Easy Sautéed Mixed Greens Recipe

Spinach and other greens in a large bowl for sauteed greens

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
52 Calories
4g Fat
5g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 52
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 164mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 25mg 127%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 184mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

New to cooking with greens and just looking for a simple way to prepare them? A great way is to just lightly sauté them with a bit of garlic, along with scallions or shallots in olive oil. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. You might want a little heat, so you can add a touch of hot sauce, or a bit of acid; lemon juice plays really well with bitter greens, brightening them up. That's all you really need.

This recipe calls for either kale or Swiss chard, along with a bunch of spinach as well. You can use any kind of kale you want, whether it's curly or Tuscan (or dinosaur) kale. All of these greens are super healthy, with vitamins A, C, K, iron, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and fiber. It's hard to go wrong.

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, these sautéed greens are super nutritious and delicious and make a great side dish. Otherwise, consider serving baked or fried tofu on top, and you've got a simple vegetable stir-fry to accompany quinoa, rice, or any other grain or grain mix. If you're not eating vegan, grate a little cheese right on top; try fresh parmesan or a goat gouda.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch kale (or Swiss chard)

  • 1 large bunch spinach

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 large green onions, chopped (or 1 large shallot, minced)

  • Sea or kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sauteed greens
    The Spruce
  2. Before you start, make sure your greens are prepared and ready to go. Give them a good rinse and let them dry, or pat them dry gently with clean towels.

    Prepare the greens
    The Spruce
  3. The thickest parts of the stems need to be removed from kale and chard, but the thinner, softer stems are fine to leave on. Coarsely chop into chunks a bit bigger than bite-sized. Greens will cook down and reduce in size.

    Remove stems and chop the greens
    The Spruce
  4. Once your greens are prepared, heat the garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about a minute.

    Heat garlic in olive oil
    The Spruce
  5. Add the onions or shallot and heat for another 1 to 2 minutes.

    Add green onions
    The Spruce
  6. Add kale or chard and heat until just barely tender—about 6 to 8 minutes for kale, and a little less for the chard.

    Add chard and cook until tender
    The Spruce
  7. Add the spinach, stir ingredients together gently, and cook just until wilted but still bright green—about 1 to 2 minutes.

    Add spinach to pan with kale and chard
    The Spruce
  8. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Season greens with salt and pepper
    The Spruce
  9. Serve immediately.

Variations

Any combination of greens will work in this recipe. You can use collards, which will take a little longer than kale or chard, you can use all spinach if you want a taste that's a little earthier. If you like peppery, bitter greens, try a combination of arugula with these other greens, or cook up some broccoli rabe, which is the most starkly bitter of all of them.


If all you've got on hand are baby greens such as kale or spinach, you can use them, too. Just be aware that they'll cook quickly, within a matter of minutes.

Tips

If you've never sautéed greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and/or spinach, it may look like a lot in the pan. They will shrink down when they cook, but the trick is to not overcook them; then they just get soggy. This recipe maximizes their tenderness and cooks them in batches because they take up a lot of room in the pan, and cook at different rates.


Feel free to drizzle the cooked greens with your favorite high-quality extra virgin olive oil if you've got one. It will taste delicious.

How to Store Sautéed Greens

These greens are best the day they are cooked but if you have any leftovers, they will keep in a sealed container for about three or four days. Use them in soups, toss them into frittatas or with scrambled eggs, or eat them after reheating them on the stovetop.