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How to Cook Collard Greens

How to Cook Collard Greens with text

I recommend greens often, and collard greens are one of my favorites. They are a nutritional powerhouse, with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammation, and detoxification capacity. I end up writing the recipe 20 times a week to my private patients, and I’m excited I was finally able to take some pictures to share it here with everyone!

Why Cook Greens?

First of all, some greens are tough and bitter to enjoy in the raw state. You may have ventured with kale in smoothies or salads, but collard greens and other greens need to be cooked.

Many people add greens to their smoothies but that’s not for everyone. Raw greens on regular basis in large amounts will suppress your thyroid gland and interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, cook greens instead of eating them raw. Slightly steaming them is enough to destroy the compounds that block thyroid function.

I also advice my clients who see me for digestive issues, like gas, bloating, or slowed digestion, to cook their vegetables. During cooking, the cell walls of plant foods are broken down, releasing the nutrients and making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb them. I know there are people who encourage and promote an all-raw diet, but that’s not necessarily healthier since most people have some sort of impaired digestion thanks to aging, medications, our choices of food, stress, and more.

How to Chop Collard Greens

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Fold each leave and place on a cutting board.

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Cut the stem

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Cut each leaf in half and start stacking them

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Gather into a log. Hold the bunch with your left hand and start chopping with a large chef knife from the right side. (or switch if you’re left handed)

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How to Cook Collard Greens

To cook collard greens, steam or boil them in a little bit of water. If you decide to boil them, save the water you boiled them in and use it to make soup or stew since it will contain nutrients and antioxidants. Because they’re somewhat bitter, I like to saute them with garlic, onion, and extra-virgin olive oil. Don’t forget to finish with fresh lemon juice–that’s they key to cutting down their bitterness! You can also add some butter–just make sure it’s grassfed or top them wit nuts or seeds like slivered almonds or pine nuts.

Low FODMAPs Modification

To use this recipe on a low FODMAPs diet, remove the onion and garlic cloves. Replace them with chopped ginger. At step 7, add chopped green onions (the green part only).

Sauteed Collard Greens Recipe

Here’s my sauteed collard green recipe that I share with my patients. I hope you enjoy it too!

Sauteed Collard Greens
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Healthy, simple, and zesty collard green recipe.
Recipe type: vegetable side dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • 1 bunch collard greens, organic preferably
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half a fresh lemon), or more as desired
  1. Wash the collard greens and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the hard white stems in the middle with a knife (see pictures) or with your hands. If using your hands, hold the stem in one hand and then slide your other hand over the leaf and snap it from the stem.
  2. Stack the leaves on top of each other. Gather into a bundle and chop (see pictures).
  3. Place in a medium-large saute pan. Add as little water as possible to cover the greens. Cover with a lid.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer for 7 minutes on low heat.
  5. Strain the collard greens (reserve the water and add it to soups and strews).
  6. In the same pan on medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the chopped onion for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  7. Stir in the cooked collard greens. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure they're combined well.
  8. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  9. Serve warm.
How to Cook Collard Greens 2

How to Cook Collard Greens 1

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alexandra September 6, 2016, 11:02 am

    Can frozen collard greens be substituted for fresh in the winter time?

    • Nour Zibdeh September 13, 2016, 4:48 pm

      Thanks Alexandra for the message. I don’t really know the answer. If we compare to frozen vs. raw spinach, you can probably use frozen collard greens. They’re already cooked so you may not need to simmer ahead, maybe just saute with some olive oil, garlic and onion. Let me know if you try it