Recipe: Wilted Greens with Garlic & Soy

This is hardly a recipe at all but is something I cook all the time, perfect when I crave the clean, slightly bitter taste of greens. It is a brilliant way of using up leftover greens that are slightly past their best and that half cabbage that is lurking at the bottom of the fridge, though it is also amazing with fresh greens straight from the garden. It can be made in a matter of minutes and is great for a hit of vegetables alongside a curry or as a main course with some steamed rice and crispy tofu. 


Serves 4, as a side dish


A mixture of greens, washed.
If the leaves are small you can leave them whole, otherwise prepare as directed below:
White cabbage, finely sliced
Savoy cabbage, finely sliced
Spring greens, finely sliced
Chard or rainbow chard, perpetual spinach or beetroot leaves, big stems removed and finely chopped, and leaves roughly torn
Any type of kale, stems removed and finely chopped and leaves roughly torn
Spinach, leaves roughly torn
Pak choi, roughly chopped
Foraged greens such as sea beet or nettles

2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 – 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Black pepper
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Red chilli, finely sliced (optional)


1 wok or large frying pan
A lid which can be used to roughly cover the wok or saucepan it doesn’t need to fit exactly and can just sit inside the wok on top of the greens


Prepare all your ingredients in advance, as once you start cooking you need to work quickly.

Heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan until it is hot but not smoking. Add the sliced garlic and fry for about 15 seconds until it is just starting to colour. Immediately add some of the greens and stir really well as you fry. If you are using a mixture of greens add the greens that will take the most cooking first, for example, crisp cabbage and finely chopped chard stems will take a bit longer to cook than softer spinach leaves.

Cook the greens for two minutes until starting to soften and then add any other greens and cook for another minute. Cover the greens with the lid which will help them to wilt, and cook until soft (approximately another minute). Remove the lid and add 1 – 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to taste and cook for a minute more. Turn off the heat.

Add the sesame oil and a good grind of black pepper and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced red chilli. Serve immediately.

Wilted greens feature

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