How to Cook Mustard Greens

Опубликовал Admin
20-04-2021, 16:00
Mustard greens are a bitter variety of leafy cruciferous veggies that come from the same family as spinach, collard greens, and kale. Learning how to cook these versatile greens can be a simple, tasty way to add a host of beneficial nutrients to your diet. After rinsing a big bunch of greens and removing the tough lower stems, you can simmer, steam, or sauté them until they take on the perfect soft, silky texture.

Making Slow-Simmered Mustard Greens

  1. Bring 4 cups (950 mL) of chicken or vegetable broth to a low boil. Pour the broth into a deep pot or saucepan and place it on the cooktop over high heat until it just begins to boil. Then, reduce the heat to take it down to a simmer. You can finish preparing your mustard greens while your broth comes to a boil.
    • Incorporate ½ a cup (75 g) of sautéd onion or cubed pork belly into your simmering broth to add even more flavor.
    • For more traditional Southern-style greens, you can also make your own stock by simmering a whole ham hock in 10–12 cups (2.4–2.8 L) water for 2-5 hours.
  2. Rinse your mustard greens under a stream of cool water. Grab 1-2 large bunches of raw greens and hold them under the faucet to wash away as much dirt or debris as possible. Mustard greens grow in the ground, so it’s important to make sure they’ve been cleaned properly before cooking and eating them. After rinsing your greens, give them a shake or pat them dry with a paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture.
    • If you’re cooking a lot of greens at once, it may be easier to swish them through a sink full of water to clean them all at once.
    • A couple big bunches of mustard greens will serve 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are.
  3. Cut the stems off the greens. Lay your freshly-rinsed greens flat on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice the light green stems off the bottom of the bunch. You can also simply tear them away by hand. The stems tend to be tough, which means they’re not good for eating.
    • Avoid taking off too much of the dark, usable part of the greens.
    • After removing the stems, you’ll be left with a bundle of loose leaves roughly the same size as romaine lettuce or bok choi.
  4. Add the greens to your simmering broth. You may need to push the greens down to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to make sure there’s enough room for them. If they look like they’re going to overflow, put them in one handful at a time as they continue to cook down.
    • Drop the greens into the pot quickly so you don’t burn yourself accidentally.
  5. Simmer the mustard greens for 45-60 minutes. Tender young leaves should only take about 45 minutes to cook down completely. Allow up to 1 full hour for tougher, more mature greens to soften up.
    • Stir the greens occasionally to keep them from clumping together.
    • You’ll likely notice your greens cooking down quite a bit as they simmer. This is normal. Because of their tendency to shrink up, it may be a good idea to use slightly more raw greens than you think you can eat.
  6. Drain the liquid from the greens and serve them hot. Turn off the cooktop and pour out the remaining broth slowly. Transfer the cooked greens directly to a serving dish. For more traditional Southern-style greens, you can also leave them to stew in a few inches of the flavorful liquid they were cooked in, which is sometimes known as "pot liquor."
    • The pot will be extremely hot after sitting on the stove for so long. Be sure to use potholders to protect yourself from burns.
    • Place your leftover greens in an airtight plastic bag or lidded container and stick them in the refrigerator. They should stay good for 4-5 days.

Enjoying Healthy Steamed Mustard Greens

  1. Wash and dry your mustard greens. Rinse 1-2 bundles of fresh greens under a stream of cool water to remove dirt and debris. Use your fingertips to help scrape off stubborn clinging dirt. Shake off the excess moisture, then pat the greens dry with a paper towel.
    • Throw out any leaves the look slimy or discolored. This is usually a sign that they’re past their prime.
    • An individual serving of greens is roughly ½-1 bundle.
  2. Remove the stems from the greens. Cut or tear the greens just above the light green stems so that the leaves come away in a loose pile. Discard the stems—unlike broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, they’re not typically eaten with the rest of the greens.
    • If you prefer, you can also tear the greens into bite-sized pieces prior to steaming.
  3. Boil 2 inches (5.1 cm) of water in a pan with steep sides. Set the pan on the cooktop over medium-high heat. Once the water has reached a boil, it will be ready to steam your greens to perfection.
    • If you have a pan with a removable steamer accessory, simply run some water into the bottom of the pan, insert the steamer, and pile the mustard greens on top.
    • Consider adding ⁄2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) of vinegar to the water to infuse your greens with savory flavor.
  4. Add your mustard greens to the pan or steamer basket and cover. Drop the greens in one handful at a time. This will give them a few seconds to cook down while you reach for the next handful, which will make it possible to fit all your greens in the pan at once. Once you’ve added your greens, place the lid on the pan.
    • It’s important to keep the pan covered as much as possible throughout the cooking process, as it will prevent the steam from escaping.
  5. Steam the greens for 4-6 minutes. Stir the greens periodically to make sure they don’t stick to the pan or each other. Otherwise, leave them alone and let the steam do its thing. You’ll know they’re done when they’ve just begun to wilt.
    • Mature greens may need to steam for up to 10 minutes, depending on how tough they are and how done you like them.
    • When steaming your mustard greens, you'll want to wait until after they're cooked to season them.
  6. Drain any remaining liquid from your greens before serving. Crack the lid of the pan and tilt it over the sink to let the excess water run out. Then, press the greens with the back of your spoon or spatula to squeeze out the last little bit of moisture. Plate your greens on a separate serving dish and season them with a drizzle of sesame oil or a sprinkle of salt, pepper, or garlic to taste.
    • If you're using a steamer basket, remove the basket by gripping the handle with a potholder or thick towel. This will help prevent burns.
    • Stash your leftover greens in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze them in airtight plastic zipper bags until you’re ready to use them again. Freezing your greens can help keep them fresh for 8-12 months or longer.

Making Sautéed Mustard Greens

  1. Rinse and dry your mustard greens. Hold 1-2 bunches of greens directly under a stream of cool water, or place them in a colander to wash large bunches more efficiently. Once they’re clean, shake them gently to remove excess water or pat them dry between a layer of folded paper towels.
    • You can feed 2-4 people with 1-2 bunches of sautéd greens.
    • When sautéing greens, it’s important to start with leaves that are nice and dry. That way, you can make sure they end up with just the right texture and prevent them from sending hot oil splattering everywhere when they hit the skillet.
  2. Cut or tear the stems from the greens. Try to only separate the thick, tough stems, leaving the leaves themselves intact. Be sure to remove every last stem—they won’t soften up much, no matter how long you sauté them.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of cooking oil in a large skillet. Set your cooktop to medium-high heat and swirl the oil in the skillet until the entire cooking surface is evenly coated. Once it begins to shimmer faintly, it will be time to add your mustard greens.
    • You can use just about any oil for sautéing greens. Coconut, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil are especially popular with chefs due to their smooth flavor and healthy fats.
    • For a burst of aromatic flavor, heat 1-2 diced shallots, 1 clove of minced garlic, or ½ of a sliced bell pepper along with your oil.
  4. Toss your mustard greens into the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes. The greens will begin to cook down quickly once they come into contact with the hot oil. Stir them sporadically to keep them moving around the skillet and ensure that the heat stays evenly distributed.
    • As an optional step, pour in 1 cup (240 mL) of chicken or vegetable broth after your greens have wilted. A splash of broth will help ensure that your mustard greens come out of the skillet plump, moist, and packed with flavor.
    • Leave the skillet uncovered to allow excess moisture to escape.
  5. Season the greens with salt, pepper, and other spices to taste. If you want to jazz up your greens a bit, sprinkle on some kosher salt and black pepper, or turn heat up a notch with a dash or cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes. Top them off with a squeeze of lemon to lend a hint of acidity, then serve and enjoy!
    • Sautéd mustard greens are great on their own or when served as a side dish with pasta, pork chops, or fresh fish.
    • Store the uneaten portion of your sautéd mustard greens in the refrigerator and try to use them up within 4-5 days—that is, if you don’t devour them all in one sitting!


Slow-Simmered Mustard Greens

  • 1-2 large bunches of mustard greens
  • 4 cups (950 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
  • Additional salt, pepper, or other assorted spices (to taste)
  • ½ cup (75 g) sautéd onion (optional)
  • ½ cup (75 g) cubed pork belly (optional)

Steamed Mustard Greens

  • 1-2 large bunches of mustard greens
  • Water
  • Salt, pepper, garlic, or other assorted spices (to taste)
  • Sesame oil (optional)
  • ⁄2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vinegar (optional)

Sautéed Mustard Greens

  • 1-2 large bunches of mustard greens
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cooking oil
  • Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1-2 diced shallots, 1 clove minced garlic, or ½ sliced bell pepper (optional—as aromatics)


  • Mustard greens pair well with salted meats such as salt-cured pork, bacon, prosciutto, and smoked turkey.
  • If you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to a stove, you can also microwave raw mustard greens with 1 fluid ounce (30 mL) of water on high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until properly wilted.


  • No matter which method you go with, be careful not to cook your mustard greens too long. Overcooking greens not only makes them mushy, but robs them of their beneficial nutrients.

Things You'll Need


  • Stockpot or saucepan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Colander or wire strainer (optional)


  • Skillet or pan with steep sides
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Steamer basket (optional)
  • Potholder or thick towel (optional)
  • Colander or wire strainer (optional)


  • Large skillet
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander or wire strainer (optional)
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