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Cooking Greens, Two Ways

First, prep your greens:

Remove the thick ribs/stems from the leaves by holding the rib in one hand and pulling down on the leaf with the other hand like this. This is much faster than cutting the ribs out with a knife and it's a fun job for kids. If you've got chard, save those colorful stems to chop and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the greens (kale stems are tougher and can be composted or, if you're down, blanch them first and then chop them up and add them to a dish). 

Stack the de-ribbed leaves neatly in a pile on your cutting board. Roll them up into a big green wad and then cut cross-wise into whatever size pieces you desire (we go very thin for a kale salad and thicker for cooked greens). You can skip the chopping if you're going to blanch the greens. They'll be easier to chop once blanched.

Check to see if you'll need to wash your greens (you can skip this step if you're going to blanch them!). We always do our best to send you clean bunches, but if they need a quick rinse, toss the chopped greens into a salad spinner or large bowl full of cold water. Swish them around with your hands and then lift the greens out of the water. Pour out the water and then spin the greens dry in your salad spinner. 

Next, here are two ways to cook greens that will get you to something delicious:

Wilted Greens with Garlic & Vinegar

Adapted from Six Seasons

  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar (or lemon juice or any vinegar you have)

  • A scant 1/4-cup raisins

  • Good olive oil

  • 1 big garlic clove, smashed and peeled

  • 1 bunch greens (Lacinato kale works well, but chard or collards do too), thick ribs removed and leaves cut or torn into big pieces

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes

Put the vinegar and raisins in a little bowl to plump for an hour (or 15 minutes if that's all you have). 

Heat several good glugs of olive oil in a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook slowly until the garlic is very soft, fragrant, and golden brown (but not burnt — this will take about 5 minutes). 

Add the prepped kale to the pan, tossing with tongs until they all fit in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and (if the greens aren't wet from washing) add a tiny splash of water, and cover the pan. Cook over medium heat until tender (7-10 minutes), removing the cover towards the end to cook off any remaining liquid. Add the raisins, vinegar, and chile flakes, toss and taste. Add a bit more olive oil, if needed.

You can make greens this way a day or two ahead of time and reheat them.


Blanched And Then Sauteed Greens

Adapted from Farm Lunch

Fill a large pot with water, add salt until it tastes like the sea, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prep your greens (no need to wash them) and prepare an ice bath in a bowl next to the stove. When the water comes to a full boil, add the greens all at once, using tongs, a spider, or a slotted spoon to push them down.

Cook for a few minutes or until softened but still bright green. Use your utensil to remove the greens from the hot water and drop them into the ice bath to chill for a couple minutes. Remove the chilled greens and place in a colander in the sink and squeeze out as much water as possible.

You should now have a big wad of not-too-wet blanched greens. Place this on your cutting board and roughly chop them. If you want to freeze greens to eat later, you can pack these chopped, blanched greens in a ziploc and stick it in your freezer.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 big or 2 small, smashed cloves of garlic and a pinch of chile flakes. After a couple of minutes, when the garlic is fragrant, add the chopped greens and a pinch of salt (you may not need much if your boiling water was well salted). Stir vigorously so that all the greens get coated in garlicky, salty, chile oil. Your greens are already cooked, so this step won't take long. Remove from heat, squeeze lemon over the top and taste for salt and acid.


Some things to do with delicious cooked greens:

  • Eat them as is, or put them in the fridge to add to sandwiches, soups, and stir-fries throughout the week.

  • Pile them on top of toast spread with whipped ricotta or fresh cheese and toasted walnuts. That's one of our favorite dinners.

  • Eat them with fried, poached, or soft boiled eggs, a simply dressed whole grain (brown rice, farro, wheat berries, or polenta) and an herby sauce for the best kind of breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

  • Add them to a quiche, frittata , pizza, or pasta.

  • Turn them into a version of Indian saag, make greens and peanut butter sandwiches, or pasta with kale sauce.

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