Sautéed Leafy Greens

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March 13, 2012 | Issue 391


Go Green for Saint Patrick's Day

Sautéed Leafy Greens

Ditch the green food dye and add some festive color to your table the natural way with a leafy green side dish. This simple sauté is perfect for everyone from the accomplished culinarian to the kitchen-illiterate. It calls for just 5 ingredients, but packs plenty of flavor and phytochemicals. Beta-carotene is a particularly powerful antioxidant found in dark leafy greens. Foods containing carotenoids may help protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach. Watch our video for more helpful kale cooking tips straight from AICR's Test Kitchen.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 65 calories, 4 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 7 g carbohydrate,
2 g protein, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 25 mg sodium

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 lb. leafy greens (kale, chard, or collard greens)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. Chop the garlic and onions, and then set aside – research shows that allowing garlic to stand for 10-15 minutes before cooking can help retain its health-beneficial enzymes.
  2. With a knife, remove and discard very tough or damaged end portions of the greens – keep the majority of the stems attached. "Core" the center portion of the greens, then chop the leaf cores and stems into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Roll the leaves into a tube shape, about 3 at a time, and cut lengthwise to create thin 1" ribbons.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, black pepper, and green stems and cores. Heat, covered, for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add the leaves and cook, covered, another 3-5 minutes until stems are tender and leaves are wilted and brightly colored. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan if it seems like the leaves are getting too dry.
  4. Add salt to taste.

Grocery list

Leafy greens (kale, chard, or collard greens)
Extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper

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Video: How to Cook Kale

Help Kids "Go Green" for St. Patrick's Day and Beyond

Did You Know?

Beta-carotene is absorbed better if eaten with some fat. And cooking vegetables that contain beta-carotene also increases its bioavailability – the chance the body will be able to absorb it in the small intestine.

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