Cooked Greens

wilted greens

Cooked Greens

Pretty much any green leafy veg can be cooked this way. Pre-cooked greens will keep in the fridge twice as long as fresh. And they take up much less space!

takes: 10-15 minutes
makes: 3-4 handfuls

3-4 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely sliced, optional
1 large bunch greens, washed & finely sliced
squeeze of lemon, optional

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium high heat.

2. Add the garlic (if using) and the greens and a splash of water. Cover and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Stir, add more water if the greens are starting to burn then recover and cook for another few minutes. Continue to cook and stir every few minutes until the greens are just wilted.

4. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice, if you like.


different greens – I’ve used beet tops in the photo. Other options include cavolo nero, or black Tuscan cabbage, silverbeet (chard) or rainbow chard, spinach, or curly kale. I’ve read that radish or turnip tops can also be used but haven’t ever tried.

add protein – a fried or poached egg can be a lovely accompaniment. Or serve as a side to roast meats. Or toss in a can of drained beans or lentils to heat through at the end.

change the cooking method – simmer the greens in boiling water until tender. Drain and toss in some extra virgin olive oil. I’m not a huge fan of this because you lose your water soluble vitamins.

summer greens – skip the whole cooking part and just slice the greens as finely as possible and dress with lemon juice and olive oil.

Usage Suggestions

healthy meal – one of my favourite ‘single girl’ meals is to cook up a huge plate of greens and serve with a generous topping of grated parmesan. Or if I need more protein I add a drained can of tuna or a poached egg.

warming side – use as a winter side anywhere you’d normally serve a green salad.

curry – use instead of frozen spinach in an Indian ‘saag’.

with lentils – toss in a can of drained lentils or some cooked lentils.

with roast veg – serve scattered with roast root veg or pumpkin and possibly a handful of almonds and a squeeze of lemon for a quick veggie meal.

with ricerecipe here.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely. Takes 10-15 minutes. I like to make up a big batch to have on hand for quick meals during the week.

Storage Best Practices

Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

oil, garlic – pantry.

greens – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. Can be frozen if needed. If you get time to slice before freezing that will make it super easy to defrost in the pan.

lemon – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

Problem Solving Guide

burning / crispy greens – reduce the heat asap and add in a few splashes to water to generate some steam which will help the cooking process.

bitter flavours – this is probably the greens themselves, although be careful not to burn your flavourings as garlic and ginger will go bitter if burnt.

bland – don’t forget to season!

too acidic – I’ve ruined a few batches of greens by overdoing the lemon juice, A little goes a long way. Extra olive oil can help calm the situation.


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  • I’m so glad to see this recipe here – especially the suggestion of adding an egg on top. As it is summer here in Canada, I have signed up for a box from a local CSA (community sourced agriculture) farm and I’m getting some lovely bunches of greens (beet greens, various chards…) and I’m sure there will be more to come.
    I’ve enjoyed them steamed as a side dish, but now I’m inspired to try them with some of the garlic scapes I have from the first box, with an egg on top.
    It’s also good to know how long they can keep in the fridge (and freezer) as I’m cooking for one and can have plenty left over.

    • Feb Jenn!
      I love the idea of CSA boxes… And you might want to think about freezing some cooked greens for the winter. 😉

      • Oh, plenty of things are going into the freezer 🙂

        Currently trying to figure out what to do with three bunches of radishes (there are very few things I won’t eat, but I admit I’m not fond of radishes)

        • You knownJenn I struggle with radishes too… My fave way to use them is to slice very finely on a mandolin and toss in salads. I’ve tried roasting and it didn’t like the flavour! The French eat them raw with lashings of salted butter… Jx

          • The next box arrived today and radish season seems to be over, but I’ll keep that in mind for next year. Thanks

          • I’m pretty sure radishes grow year round Jenn so you never know when they might turn up again!

  • Have you tried shredded cabbage sautéed in butter or coconut oil, then add zest and juice of an orange? Fantastic served with chicken.

  • Reminds me of my childhood when cooked leaves off beets, but you have made them much tastier and nutritious.

  • I have never cooked greens before your lessons. I love doing this and my husband will eat them this way! Very tasty and I find myself throwing them in many things I cook these days.

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