SERVES 2 to 4

Leafy greens like kale, chard, beet tops, and collards are the definition of “good for us,” but I’ve never been a fan of the standard “throw in a pot with bacon, stew for hours, and hope for the best” approach. There is surely an elderly (but still elegant) lady in the South who wears pearls, smokes cigars, and pours a mean mint julep that can slow-braise greens to perfection. But she doesn’t live in my house. So I turned to coconut milk and Ras el Hanout. With all due respect to Southern tradition, this trumps the tried and true.


• 1 large bunch kale (or other sturdy leafy greens)
• 2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout (p. 47)
• 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed (about 2 teaspoons)
• pinch salt
• 1 teaspoon coconut oil
• 1/2 cup coconut milk


1. Wash the greens and remove the tough stems with the tip of a sharp knife. Roughly chop or tear the leaves. Unlike salad greens, you want to let a little water cling to tough braising greens. The water droplets turn to steam in the pan and tenderize the leaves.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then toss in about half the greens. Stir them with a wooden spoon until they begin to wilt, then add the rest of the greens. Stir, then cover with a lid.

3. In a small bowl, mix the Ras el Hanout, garlic, and salt with a fork.

4. When the leaves are dark green and beginning to wilt, remove the lid and let any remaining water evaporate. When the pan is mostly dry, push the leaves to the side and add the coconut oil. Let the oil heat, then pour the spices directly into the pool of oil to release their fragrance (and flavor) for about 20 seconds.

5. Pour the coconut milk into the pan, stirring to combine the greens, seasonings, and milk. Sauté until the sauce begins to thicken and your nose is delighted by the aroma.

You know how you could do that?

Try this with cooked spaghetti squash, other greens, or vegetables like green beans, cabbage, or broccoli. Simply adjust the pre-steaming time to accommodate their sturdiness.

Want to keep it basic? Toss washed and sliced kale into a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer ‘til the kale is tender. Remove the lid and let extra water evaporate. Turn off the heat, drizzle the leaves with olive oil, then stir in salt, black pepper, and a crushed garlic clove. Sprinkle a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.