Asian Greens ♥
(How to Cook Fresh Greens with Asian-Style Taste)

Asian Greens
An easy way to cook fresh greens (such as kohlrabi leaves, beet greens, chard, and other greens) and then season with Asian-style flavors. Low carb. Weight Watchers zero points or just one point. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

So maybe I should set up a challenge, "Never again throw away fresh greens".

We all know the drill, right? We love the fresh beets from the farmers market. We're enchanted by the perfect globes of kohlrabi in our CSA box. But the greens? The beet tops? The kohlrabi leaves? Not so much.

Last week, after making a big batch of Roasted Kohlrabi, I started to throw away the kohlrabi leaves – and then stopped myself, knowing that it was wasteful, financially and nutritionally. But what to make with kohlrabi leaves? I considered the technique from Greek Greens, my favorite way to cook greens when they're fresh, to hold for a day or two, then took inspiration from a recipe by Ivy Manning published on Culinate.

Yay – an Asian twist to cooking fresh greens! In fact, while I used the recipe for cooking kohlrabi leaves, I would recommend this simple technique for the many greens found in Asian markets.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes (see TIPS)
Time to table: 30 minutes (see TIPS)
Serves 4

Big pot of well-salted water
1 bunch fresh greens - kohlrabi leaves, beet greens, chard, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc.

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Red pepper flakes (see TIPS)

WATER Bring the water to a boil, be generous with the salt. Use a pot that's big enough for water and the greens, you don't want to 'pack' the greens into the pot, they need room to cook, plenty of space to swirl around in the boiling water. If need be, you can cook the greens in batches.

WASH Meanwhile, wash the greens well under running water. If the greens are clean, a quick rinse will do. If they're just dusty, wash under running water, rubbing the surface of the greens with your fingers to clean. If the greens are extra dusty or dirty, soak them in cold standing water for several minutes to soften and loosen the dirt, then rinse under running water. As you wash the greens, throw away any greens that are extra tough looking or blemished.

PREP With a knife, remove the stems and ribs. If you like, these can be chopped up and sautéed separately. Stack several leaves on top of one another, roll up into a 'cigar' shape, then cut cross-wise into ribbons.

COOK Drop the greens into the boiling water a handful at a time until the pot is full but not packed. Chances are, you'll be able to add still more after a minute or two, as the greens begin to collapse in the heat. Cover and let cook until done but still bright green -- the timing will vary based on the variety, age and thickness of the greens but will range from a couple of minutes to 20 minutes or so. I keep a fork nearby to pull out a ribbon of greens for a quick taste-test. Drain well in a colander, squeezing out the excess water if need be. If you like, chop the greens a bit more for bite-size pieces.

SEASON Toss the greens with the sesame oil and soy sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

SERVE Serve hot if you like but I found it surprisingly good at room temperature. I would also make these ahead of time and then serve for a couple of days, stirring into salads, slipping into a sandwich, etc.

CLEANING GREENS Time-wise, prepping and cooking greens can vary by a lot. If the greens are so dirty that they need soaking and careful washing, allow extra time. If the greens are less than perfectly fresh, or quite thick, allow extra time for cooking too.
ASIAN SPICES The inspiring recipe from Culinate used a spice mix called 'shichimi' which I managed to find but might be difficult for many. It's a mix of red pepper, roasted orange peel, yellow and black sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, seaweed and ginger. I liked it a lot, but it's the 'heat' of the red pepper that makes it useful in the greens.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long in 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column, and now again in 2010. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010


I love beet greens, so this would be perfect for them! I usually stir-fry them with little inspiration - maybe some olive oil and red pepper, maybe garlic. I love this flavor profile, and it's just as easy.

We are eating greens from our garden plot several times a week. The collards, kale, swiss chard and spinach went through the winter, plus the spinach planted earlier. For lunch, we had stir-fry of spinach, snow peas, green pepper — all from the garden — plus ginger and an old onion I had. Could have pulled a fresh onion but am letting them grow big. Have not yet harvested the garlic, but should soon. We will plant rabe [spelling] this fall. About one-third of our community gardeners are Chinese. The Koreans here play golf. We cook the collards, kale etc with fatback — soul food! -- and admit that we pour the `pot likker’ back onto the garden. S-h-h-h.

I have a TON of greens from my SCA share, so thanks for this post! They look yummy and versatile. I'm thinking that these greens would be great with some grilled shrimp, which I also have at home - I love when dinner is decided!

These greens are a bit bitter for my taste, but I'm going to try this technique with choy sum and Chinese cabbage from my Asian grocery.

I so love eating & making fresh greens, biiter or not!!

Also thanks for the tips!

Thanks for this recipe. I get a lot of greens from my CSA and I don't have much experience with them if they're not incorporated in a stir fry. The leftovers make a great luch.

I'm excited to give this recipe a shot! Stir-frys get boring, and I like this method!

We planted what we thought was Cabbage in our garden this year. It turned out to be what I think is Kohlrabi. So now the question is what do I do with it? I have never cooked with it, and we would like to know if anyone has any good recipes for us to try. Nothing fancy, just good old American cooking.Can anyone help me out?

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna