Garlicky Sautéed Greens – Minimalist Baker Recipes

Amanda M. Rye

Olive oil, lemon wedges, and red pepper flakes around a bowl of sautéed garlicky greens

Eat your vegetables, they say, and we really try! But it’s so much more enjoyable (and more likely to happen) when they taste good. Enter our go-to sautéed greens recipe that actually makes us crave leafy greens! They’re garlicky, bright, flavorful, nutrient-packed, and come together fast with just 5 ingredients.

Got kale? Chard? Collards? Mustard, turnip, or beet greens? They all work here! This recipe is super versatile and easy enough for weeknights or meal prep. Let’s make greens!

Kale, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice

These 1-pan sautéed greens begin with cooking the garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil (or avocado oil) to infuse the oil with savory, subtly spicy flavor. If you’re not into heat, you can leave out the red pepper flakes and these will still be full of flavor!

Sautéing minced garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil

Next come your greens of choice. We’ve tested this recipe with kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and chard, and they all work beautifully. You’ll just need a little more water if using collard greens because of their lower moisture content.

Squeezing lemon juice into a pan of chopped kale

The remaining essentials for these sautéed greens are salt for overall flavor and lemon juice for brightness. After adding water and covering with a lid, the greens will soften and soak up all the flavors.

Red pepper flakes, lemon wedges, and olive oil around a pan of sautéed kale

We hope you LOVE these sautéed greens. They’re:

Subtly spicy
& SO easy!

Enjoy as a versatile side with nearly any main or other sides. These greens pair especially well with Italian-inspired recipes, including our Easy Penne Arrabbiata, Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta, Easy Pizza Burgers, and Easy Vegan Zucchini Boats.

More Flavorful Greens Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Fork spearing a bite of garlicky greens over a bowl

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 2 (Servings)

Course Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 3-4 Days

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic (3-4 cloves yield ~1 ½ Tbsp or 14 g)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bunch hearty greens of choice, chopped (such as kale, collards, chard, turnip, or mustard greens // 1 bunch yields ~8 cups or 520 g chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (~1/2 small lemon yields ~1 Tbsp or 15 ml juice)
  • 2-8 Tbsp water (or broth)
  • Add the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes (optional) to a large skillet over medium heat. Once lightly sizzling and fragrant, add the greens. Toss to evenly coat the greens in the oil and get the garlic off the bottom of the pan.

  • Once the greens have wilted slightly (1-2 minutes), add the salt and toss to evenly distribute. Add the lemon juice and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) water, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, then remove the lid and toss.

  • Depending on the type of greens you’re using, they may have released a bit of moisture or they may be dry (we find collard greens are the driest). The greens should be in a very shallow amount of liquid, not submerged or sizzling in a dry pan. Add the remaining 6 Tbsp (30 ml) water if needed and cover for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. After 15 minutes, the greens should be fully tender, darker in color, and most of the liquid should have evaporated. Depending on your preferred texture, they may be done at this point or they may need 5-10 more minutes with a bit more water.

  • Serve immediately! Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with kale and without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 100 Carbohydrates: 6.2 g Protein: 2.9 g Fat: 8.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 338 mg Potassium: 324 mg Fiber: 3.6 g Sugar: 1.1 g Vitamin A: 4044 IU Vitamin C: 83 mg Calcium: 225 mg Iron: 1.4 mg

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