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Garlicky Sautéed Greens

Top of the mornin’ to you! My family celebrated St. Patrick’s Day two ways; Mom would make corned beef and cabbage, and Daddy smoked his one cigar of the year. Today we’re getting the green on with garlicky sautéed greens, and just maybe a dark brown Guinness stout beer.

Garlicky Sautéed Greens

Greens. Leafy greens. Kale, chard, collard greens, beet greens, spinach… To transform healthy leafy greens into lucky charming emerald vegetables, cook your greens with fragrant garlic, and finish with a splash of sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Garlicky sautéed greens is another one of those very versatile recipe to keep in your back pocket. For a simple and satisfying vegetarian dinner, serve with brown rice or quinoa, and a protein, like golden tofu or tempeh.

Greens for garlicky sautéed greens

Choose any mix of leafy greens, or choose just one. I used purple kale and beet greens this time. Russian red kale with frilly purple leaves to be exact–not very Irish, but very much a delicious nutritious green. The tender mild beet greens were a nice complement for the stronger kale.

At Farmer’s Markets and at the natural food store here in town, you usually find beets with their gorgeous leafy tops intact, the leaves with barely a wilt. That’s two veggies for the price of one—fresh greens and their bulbous root. What do you do with the beet greens? You’re right–make garlicky sautéed greens!

Garlicky Sautéed Greens

To go with your greens, here’s a traditional Gaelic blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Garlicky Sautéed Greens recipe notes:

  • 2 bunches of greens will seem like a HUGE amount, but they’ll shrink down to serve 4 to six persons. Robbie and I love garlicky greens and sometimes end dinner with only enough for one person’s lunch the next day.
  • The splash of acid not only heightens the flavor, it softens the intensity of both the greens and the garlic. Take a bite before and after and taste the difference.
  • Sherry vinegar is my favorite acid here, but you can use lemon juice or apple cider or red wine vinegar.
  • If chard is one of your greens, chop and include the stems. Stir them into the hot oil before adding the garlic, and sauté 5 minutes, until they soften. Then add the garlic.
  • If using a tougher green, like collard greens, plan on more cooking time.
  • I’m a big believer in a garlic press for mincing garlic—I rarely chop it by hand. Mine is high quality stainless steel and has lasted for many years.

Do you have a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in your family?

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You might also like these Green Enchiladas with arugula and spinach..

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Garlicky Sautéed Greens
Garlicky Sautéed Greens
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
This versatile greens sauté is so flavorful, you'll be pulling out the garlic every time you have leafy greens in your fridge. Serve with brown rice or quinoa, and beans or tofu.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 2 bunches greens (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Real Salt
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes , optional
  1. Wash the greens well, but do not dry. Strip and discard the leaves from the stems. Coarsely chop the leaves into 1 ½-inch pieces, more or less.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the garlic and cook and stir a minute or so, until fragrant but not brown.
  3. Sir in the chopped greens and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Splash with vinegar, stirring it into the greens along with the red pepper flakes, if using. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Recipe Notes
  • Choose one or several different greens. I like to mix one stronger green, like kale, and one more tender green, like chard or beet greens.
  • If using a tougher green, like collard greens, plan on more cooking time.
  • If chard is one of your greens, chop and include the stems. Stir them into the hot oil before adding the garlic, and sauté 5 minutes, until they soften. Then add the garlic.


  • Maura

    Top of the mornin’ to you, Letty! It’s spicy mustard greens for us today. Thank you! xo Reply · 17 March, 2016

    • Thanks Maura–Greens for the win! Reply · 17 March, 2016

  • Katie

    We have another favorite Corned Beef story. Mom went on a retreat weekend and left Dad in charge. She started corned beef and cabbage in the pressure cooker and Dad didn’t remember to cool the cooker down and took a hammer to it to open. Dinner was off the ceiling! I hate boiled cabbage and stir-fry it with celery, onion, garlic. Our kids would eat almost a head of cabbage this way. I got the idea from an old Betty Crocker recipe for Chinese cabbage. When I learned about Colcannon I just stirred in mashed potatoes to the stir-fry. Then I got lazy and just cooked, unpeeled red taters to the cabbage and we’d eat lots. Reply · 20 March, 2016

    • Katie, I had heard of a Daddy disaster pressure cooker story–but didn’t know it was with the corned beef and cabbage! So many folks have food-on-the-ceiling pressure cooker stories–it’s hard to convince them to explore the time-saving delicious meals made possible with pressure cookers. Thanks for the giggle. Reply · 20 March, 2016

  • […] dollops of something tasty on top. Author Hamshaw’s favorite socca toppings include avocado, garlicky sautéed greens and salty olive tapenade. I did just that, to rave […] Reply · 16 April, 2016

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