How to Cook Greens That Taste Amazing—#1 Easy Recipe

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Vegetables 1080X675 1 | How To Cook Greens That Taste Amazing—#1 Easy Recipe

If you’ve ever wondered: how to cook greens that actually taste good, look no further. Here’s my #1 go-to recipe, PLUS 10 compelling reasons why greens are good for you in the first place.

We ALL KNOW that greens are good for us. Greens, along with other fruits and veggies, are loaded with “phytonutrients” (the rich colors that boast TONS of vitamins and minerals that we can’t find in many other foods).

However, just 1 in 10 Americans eats the minimum recommended number of fruits and vegetables in a given day—defined as 1.5–2.0 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of veggies.

And while we all know that fruits and veggies are “good” for us, we also know exercise, not eating sugar, drinking water and getting 7-9 hours of sleep is good for us too…but we still struggle.

What gives?!

Many people say things like:

  • “Greens are boring.”
  • “I hate dry salads.”
  • “Vegetables don’t taste good.”
  • “I don’t have time to cook them.”
  • “I don’t know HOW to cook them.”
  • “I don’t like green smoothies.”

If this is you…look no further:

Here my best ever (easy) 5-minute recipe teaching how to cook your greens (and make them taste delicious), plus 10 compelling reasons why greens do a body good (beyond your mom just telling you “greens are good for you”):

10 Reasons Why Leafy Greens Are Good for You

Popeye was right when he said spinach is good for you.  And not just spinach, but dark leafy greens are the “superstars” of veggie kingdom.


“Leafy greens” include:

  • Kale
  • Chard (Swiss and rainbow)
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Collards
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Arugula
  • Baby greens
  • Endive
  • Mesclun
  • Lettuce greens: butter, romaine
  • Leaves & herbs: parsley, watercress, dandelion, cilantro

A variety does a body good, but generally, the darker and richer in color a veggie is, the MORE

nutrition it boasts. Here are 10 reasons why you should get your greens on—beyond your mom

just telling you, “they are good for you.”

Greens are good for you because they…

  1. Bust PMS Cramps
  2. Alleviate Headaches
  3. Soothe the Stomach
  4. Help You Go #2
  5. Rid Your Liver of Toxins
  6. Maximize Nutrient Absorption
  7. Boost Immunity
  8. Make You Popeye Strong
  9. Balance Blood Sugar
  10. Greens are Nature’s Multi-Vitamin

1.Bust PMS cramps

Dark leafy greens are loaded with magnesium, a mineral essential for “de-stressing” the body from cramps and PMS.

  1. Alleviate Headaches

Similar to their cramp-busting super powers, greens also stamp out headaches, associated with magnesium deficiency, low hydration and blood sugar imbalances. Greens are composed of 80-90% water, hydrating the body naturally, send in extra magnesium to alleviate tension, and balance blood sugar hanger-headaches by helping your body better absorb the nutrients you eat.

    1. Soothe the Stomach

Dark leafy greens—particularly cooked leafy greens—are generally well-tolerated by most all human guts. Unlike many cruciferous veggies—like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or raw veggies—like carrot sticks, celery, cucumber and raw kale, cooked greens “flow” through the digestive tract fairly smoothly. Whereas raw vegetables contain cellulose (a fiber that is poorly digested by humans), dark leafy greens—with stems removed and cooked down are much more simple to digest. Dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, beet greens, savoy cabbage and Swiss chard, also have an alkaline rating of +8.0 and above—making them more “basic” and easier to break down in the gut.

    1. Help You Go #2

One word: fiber. A one cup serving of cooked leafy greens contains approximately 5 grams of fiber (whereas a one cup serving of raw leafy greens contains 2-3 grams of fiber), helping you meet the minimum recommended amount (20-35 grams) for daily healthy stools and digestion.

While pre-biotic (resistant starchy tuber like cooked and cooled sweet potatoes, taro, green plantains and bananas, jicama, leeks, onions, garlic) insoluble is also essential for digestive health to help form your stools and “go,” leafy greens—particularly cooked—speed up the time it takes for food and waste to move through the body.

    1. Rid Your Liver of Toxins

Speaking of “speeding up” elimination (poo) patterns, dark leafy greens also speed up elimination of unwanted toxic wastes circulating in your body and liver. Leafy greens contain chlorophylls, which help remove chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals from the bloodstream.

    1. Maximize Nutrient Absorption

Since dark leafy greens contain fiber and improve digestion overall, you absorb all the nutrients you eat better—particularly your proteins and healthy fats. Consider greens as the “rafts” for carrying other foods through your digestive system and consequently delivering nutrients at a faster rate.

    1. Boost Immunity

Dark leafy greens are Mother Nature’s instant disease-fighting fix. Dark leafy greens contain “free radicals” (i.e. antioxidants) that bust disease, illness and toxins. They have names like anthocyanidins, catechins, lutein, quercetin, and resveratrol.These compounds are like “steel armor” that help prevent “oxidation” (i.e. cell stress and death), helping your body fight stronger against any pathogens that come your way.

    1. Make You “Popeye” Strong

Dark leafy greens, like spinach, contain more calcium than dairy—serving as a building base for strong bones. Couple this with their magnesium and potassium, PLUS essential fat soluble vitamins from healthy fats   you use for cooking them or dressing your salad, and you also have a better chance of actually absorbing the calcium in them.

In addition, as mentioned previously, since dark leafy greens boost digestion and absorption of your other foods, you may as well say, greens also help make your muscles stronger (so your body can get the biggest bang from your post-workout nutrition).

    1. Balance Blood Sugar

Dark leafy greens are low in sugar, but high in nutrients and digestive wellness—making them an excellent attack against blood sugar swings, feeling hangry and malabsorption of energy in your foods. Blood sugar gets out of whack when we have poor absorption and digestion, we eat a diet higher in sugar and starchy foods, and miss out on healthy fats, proteins and…green veggies. And no, this doesn’t just mean eating dry salads. In fact, if you were to only eat dark leafy greens alone—not enough protein or fats, chances are your blood sugar levels would still be out of sorts. Use greens as the “base” of your carbohydrate source, paired with other nutrients and pre-biotic fibers (resistant starch that helps form bulk in stools and enhance digestion) for the win-win-win-win source of balanced blood sugar.

    1. Greens Are Nature’s Multivitamin

Check this list: Calcium, folate (Vitamin B), carotenoids, Vitamin A, Vitamins C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, iron, Magnesium—just to name a few. Unfortunately, when we cut our veggie intake short (OR we rely on ketchup, French fries and pasta sauce as our primary sources), we miss out on these essentials that fuel our bodies for a lifetime.


Convinced you need to get your greens on?

Here’s the best-ever 5-minute greens that go with just about everything on your plate! And since there are TONS of varieties of greens to choose from, and ways to dress them up, you’ll never get bored.

Why pan sauté your greens?

While some people think that cooking destroys vegetable nutrients, research (1. Yuan et al, 2009) (2. Rameriz-Anaya et al, 2015) confirms that steaming and pan sauté methods (like my method) below actually help your greens retain their nutrients and more enzymes than straight up long-term cooking or boiling methods from other vegetables.

In addition, since cooked greens contain LESS cellulose than raw vegetables, they are also easier to digest.  No, eating raw leafy greens (like salads) is certainly not bad, BUT for those who struggle with digestion or want to maximize healthy fiber intake, cooked greens are the way to go.

The bottom line: Get your greens on, ideally 2 to 3 times per day, and mix its up—a variety of cooked and raw do a body good.



  • 1-2 heads organic dark leafy greens of choice OR large container/bag organic greens (power greens, Supergreens, rainbow chard, lacinto kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp. ghee, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, pastured bacon grease or coconut oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • optional add-ons (choose one):
    • nutritional yeast flakes
    • unsweetened coconut flakes
    • coconut butter
    • 2 cloves garlic & lemon
    • red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 yellow onion & sliced mushrooms, sautéed
    • pastured crispy bacon
    • 1 tbsp. coconut aminos

    Wash and dry greens if needed.

    Tear leaves from stems into bite sized pieces if using whole leaf (if using boxed or bagged greens, they are already “torn”)

    Heat fat of choice in a pan stove on medium heat.

    Toss greens into pan and season with sea salt and pepper.

    Cover with lid. Allow to sautee for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked and wilted to preferred consistency.

    Top with additional “add ons” of choice.

    Serve alongside any meal, as a warmed salad or as the “base” for meatsauce, taco meat, shredded beef or chicken.


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