This Brazilian collard greens recipe is nothing like the slow cooked Southern version. Bright, garlicky and crisp-tender, these collards are one of my favorite sides ever! And the best part? You’ll only need four ingredients and 15 minutes (or less) to make them! 

In Brazil, collard greens are a must with feijoada. You can also serve them with Tutu de Feijão or use them to make my Caldo Verde, Feijão Tropeiro or Sausage and Collard Greens Risotto.

Sautéed Brazilian Collard Greens in a skillet.

A quick and easy collard greens recipe!

Are you intimidated by collard greens?

I mean, I can’t blame you. When you look at them in the grocery store, standing there all gigantic among the other normal-sized greens, they do look pretty intimidating.

And then you search for recipes and you find out that it takes a long time to cook them? No, thank you! I guess I’ll just grab some broccoli and call it a day.

But I have the answer to your problems!

What if I told you that you could be eating the most delicious collard greens in under 15 minutes? Would that make you consider giving them a second chance?

Forget slow cooking them for hours. Cutting them into thin ribbons cuts the time dramatically. And I find that they taste fresher and less bitter when they are only sautéed until crisp-tender (meaning there’s still a bite to them).

Once you make this recipe, collard greens will become the first greens you reach for at the store!

Ingredients to make Brazilian Collard Greens

Grocery List

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO BUY:

  • Collard greens, 1 bunch
  • Garlic, 4 cloves

PANTRY ESSENTIALS:

Ingredients I assume you already have at home. But, if not, make sure to grab them at the store!

  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Buying and storing collard greens

When buying collard greens, look for firm and deep green leaves with no yellow spots or bug holes. 

Also, be aware that while the bunch looks like a lot, collard greens is one of those greens that wilts considerably. A bunch will only feed 4, with no leftovers, so grab more if you need to serve more people or if you want to have some left to enjoy the next day!

When you get home, place them in a large airtight plastic bag, unwashed. Place them in the fridge and use within 4 to 5 days for best results. 

If your collards are soft, slimy, yellow/browned or smelling bad, they are spoiled and should be discarded. 

Close up shot collard greens recipe

How to cut and cook fresh collard greens

There really is no secret to make this collard greens recipe. 

The most time consuming part of the process is going to be removing the stems. I confess that that’s my least favorite part, because I like to do one by one. 

But after that, all you gotta do is stack the leaves, roll them tight and slice the collard greens into thin strands, sauté in olive oil and garlic, season with salt and voila: bright green delicious collards are ready to be devoured!

Recommended tools and equipment: Chef’s knife, cutting board, skillet.

Step by step photos on how to make collard greens recipe.

Here’s how I make this Brazilian collard greens recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!

Step 1: Prepare the collard greens

  • Remove and discard the center ribs. (Photo 1)
  • Stack the collard greens in a pile. I find it easier to do two or three piles per bunch. (Photo 2)
  • Fold each pile in half crosswise. (Photo 3)
  • Roll the collard greens tightly, like a cigar. (Photo 4)
  • Using a sharp knife, cut crosswise, as thinly as you can, making ribbons. (Photo 5)
  • Use your fingers to shake up the strands so they are loose. (Photo 6)

Step 2: Cook the collard greens

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and beginning to gain some color. (Photo 7)
  • Add the collard greens ribbons, cover and cook until tender. Season with salt. (Photo 8)
Olivia’s Tip: Brazilian Collard Greens don’t simmer for hours like the Southern version. A quick sauté – around 5 minutes – until they are tender and bright green is all that’s needed! More than that and you risk the collards getting bitter.
Serving garlicky greens.

How long will leftovers keep?

Cooked collard greens, stored in an airtight container, will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

To reheat, warm them up on a pan over medium heat, or use the microwave.

Can I freeze cooked collard greens?

Can you? Yes. You can freeze cooked collard greens in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Should you? In my opinion, no. Collard greens will get mushy when frozen and thawed. I prefer them when they are freshly made or reheated from the fridge.

Plated collard greens, Brazilian-style.

What are collard greens served with?

As I mentioned earlier, collard greens are one of the sides served with feijoada (black bean stew). 

But they also go great along with rice, beans and a protein, like grilled or breaded chicken, a steak or roast, or pork.

You can also use them in soups, risotto and even pasta!

A squeeze of lime or a pinch of red pepper flakes can sometimes transform this simple side dish into something with a little more punch.

Variations

There are a few variations of this collard greens recipe.

The most common one is adding bacon. When serving the collards with feijoada, I don’t include bacon because feijoada already has it.

But if I’m serving with a simple meal, like grilled chicken, I find that the bacon is a nice addition, adding a bit of smokiness to the dish. Just sauté the bacon before adding the garlic and proceed with the recipe as written.

You can also sauté finely chopped onions or shallots with the garlic before adding the collard greens.

And, finally, there is a crispy version of Couve Mineira, but that is a different beast and the subject for a future post! :)

Brazilian Collard Greens

Brazilian Collard Greens

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

Brazilian collard greens are nothing like the slow cooked Southern version. Bright, garlicky and crisp-tender, these collards are one of my favorite sides ever! And the best part? You’ll only need four ingredients and 15 minutes (or less) to make them! 

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch fresh collard greens
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

    1. Rinse the collard greens under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the center stem of each leaf and stack the leaves together, one on top of the other.
    2. Fold the leaves in half, then roll them tightly, into a cigar-shaped cylinder. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut very thin ribbons. Reserve.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    4. Add the collard greens and sauté, tossing with the garlicky oil. Cover and cook until they are wilted and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
    5. Serve immediately.

Notes

Variations:

  • Bacon - If adding bacon, cook the bacon until golden brown, then add the garlic and proceed wiith the recipe as written.
  • Onions or shallots - You can sauté a chopped onion or shallots with the garlic, before adding the collard greens.


Storage:


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

While I'm not a fan of frozen collard greens - as I find that they get too mushy when thawed - you can freeze them for up to 3 months if you don't mind the texture alteration.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Nutritional values are approximate, please use your own calculations if you require a special diet.

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