This is a recipe that can be made a thousand different ways. It’s the method I’ve been using to make sautéed greens for the last ten years, and probably the rest of my life.
I love the large bags of pre-washed, pre-cut kale for this. It’s really reduces the prep time and makes this dish come together like a dream.
All you need is a big skillet — like the biggest one you own — and your favorite wooden spoon or pair of tongs.
Start by chopping up the flavor makers: a bit of red (or any color) onion and and a clove of garlic. Add a sprinkle of red pepper flake (my little secret flavor booster).
Lightly sauté over medium-low heat, until slightly soft and fragrant. Don’t completely cook them, because they will keep cooking with the greens. We don’t want them to end up too black by the end.
Add in the greens. If they fit, go ahead and add them all at once, but doing this in smaller batches is okay too. Keep stirring them! It will help them cook faster and evenly.
They only need another 6-8 minutes in the pan, or a little longer if the greens are especially sturdy. When I’m using dandelion greens, I love to add a splash of cider or red wine vinegar and a teaspoon sprinkling of sugar (I’m sure a drizzle of honey or agave or even coconut sugar would work too).
That combination of vinegar and sugar really makes a fantastic flavor counter part to greens that are known for their bitterness.
At the very end, after I’ve tasted a leaf and know it’s good, I like to squeeze half a lemon over the whole thing. It’s just the little pick-me-up these greens need, and it’s just delicious.
But this kale, for now, is done. This is the type of vegetable dish that goes great along a quick fix dinner of chicken breast or tofu and pasta. It’s even substantial next to a bowl of creamy risotto or a braised winter stew. When I make sautéed greens, I still feel like I’m being über healthy, but it’s more comforting then a salad, and a lot less cold.
Sautéed greens are a staple vegetable in our house, and I hope they will be in yours too!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 red onion
- pinch or two red pepper flakes
- 2-3 cups finely chopped kale, tough stems removed, or 2 bunches fresh kale leaves
- squeeze of 1/2 lemon (optional)
- Finely chop the garlic and the onion.
- In a large pan set over medium heat, heat the olive oil until warm. Add the chopped garlic and onion and cook until slightly soft, 3-4 minutes. If they are getting too brown, turn the heat down. Add the red pepper flakes and sauté a few seconds, until fragrant. Add the kale and cook until the kale is soft, about 5-10 minutes, using large tongs or a wooden spoon to stir and rotate the leaves from top to bottom.
- Taste and add the squeeze of lemon, if desired.
- This method of cooking greens can also be used for swiss chard and mustard greens. If your greens are tasting a little too bitter, add a sprinkle of sugar, a drizzle of honey, or pure maple syrup when cooking the greens.