Charred Greens with Garlic

Charred greens with garlic is an exquisite way to get your super greens in, without having to resort to a grass-flavored smoothie. Your favorite greens are quickly charred and then given a boost with chile flakes and raw garlic. Doesn’t that sound better?

A soft green casserole dish filed with lightly charred broccolini, kale, and green beans, sprinkled with chile flakes and garlic.

Adapted from Elizabeth Van Lierde | Everyday Entertaining | Weldon Owen, 2021

This green power-packed, healthy dish is inspired by one from an amazing Indian restaurant, Dishoom, in London. My best friends and I waited two hours for a table at this restaurant and I walked away having eaten one of the best side dishes I’ve ever had.–Elizabeth Van Lierde

WHAT GREENS ARE GOOD WHEN CHARRED?

If you aren’t into kale or can’t find broccolini, all is not lost. There are all kinds of greens that’ll stand up to this rather indelicate treatment. Obviously, you’re going to need things that will stand up to the heat so no baby spinach or pea shoots. But how about escarole, mustard greens, full-grown spinach, fiddleheads, or endive? And in place of green beans, asparagus would be a treat, as would broccoli. What we’re saying is that it’s open to interpretation, your taste, and what your crisper drawer holds. Have at it!

Charred Greens with Garlic

A soft green casserole dish filed with lightly charred broccolini, kale, and green beans, sprinkled with chile flakes and garlic.
These greens are simply charred and tossed in aromatic raw garlic, and complement just about any protein you care to pair with them.
Elizabeth Van Lierde

Prep 25 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 40 mins
Sides
American
4 servings
50 kcal
No ratings yet
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Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces broccolini leaves and stems trimmed
  • 8 ounces green beans trimmed
  • 1 (7 oz) bunch of lacinato (Tuscan) kale ribs trimmed
  • 1 bunch scallions root ends trimmed and discarded
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons mild vegetable or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more if needed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
 

  • Trim broccolini so that the pieces are no thicker than the green beans. In a large bowl, combine broccolini, beans, and kale.
  • Drizzle with oil and toss well to coat.
  • Heat a cast-iron frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until very hot.
  • Working in 2 or 3 batches, add greens mixture and cook until charred, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining vegetables.
  • Toss greens mixture with red pepper flakes and garlic, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Taste, and adjust seasoning, if needed. Devour.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 50kcal (3%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 25mg (1%)Potassium: 148mg (4%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 1551IU (31%)Vitamin C: 61mg (74%)Calcium: 69mg (7%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These charred greens with garlic are a super-easy and tasty way to eat your green vegetables. My charring took a bit longer than the 6 to 8 minutes noted when I cooked over medium-high heat in a cast-iron frying pan, despite my working in batches. We liked this with a bit more oomph, so we added extra crushed red pepper flakes after taste testing and before serving. Also, after taste testing, we tossed in some cubed fried tofu, so instead of serving with a protein, our protein was mixed right in, and the dish went from being a side to being the entrée.

This could be terrific also with other greens, for example, regular kale instead of lacinato, or mustard greens, dandelion greens, etc., as well as the vegetables in different proportion, so if summer’s bounty in your fridge isn’t precisely these ingredients, you’d still have a wonderful, quick, easy, and nutritious side even with some substitutions or adjustments.

Charred greens with garlic are super good! This easy little recipe produces a very tasty side dish with minimum time and effort. And you can go ahead and feel virtuous for serving such a healthy dish that tastes so great.

What I learned along the way: 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt was too much for us. Cut back and add more if needed. It’s best not to crowd the pan. Remember, you want things to cook at a high heat without steam. With my 12-inch cast iron, that required 3 batches to get everything cooked with a bit of charring.

Before cooking, this looked like a huge amount of greens. They cooked down to a more manageable amount, enough for 4 healthy-sized servings. Served alongside grilled chicken breasts.

These charred greens with garlic are a deliciously simple side dish. The method was fabulous! I was initially fearful of the raw garlic but wow–once tossed with the hot greens it mellowed and dare, I say, bloomed? We all loved it–tasted decadent and virtuous at the same time.

Will try this method with other vegetables. We initially served the greens with pork chops. Would be wonderful alongside any protein, or with beans tossed in. I used leftovers with scrambled eggs the next day–wonderful.

The recipe headnote calls this one of the best side dishes ever and, while I wouldn’t go quite that far, these charred greens with garlic were a tasty, easy dish. What’s not to like about kale, green beans, and broccolini? The raw garlic-red pepper mixture added a really nice bite.

Prepping the vegetables was the most time-consuming part of making it. The next time I make this (and it will be soon!), I’ll tear the kale into smaller pieces and cut the scallions into lengths to match the green beans. I served it with chicken with orange, cream, and tarragon and rice.

These charred greens with garlic had simple ingredients but each packed with a punch of flavor–couldn’t stop the family from coming back for more! The crisp kale, green beans, and broccolini have a nice charred flavor that brings out savory notes not usually seen in these greens.

One cooking recommendation is to keep an eye on the greens, because depending on your stove temperature, your greens may unexpectedly char sooner or later than the recommended cook time. This recipe was served with a tahini mustard dressing but I would highly recommend the dish even alone, as is.

This recipe for charred greens with garlic is great to serve with almost anything (and I think you could even make it into a last-minute stir-fry if you wanted). The vegetables get nice and green and stay crisp due to the quick cook time, and the garlic added at the end is just right. Love the savouriness of the charred scallions, too. Will make it again. We had this with miso-ginger salmon and corn on the cob. Delicious!

Originally published August 26, 2021

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