteed greens. I realized at the moment I went to publish her recipe that I've never posted a simple, tasty, everyday sauteed greens recipe here. I'm not exactly sure how this omission happened, but it did. So here it is, a quick, extra-garlicky kale, chard, or spinach recipe - your choice. Personally, I like my greens cooked for just a couple minutes (if that), so they retain a hint of structure, and plenty of color and vibrancy.

Garlicky Greens Recipe

I use greens quick-cooked like this in dozens of ways. Stir a few beaten eggs into a skillet of sauteed kale, and you're on your way to a delicious omelette or frittata. I sometimes chop the leaves a bit finer (pre or post saute), and add them to all sorts of soups and curries - you get color, flavor, and a nutritious boost. Puree the sauteed greens and you can whisk or blend them into yogurt, hummus, mashed potatoes, and dips. Any ideas from your end?

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Garlicky Greens Recipe

If you are using spinach ignore the stem instructions below. With spinach I simply trim any long stems. Also, feel free to make this vegan and/or dairy-free by leaving out the Parmesan cheese. Toasted almonds or pine nuts are a great substitution (or addition).

1 large bunch of kale, chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (opt)
crushed red pepper flakes

To de-stem each leaf of chard/kale, grab the main stalk in one hand and strip the leaf from the stem all the way up with the other. I then tear the big leaves into bite-sized pieces, but you can use a knife for this task if you prefer. Wash the greens in a big bowl (or sink) full of clean water, rinsing and swishing to rinse away any stubborn grit and dirt. Drain, rinse again, and set aside.

Hold off cooking the greens until just before eating. Then, in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add a couple big pinches of salt and the greens. They should hiss and spit a bit when they hit the pan. Stir continuously until their color gets bright green, and they just barely start to collapse - two, three, maybe four minutes, depending on how hot your pan is and how much structure your greens have. Then, just thirty seconds before you anticipate pulling the skillet off of the heat, stir in the garlic. Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, and add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed, and serve immediately if not sooner.

Serves 2- 3.

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for a quick easy healthy supper, i'll sautee greens and top them with a couple of poached or soft cooked eggs, and a some roasted crispy potatoes on the side. it's exactly what i want, often, especially with fresh farmers market eggs.


Have done a similar recipe but I first warmed the oil on low with the garlic in it. We like to have the garlic flavor through out the dish. Then went to high temp to saute the greens. Gives a broader garlic flavor. A few chopped, toasted almonds add a whole dimension. Try with fetta, gives it a Greek twist.


I love swiss chard (or whatever greens I have on hand) sauteed with chopped onion, a clove or two of garlic, some toasted pine nuts, and a handful of golden raisins. Sometimes I'll grate a little nutmeg in the mix or add half a capful of apple cider vinegar for a little zing. Another favorite is kale or collards sauteed with a little oil, garlic, and smoky paprika. It mimics the traditional greens-cooked with smoked meat flavor a bit. I'll probably make it on New Years day with some black eyed peas and cornbread.


These look so bright and fresh. I serve all my pasta dishes over greens of some sort. No need to cook, the hot pasta wilts them perfectly.


This is a staple at our house and pretty much with every meal, stems and all. asaxygirl: care to share your lentil recipe? sounds yummy, too!


Yikes! Way too much garlic for me. I find one or two cloves is plenty--and I am half Italian. I offer this kale salad discovered at a macrobiotic bed and breakfast brunch at the beach in south Jersey years ago: same greens preparation as Heidi's, quickly steam kale until bright green, cool and toss with whisked olive oil, salad spices, dash of mustard, good vinegar and enjoy cold. Even my kids loved kale salad. Enjoy those greens! Then there's "scadole n beans" but that's another Italian peasant garlicly greens story.


Yum! This was perfect with the white miso lentils I had for breakfast.


scissors also work great for trimming the leaves from the stem. then slice and dice the stems. beet greans are my favourite, but mixed greens are also excellent


For TDyl - there are many conversion charts on the web that have all the weights, measures, temps, etc. I discovered many of them when trying to find a way to convert a convection oven recipe for Black raspberry and macadamia nut cookies to conventional oven heat and time. Couldn't find what I needed, but after calling and emailing a few friends I learned what to do. :-) I hope this helps. The greens, by the way, look delish!


Also . . glad that Heidi mentioned stripping the leaves off the stem by hand. Excellent advice! Using a gloved hand makes it even easier. I then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, put them in a plastic bag and pull out handfuls during the week. Kale, one of the most nutritious foods available as well as abundant, seems to be indestructible.


great recipe. i use two slices of thick bacon chopped finely with the crushed red pepper fried until done and then follow the rest of the recipe


Love cooking my kale this way. The aphids love my garden kale so I started snapping off leaves for the compost bin, then sick of losing good food, I put some of less infested leaves into a plastic dish pan of warm soapy water. After a while the aphids "slid" off the leaves to the bottom. No more lost kale leaves! Hope this doesn't gross out anyone. The kale, by the way, keeps growing. My stalks are at least 3 feet high, like palm trees.


This is basically how I cook kale and swiss chard. Thanks for the tip about removing the stem by hand - I've been cutting it out and it takes forever. Sometimes I like mixing the greens into a bowl of polenta with mozzarella or parmesan. It's definitely comfort food for the winter months. (I made your lentil soup last night - so easy and yet so delicious!)


I am going to try it your way. My Mom used to make Kale growing up and it was cooked so long, it was super gross. I hated the texture, the consistency, it was a big pile of mush! And because of that, 25 years later, I have NEVER tried them again. Your picture looks much more appetizing. It sounds so simple too!


Thanks for this recipe Heidi, it will be on the Christmas table. Is there an easy method to turn American "cups" into weights and measures that the English could use? Many thanks in advance TDyl


I've been getting lots of greens from my CSA. One thing I've done lately is blanch and then puree them with nuts, garlic, and olive oil. I spooned this pesto over scrambled eggs and onto soup.


i made garlic confit yesterday and used some of the oil and a few of the cloves from it to sauté with kale and it ruled.


This looks delicious! I made wilted spinach recently with pine nuts and fell in love with the combination. I think some Parmesan would make it perfect.


This sounds great! I have done something similar, but they always seemed to be missing something. I think this recipe will really help. I often add some chickpeas at the end. Really good!


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