Nov 3, 2012

How to Cook Greens - A Basic Recipe

I am one of the few people I know lucky enough to grow up eating greens. Lots of greens. Collard,
Mustard, and Turnip greens to be precise. I’m always surprised when people haven’t tried, or even
heard of greens! What did your granny feed you people?!

Now, there are a lot of different types of greens, and even more ways to cook them. I've been cooking
greens ever since I had my first kitchen away from home, and this is my absolute favorite way to make
them. My technique isn't much like the traditional, cook the living daylights out of them and load it
down with some sort of pork product, method (this is totally delicious by the way), but my way is still
delicious and way more healthy than cooking them the oldie fashioned way.

What you will need:

One bunch of greens, 2 if they are really tiny any variety is fine (I used Yakatta-Na, an asian variety, but its also great with mustard, turnip, collard, and kale greens - NO SPINACH)

1tbsp olive oil

2-3 thin slices of onion quartered widthwise

2-3 large cloves of garlic sliced very thin

½ lemon


Prepare the greens:

Cut off the large stalks at the end of each leaf – you may need to remove the bottom inch or so of the
leafy part if the stalk is really big. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise and then cut it into one inch pieces
width wise. (I think the best way to do this is make a little stack of leaves so you can cut more than one
leaf at a time). Put your chopped up greens in a colander and give them a good washing.

Steam your greens:

Put an inch or so of water in a stock pot. Insert a steaming basket and then pile in your washed and
chopped greens. Cook on medium high with the lid on your pot. Rearrange the greens with a pair of
tongs occasionally so that they will steam evenly. Steam until your greens are nice and tender (how
tender depends on you, some people like them a little crunchy, and some people like them all the way

Season your greens:

While your greens are cooking, heat up the oil in the skillet on medium heat. Suate the onions for a few
minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook until golden brown (keep a close watch so you don’t burn
the garlic). When your greens have reached an acceptable tenderness add them to the skillet along with
a pinch or two of salt. Toss well to coat the greens with the oil. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice from the ½ lemon on top. Serve while still warm.


  1. I am also one of the few people to grow up eating greens, though my list is quite different, including but are not limited to river spinach, sweet potato leaves and moringa leaves. And since I love greens, this recipe should be listed as part of my bookmarks of green recipes. Thank you for sharing!

    Jacob - Alfresco lakeside dining near Miami Airport

    1. Jacob, Its nice to hear from someone that loves greens as much as I do! Of your list, I've only been lucky enough to try sweet potato leaves cooked as a green. I have a friend whose aunt sells moringa products and plants, but I've only had the leaves as a tea. I'm going to have to hit her up for some fresh leaves so I can try it as a green. What is your favorite way to prepare it?