Mustard Greens

Have you ever tried mustard greens? Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, they are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant and are used frequently in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cooking. I find them less bitter than kale or collard greens, and more peppery, like arugula. Just one taste of a raw leaf and you’ll know it came from a mustard plant. Cooked, they taste a lot like spinach, but with more body. My father recently discovered mustard greens at our local farmers market and they’re his new love. I like them with a dash of dark sesame oil, but you could easily just cook them up with a little garlic and olive oil.

Do you have a favorite way to prepare mustard greens? Please let us know about it in the comments.

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Mustard Greens Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Method

1 In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.

2 Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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Links:

Wikipedia on mustard greens
Black-eyed peas and mustard greens with rice from Mahanandi
Macaroni with lemon, garlic, parmesan and mustard greens from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
Fried rice with mustard greens from Saffron Trail
Sautéed mustard greens with onion, chilies, and turmeric from One Hot Stove
4 ways to cook mustard greens from Cookthink

67 Comments

  1. Lisa

    While this recipe doesn’t feature mustard greens as the main ingredient, this soup made me a convert. It’s surprisingly satisfying and flavorful and the colors make it attractive enough for company – yellow, orange, red and green.

    Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Mustard Greens

    2 T Olive Oil
    1 large onion – chopped

    4 clove garlic – minced
    2 t cumin

    2 c dried yellow split peas
    5 c water
    4 c lo-salt chicken or vegetable broth

    3 ripe plum tomatoes – seeded, peeled, diced
    1 med. Sweet potato – peeled and cubed
    ½ lb. Mustard greens – coarsely chopped

    Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, cook 4 to 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Add garlic and cumin, cook one minute more. Add split peas, water and broth, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cook about 1 hour until peas have broken down.

    Add tomatoes, sweet potatoes and mustard greens, simmer until vegetables are tender – approx. 25 minutes. Season as desired with salt and pepper.

    10 servings – 215 cal. 12 g. protein 3 g fat

  2. kim

    I loved mustard greens. Grew up eating them. Sometimes I just like to steam them and dip them in soy sauce.

  3. Mary Kelly

    I use no liquid. I let the greens make their own liquid. Down South the liquid is called pot liquor. After I saute the onions and garlic I put the well washed greens in a big pot and put the lid on for about 10 minutes. They will cook down. I stir and put the lid back on for them to reduce some more. I mix them up and add sugar and a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir and continue to cook till done to taste.

  4. Eileen

    I’m Chinese and my mom cooks mustard greens pretty often. She usualy just cooks it with olive oil and chopped garlic as you mentioned. Sometimes she’ll simply cooks it in boiling water for a few minutes, then serve it with oyster sauce for dipping. This is how Chinese dim sum restaurants serve greens. The veggie has a slight bitter taste. But there’s a Chinese saying, “Good medicine tastes bitter in mouth”. So my mom always says the more bitter the veggie, the better it is for you.

  5. Jessi

    Wow, I just did my groceries today, and actually saw these and wondered if they could be stirfried just like bokchoys or snowpea sprouts! The timing is great Elise! :) Thank you for this recipe, now I know what to do with them next week when I go.

    Did the broth actually thicken once everything’s cooked? I don’t like it when I stirfry vegies and there’s this bit of puddle, so I often add a teeny bit of cornflour. What do you think? Thanks again!

  6. Brenda

    We just steam them, then serve with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

  7. Alanna

    I’ve cooked greens four ways in the last three weeks – once returning to an old favorite that I call Ontario Greens but is really just greens with sour cream. Yum.

  8. Andy

    I have never tried mustard greens, but they look interesting. I did make bok choy once which was quite good.

  9. andrew

    I don’t recall where the recipe came from, and it does pretty much erase the heathiness of the greens, but you saute them with mushrooms/garlic, add them to a bunch of ricotta and a few eggs, mix together, put in a pan, cover with crushed up crackers/breadcrumbs. It’s really good, but it sort of goes overboard – ANYTHING would taste good in that dish.

    Alanna – is Ontario Greens a name that you came up with or is that something more widespread? “Greens with sour cream” is one of our favorite ways of quickly dealing with a overload of greens, but we never had a name for it.

  10. Deb

    I’ve only made these once because my husband didn’t like them. It was my first greens making experience, and I made them the same way you did but I also added a little oyster sauce. I served this with a Kylie Kwong shrimp recipe and I thought it was a really yummy meal! Curses, greens hating husband, curses!

  11. sudesna

    I have cooked mustard greens they are very delicious and your recipe seems would taste very good. I’ll have to try it! Some variations I follow to cook this: I crackle some mustard seeds and cumin seeds and add a green/red chilli to the oil before adding the garlic. Also I skip on the pepper. Thanks for posting this.

  12. CJ

    Sauteed in olive oil with chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and a splash of red wine vinegar at the end of the sautee time.

    Don’t forget to wash very, very well and remove tough stems.

    (They are a nice addition to a stir fry too.)

  13. Julie

    I love all hearty greens, including mustard. I like to saute slivered garlic and chile flakes in olive oil then add the greens and some chicken broth. I braise till tender then add chopped olives, lemon zest and juice. I also like them in soup with sausage and beans.

  14. Georgia

    We grew up eating mustard greens and turnip greens. Sometimes cooked alone and sometimes mixed. Love that greens flavor and never ever season with anything but a little bacon drippings and salt. Sometimes we sprinkle a little vinegar on after it is in our plates or sometimes sprinkle with a little hot pepper sauce. Of course we had green onions to eat with too and cornbread. Sometimes if we had both at the same time we mixed a little of the mustard greens in with leaf lettuce to make wilted lettuce. So good.

  15. SC

    I grew up on them. Boil them with a ham hock, onion, salt and pepper. Yummy.

  16. Susan from Food Blogga

    I like to braise them with sweet onions. Then I just drizzle good honey over them and season with salt and pepper. They are excellent on top of creamy polenta too!

  17. Stephanie

    I am a Yank who moved to Texas and fell in love with greens. I boil them (and not for too long) in a big pot with a smoked turkey leg and chopped onions. Then Tabasco when they come out (or vinegar if you don’t like heat). My mouth is watering now.

  18. EVD

    Georgia,
    That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

  19. George

    Saute onions, garlic, red pepper flakes with oil until onions have softened, add chopped mustard greens and cook until wilted. Add a 14-1/2 oz can of whole tomatoes (roughly chopped up), along with the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes. Love this served over rice.

  20. Patricia Scarpin

    My dad’s favorite greens, Elise.

  21. Kate

    I do love mustard greens on their own, but my favorite way of making them is with black-eyed peas with a ham hock, touch of onion, etc. Towards the end of the cooking time for the peas, just add the mustard greens and cook down. A little rice, Tabasco, and a cold beer and you are all set!

  22. arielamandah

    This sounds delicious.

    I love spinach but have a hard time eating it straight-ahead cooked–it causes this unpleasant, mouth-and-teeth-coating, “furry” feeling that I can’t stand. Spinach cooked with other things is just fine. I don’t get the same effect eating things like collard greens, though.

    Does anyone know if Mustard Greens will do the same thing?

  23. Jennie

    I’ve got two recipes for mustard greens that I really love:

    Bittersweet and Nutty Mixed Greens
    http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/10/22/bittersweet-greens/

    and

    Curried Mustard Greens with Navy Beans
    http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/curried-mustard-greens/

  24. Ms Vivian

    I love mustard greens, especially growing up on various chinese stir frys. Although one of my all time favorite is mustard green soup with tofu and left over bbq duck. Hmmm, just thinking about it makes me drool =)

  25. Marc @ NoRecipes

    Yumm, simple is the best way to prepare these.

  26. Rose

    My Italian mama used to make us mustard greens sandwiches when I was a kid; she just sauteed them in some olive oil and lots of garlic and put the greens between two pieces of crusty Italian bread – simple peasant food but oh so delicious! We used to pick them growing wild on the side of the road so it was a very cheap meal. Along with some good provolone cheese and some quality olives, you’ve got a wonderful meal. She also used to make spinach the same way. We didn’t know how good we had it!

  27. Hank

    Super simple: Chiffonade the mustard greens and saute them in a rippin’ hot pan with olive oil and salt until they are just wilted.Squeeze the juice of a lemon over them right at service. Maybe crack some black pepper on them. Maybe not.

    Easy-peasy.

  28. James

    I just discovered my favorite way to cook mustard greens! I use the prewashed/cut 1 lb. bags.

    Stir-fried Mustard Greens and Tofu
    1 lb. bag mustard greens (stems sorted out)
    2 TBSP soy sauce
    1 tsp rice vinegar (a little less)
    1 tsp chinkiang vinegar (a little less)
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1 tsp Shaoxing wine or sherry
    Peanut oil: 1/4 cup (+-) for tofu and 1 TBSP for stir-fry
    1 shallot, coarsely chopped
    1 inch piece ginger, finely sliced and coarsely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
    1 package extra-form tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes

    Mix the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar together and set aside.
    Add greens to boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside,
    Fry the tofu in batches (in Wok) in peanut oil and drain.
    Add peanut oil to hot wok. Add shallot, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for up to 1 minute–do not burn. Add Shaoxing wine and stir a few times.
    Add greens to wok and stir-fry until separated and heated through. Add soy sauce/vinegar mixture and stir-fry 1-2 minutes mixing well. Add tofu and stir a few times to reheat. Add sesame seeds and stir to combine well.
    I served with short-grain brown rice.

  29. Whitney

    My favorite way to prepare fresh mustard greens is to wilt them in 50/50 peanut/sesame oil along with garlic chives and toasted sesame seeds, then add a splash of balsamic vinegar to dress.

  30. Ally

    Mustard greens are one of my favorites. To me they taste like a less-bitter turnip green. I have come to appreciate that most vegetables taste better when cooked only a short time. Greens, however, are best when prepared the long, slow southern way with onions, some smoky ham and a hot pepper pod. Serve with a dash of vinegar.

  31. Layla

    I love adding mustard greens to soups, they go great with a potato and cheese soup, I just chopped them in large pieces and add them during the last minutes.

  32. naqsh

    In Pakistan, these are called sarsoon ka saag,saag being the general term for all leafy vegetables. The staple way of making it is simple. Chop up the leaves, steam them till they are pretty soft, then you remove the leaves and blend them in a food processor, the paste is again transfered to the pot. Add spices. Roast for a bit. Just before serving, heat up a bit of butter, add dried red chillies (called baghar ki mirch here, have no idea what the english equivalent is), a few mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped garlic, and pouring it all over the greens.
    Traditionally it is served with ‘makayi ki roti’ makayi being corn, roti being the south asian version of bread.

  33. shanandoah

    Georgia, I haven’t had a wilted salad in so long I about died when I saw it! We used to call em “Kilt (kill’t?) salads, and we would start by frying up a couple of slices of bacon, and then throwing in a bunch of leaf lettuce, mustard greens, sliced radishes and plenty of green onions in the still-very-hot and very bacon-y skillet, added an indecent amount of vinegar, and crumpled the bacon on top. Once the bacon was cooked crisp, the salad-cooking part would go so fast it was like a show to us kids, with liquid hitting the grease and steaming and hissing and spitting! That was the dish that meant it was fully spring, and it was the sort of dish one ate when they had no other plans for the next day or two…

  34. Nate

    Is this the same as Chinese mustard cabbage as I know of in Hawaii? We call it kai choy, that we eat cooked/blanched in a little water and a bit of garlic. Was an almost everyday dish by my mother.

  35. Kathy

    In the south, we boil a couple of ham hocks for about an hour or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Remove the ham hocks, place the greens in the water and boil, but not too long. Add the pieces of ham back to the greens with some salt and pepper. Not too much salt because the ham hocks make the water salty. Serve with vinegar or tabasco for heat. I like to mix mustard and turnip greens.

  36. Jerry

    I Like a combination of Mustard, Collard and turnip greens. I think the trio is superb because it combines the great flavor profiles of all three into one sumptuous plate of goodness! I have a recipe for my take HERE. Pop over and take a look if you’d like!

  37. JnK

    I’m from hawai’i too, I also work in a produce department and mustard greens and chinese mustard cabbage(kai choy/gai choy) are different.

  38. Traci @ Soup of The Day

    arielamandah – that is something that I find is specific to spinach. Try green or swiss chard instead. Very similar to spinach when cooked, but no weird film on your teeth!

    I eat tons of chard and collards, but the last time I tried mustard greens they were so bitter! Maybe just a bad time of year. I’ll definitely try them again because I trust you when you say they’re good :)

    I like to quickly blanche my greens in a little water with some ham stock for that smokey flavor. Takes 5 minutes to prepare. We eat them a few times a week. They’re super good for you.

  39. Georgia

    Our son has loved spinach since a baby. He now only eats Popeye brand canned spinach because he says it doesn’t leave a film on his teeth and tongue. I can’t swear to that since I will not eat canned spinach. It’s so slimy to me.
    Shenandoah, I think I’ll be buying leaf lettuce and mustard greens when I go grocery shopping. Now I am hungry for the old fashion wilted lettuce salad. We make it pretty much the same except we add a pinch of sugar. Yum. I don’t remember that eating it interfered with our plans though.lol

  40. anita

    I made this last night. First time I’ve ever eaten mustard greens I believe, and it was delicious!

  41. Leticia

    I am from Brazil and a favorite recipe here is mustard greens with scrambled eggs. Just chop up the mustard greens and sautée until wilted, season. Add a couple eggs beaten up and mix over high heat. The eggs taste like mustard and the mustard tastes more like mustard. Maybe in the same way that spinach needs milk to bring out its flavor.

  42. samiya

    i have never eaten mustard greens, until tried these. GREAT!

  43. Christie

    Hi – thanks for the recipes for Chinese Mustard greens – I am growing some of it in a pot and just tried it for the first time..with just a bit of Chinese rice wine and some sesame oil, yummy!
    (BTW – it’s really easy to grow, I live up in Maine and I didn’t even have to start it indoors, it grew like crazy!)

  44. Robert Mellin

    The first night, I sauteed mustard greens for a few minutes, put in my salad instead of romaine and it tasted like nothing. Boring. The second night I just washed the greens and put it in my salad and I loved the bite and the taste.How come all the reccomendations only say to cook the greens?

  45. Laurie

    I eat mustard greens raw with arugula as a salad. Add feta cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mmmmmm.

  46. My

    Okay, with so many great suggestions already I’ll add: Smash a couple of cloves of garlic, saute in a wok with about 2T of (almost) smokin’ oil and 1/2tsp salt for about 10 secs, then throw in a handful of the tiniest dried fish you can find. Toss around for a few seconds and throw in those lovely, well-washed and coarsely chopped greens–stems too. Flip constantly until wilted–you can cover if you like. Add a pinch of sugar at the end and combine. Enjoy!

  47. rod

    I got this recipe from my mom, You get half collard, half mustard mix, about 8 bunches, clean and and cut. In a large pot fill about a quarter of it with water. Throw the mix greens in along with, tbl spn for each bunch, of sugar, olive oil. In seperate pot boil down about two smoke neck bones, w/1/2cup of diced onion, and 2 cloves of garlic. When the neck bonesand its juices start to break down, there ready to go in the pot of mix greens. This is when you add a cup of chicken broth, and three whole fresh jalapenos, or two whole bell peppers. But do not bust the peppers until ready to serve. To get the max in flav, you should start off in a boil for about 5 min, and med for about 30min, and heat on low med for about an hour. I usaully end up cooking them for about three hous so they are very tender and flavorful.

  48. Sweety

    Mustard leaves tastes great with pork. Fry thinly sliced onions in very little oil and add turmeric. When the raw smell goes away, add ginger and garlic paste. Add pork (include bones and fat), red chilli powder and salt and fry for a while and then add water according to your needs. Cook it till the meat is well – cooked. Just 2 mins before you switch off the gas, add mustard leaves and close. Have it with rice.

  49. Jennifer

    One variation of this recipe I have tried that I really like is adding fresh ground ginger root and sauteeing with the onions. At first I tried just a little bit, then I started using larger shredded pieces and I really enjoy it quite a bit.

    I added this mixture with a bit of left over chicken, a few chopped tomatoes and toasted almonds to a whole wheat low carb tortilla and it was delicious! Cooking them longer does seem to remove more of the bite but I also enjoy the greens raw in salads.

    Other interesting additions are various nuts and seeds, sliced water chestnuts and lemon or lime juice. With a little creativity, you can really concoct a flavor explosion. The low cost and ease of preparation allows for new experimentation nearly every night, and although my husband has not acquired a taste for them, I fix them for myself several times a week now for the added nutrition.

  50. Jennifer

    One thing I wanted to clarify with the above post, the fresh ginger root is GRATED…not GROUND. I apologize for any confusion. Also this evening, I added finely chopped celery root (the rhizome, not the stalk plant) to the onions and ginger and it was interesting as well.

  51. Erin

    A neighbor just gave me some extra mustard greens that she grew in her garden. Last night I stir fried them with oil, garlic and onion. After, I drizzled a tad of tamari and sesame oil on top.

    They were so bitter they were virtually inedible — coming from me, that says a lot; I can stomach anything.

    What gives with the discrepancy in flavor and experience with this leaf? I’m from the south, but grew up in Hong Kong. I’ve tasted every green — cooked and raw — from both sides of the world… except mustard. I’ve never tasted anything this bitter except bitter melon, which I cooked wrong!

    I’m guessing that the mustard greens your neighbor gave you were just a bit too mature. With bitter greens, the longer they’re in the ground, the stronger they become. Either that or they were just extra bitter for some reason. I had some broccoli rabe the other day that I found completely inedible. There was nothing we could do to save those greens, and they were expensive too! ~Elise

  52. Sandra VanderMey

    I started a raw food diet two weeks ago and I’m drinking my first taste of mustard greens right at this moment! I made a concoction of mustard greens, a banana, a carrot, one apple and two tangerines blended for a minute or two until pureed (or liquified if you like). If you’re not a big vegetable fan blended drinks are a wonderful way to get your daily requirements. Fruit, particularly bananas blended along with vegetables makes it easy. I would suggest only a small amount of mustard greens for just a little tang. How healthy and yummy is this?

  53. hikkie

    Mustard greens really are so yum! After reading the comments on your blog I found out they are actually easy to grow.

    Check out my mustard greens soup!

    http://spaghettofu.blogspot.com/2009/06/chinese-mustard-greens-soup.html

  54. Lady Amalthea

    Not having any mustard greens, I made kale this way and it was phenomenal! The caramelized onion(I used a red onion) made it almost sweet. I also used fish stock as my cooking liquid and added some oregano. Thanks!

  55. June

    OMG! This recipe was so awesome, I made another helping. The caramelized onions, and the sesame oil add such a wonderful flavor. I know that Bacon is the usual flavor that one thinks of with Mustard Greens, but the sesame oil can stand alone against the bacon fat.
    Bravo!

  56. larry kitchens

    You don’t need much to enjoy mustard greens. I took a shovel and turned up a spot about 4′ square threw in some good potting soil,1 bag of mustard & spinach seed, voila! I’m a farmer. Spring & fall you waddle down to the garden one morning when the dew is heavy & the greens are young, pluck a few, mmmmmm. The next trip youll take a salt shaker, heaven. One happy camper, enjoy.

  57. philip chudy

    Here is something I thought up and serve quite frequently. It is sharp, sour and quite powerful taste wise and a good counterbalance to robust ingredients such as BBQ meats but nice with bland things like potatoes too. A lot of bold novel flavors for a mere 4 minutes preparation.

    I slice carrots and chop mustard greens and put into a microwave steamer. Steam for around 3 minutes – remove and mix in a good amount of Dijon mustard,a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a good dose of Cognac or brandy. Serve immediately while there is still a bit of crunch to the carrots and the Cognac aroma is strong.

  58. Julie

    I made homemade french onion soup the other nite and I also had cooked up some delicious mustard greens. I added them to the french onion soup and it was a hit! I had sauteed the greens with olive oil, garlic, onions and seasoning then simmered for a while til tender.

    I can just imagine. Mustard greens would be terrific added to French onion soup. ~Elise

  59. Erika

    I made a quick stir fry with chopped mustard greens, garlic, onion, and oyster sauce. I didn’t have any bacon, salt pork, ham hock, or smoked sausage at home, but I did have Spam. I know what you’re thinking… but it was delicious diced up and stir fried with the mustard greens.

  60. carole ann

    I tried mustard greens for the first time. I washed them, like spinach, and broken them up and used them as the main/only leaf in a salad, I added tomatoes green pepper and cucumber. I used a honey mustard dressing and it was delicious! I think you could use any other filler veggies as you would in a tossed salad and it would be great with honey mustard dressing.

  61. irene eva tull

    One can substitute smoked bacon for ham hock.

  62. sam

    Mustard greens, collard greens and kale (cooked or uncooked) are awesome with grapeseed oil, garlic powder, easy balsamic vinegar, a dash of sea salt and some pepper. I add a 1/4th of avocado when in a salad, some romaine, a dash of parmesan cheese or feta, some dried blueberry cranberries and toss! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

  63. kate@ahealthypassion

    This looks delicious! I have had mustard greens in my fridge for a week and had no idea what to do with them.Cant wait to try it out!

  64. Michael Cannova

    After boiling the mustard greens for about 5 minutes I drainied them and put extra-virgin olive oil, fish sauce, and some balsamic vinegar to create a salty, but sweet taste. I’ll cool them, and eat them at room temp.

  65. Margie Olszewski

    Call me crazy, but I had never had mustard greens before and decided to add to my salads UNCOOKED. Really adds some ZIP. Obviously, don’t overdue it because the taste is strong.

    lettuce
    cabbage
    mustard greens
    colorful peppers
    radishes
    green onion
    vinaigrette

  66. Larry

    I had not tried mustard greens until this past weekend. I was more familiar with brocolli rabe which I’ve had and prepared numerous times. I have to say I’m really digging mustard greens though! Compared to brocolli rabe I find them to be much less bitter and more versatile. I’m pretty sure I could enjoy mustard greens a variety of ways whereas I would have a hard time enjoying rabe if not sauteed or tossed with pasta.

  67. HEats

    To tone down the bitterness from the mustard greens… one can always wash it in 3 changes of water & vinegar. Like Kale, Collard & Turnip… the change in water does something to break up its “mustiness” or the “strong” flavor.

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