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Spicy Collard Greens

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min


  • 1 Bunch Collard Greens or Toscano Kale
  • ½ Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons Sambolek Chili Paste
  • 1 Shallot or Small Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoon Roasted, Salted Sunflower Seeds or Pecans
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • Salt to Taste
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Grapeseed Oil for Sauteing


  1. Strip the greens off their stem and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Finely dice the onion and thinly slice the garlic. Have all your ingredients at the ready as this will go quickly.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil and heat till it shimmers then add the onion.
  4. Lower the heat slightly and saute until the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the slivered garlic and 1 teaspoon of the chili paste and saute 30 seconds more.
  5. Add the greens all at once. Saute for 30 seconds then add HALF the lemon juice and the honey. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Saute the greens for one minute then pluck one out carefully and taste it when it cools. Add more lemon juice, chili paste or salt, and pepper as needed.
  7. Cook the greens until they are wilted but still have some bite left to them.
  8. When the greens are cooked to your liking, remove from the heat and sprinkle on your sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.

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Savannah Says...

  1. How do I keep from overcooking my greens?

    1. Sorry, you have to taste test...
      Stop and taste one (careful, it’s hot!) when you think they’re getting close. You don’t want the greens raw but they should still have some integrity left. Consider your finished dish and take into account if you might cook them longer and shorter next time.
  2. Can I substitute for this recipe?

    1. You bet your a... apron you can!
      Absolutely! Use any type of stiff greens or spices that you like. Vinegar can substitute for the citrus and you can use nuts instead of seeds.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Nobody knows how to cook greens like someone from the South. In other parts of the US collard greens just aren’t as appreciated! And let me tell you no matter how good the chef is if they don’t like something it will never be cooked as well as someone who truly appreciates it.

So going from someone who’d never had a collard green they liked to someone who’s best part of the meal at Peche Seafood Grill, a James Beard award-winning restaurant, was the collard greens I have the utmost appreciation and respect for them.

If you’re going to cook them properly you cannot curl up your nose at the sight of them You have to embrace the foliage, feel it’s texture, pair it with a squeeze of fresh lemon and toss it lovingly with some sauteed shallot.

Now all this being said, it is still a green and doesn’t need to be high maintenance. For example, I went to the store to buy collards and shallots and both were rather expensive so I came away with some lacinato kale and a small onion instead. And they stood in marvelously…While the fancy restaurant might have used pine nuts I had some lonely sunflower seeds that I sprinkled on instead, and you know what? Using what is affordable and needs to be used is an integral part of the culinary industry and also is how so much of the good southern food we’ve come to know and love has come about. P.S adding bacon is always acceptable.

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