Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens)

Although the common consensus is that collard greens originated in the Mediterranean, they gained their most widespread popularity in Africa (see my Sukuma Wiki recipe). It is assumed that collards made it to most of the Americas via African slaves. In Brazil, it’s a different story, as collard greens were likely introduced via Portugal, where it has been a staple veggie for hundreds of years (as evidenced by my Caldo Verde recipe). Today, collards are served often in Brazil, usually as an accompaniment to fish or beef.

Today’s recipe is a collaboration with my friend Alex Boake, who stayed at our house for a few days before heading off to Ancestral Health Symposium with us. She’s going to post an illustrated version of this recipe on her blog later this week, so bookmark her site! We’ll be knocking out a couple other illustrated recipes in the near future as well, so this is just the tip of the illustrated Paleo recipe iceberg. Update: Here is Alex’s post!


Serves four

2 tbsp olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped, smashed
2 bunches collard greens, rinsed, cut into thin strips
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, more to taste
juice of 1/2 lime

A lot of people like to roll their collards before slicing, but I prefer to slice down the leaf to remove the stalks, then stack all of the leaf halves together and slice everything all at once. I’ve seen some variations of this recipe that sliced their greens even more thinly than in the picture above, to the point of being shredded. I say either way is fine.

Using a mortar and pestle or the flat end of a chef’s knife, smash the garlic chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat for about a minute, then add the garlic. Sauté until aromatic, about one minute, then add the collard greens, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat to med low and continue to sauté until the greens are softened and vibrant in color. Should only take 3-4 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice, add more salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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29 thoughts on “Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens)

  1. I was thrilled to see this recipe appear in my reader today! Having lived in Brazil for over a year now, I can confirm that you’ll rarely go to a restaurant that doesn’t serve collard greens this way here! They’re everywhere, we buy them every week at the farmer’s market and we’ve become quite creative in finding ways to eat them. I also posted about collard greens with another recipe to use them, hope you like it! http://mylittlejarofspices.com/2013/08/06/stuffed-collard-greens/

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    1. I live in the UK as well and have the same problem! I usually use spring greens in any recipes where collard greens are called for. They look almost identical and seem to work equally well in all the recipes I’ve tried.

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  2. My Daddy was raised on a farm with farm cooking and huge vegetable gardens to can, and my grandmother always boiled the whole collard leaves for about an hour so they wouldn’t be so tough. With bacon grease, of course. Even tho tasted good, I’m sure there was no nutrition left! So I think I will try cutting out the rib and slicing thinly, and throw a potful of garlic like YOUR recipe. I like collard greens, lots better than turnip or beet greens. Milder flavor.

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  3. Recipe looks simple and really tasty but I would swap olive oil for coconut oil so it’s not being heated and altered. Even on a low temp olive oil can change apparently. I just use it raw drizzled on salads and veg. Definitely trying this recipe out though, thanks so much for the inspiration for using greens, especially for us blokes who aren’t that creative in the kitchen!

    -Clint

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  4. I just made these tonight. What an easy & delicious recipe! It’s going to be in our regular recipe rotation from now on. Thanks so much for sharing (I’ve always been a little afraid of collards.) P.S. I didn’t have a lime, so I used lemon instead, and it worked very well.

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