Sautéed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins

This is a classic Sicilian side dish, prepared with leafy greens, toasted pine nuts and raisins. It may sound like an odd combination, but it works; it’s sweet, savory, salty, spicy and just a little bitter. So as my mother would say, well balanced. We used dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato or Tuscan kale) but you could easily use collard greens, mustard or turnip greens, or spinach. Any leafy green will do. And the bonus? It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Sautéed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 2, can easily be doubled

Collards and kale lose less of their volume when cooked than do spinach or turnip greens, so if cooking them, chop them a bit smaller than you would the spinach or turnip greens.



  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 bunch kale, chard, collards, or turnip greens, etc., about 1 pound, tough stem centers removed (if any) and discarded, greens chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Roughly 1/2 cup dry white wine or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Heat a large sauté pan hot on medium-high heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them until they are fragrant and begin to brown. Pay attention as pine nuts burn easily. Stir or toss the nuts frequently. Once they are toasted, remove from pan and set aside.

2 Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl it around. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; the pan should already be hot, so it won't take long for the garlic to begin to brown. Add back the pine nuts, add the raisins and the greens and mix well. Sauté, stirring often, until the greens wilt and begin to give up some of their water, anywhere from 1-2 minutes for spinach to 4-5 minutes for collards or kale.

3 Sprinkle a little salt and red pepper flakes on the greens. Add the white wine (can substitute water)—use a little more wine if you are cooking collards, a little less if you are cooking spinach. Toss to combine and let the liquid boil away. Once the liquid boils off, remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Sautéed Collards with Panko and Raisins - from Pink Bites
Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Raisins - from Not Derby Pie
Zucchini with Raisins and Pine Nuts - from The Perfect Pantry


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Showing 4 of 12 Comments

  • Granny Smith

    I love this and make a version of it all the time, but I don’t use white wine, and I splash a little bit of balsamic vinegar in towards the end. It seems to bring out the sweetness of the raisins.
    To make it faster and easier when I have a lot to do, I use frozen chopped spinach. I let it defrost in a colander in the sink & then squeeze out the water. Then it needs very little cooking and just a little water to get done.

  • Michele

    I made a similar recipe to this for Thanksgiving using cranberries. The only bummer about recipes using pine nuts these days is the very high price of pine nuts.

  • Jo from London

    Great recipe – as usual. This recipe is actually a Sephardic Jewish dish which was spread and eaten in Italy, Spain, Greece etc. In fact, the specific combination of pine nuts and raisins was mainly spread within Italy via the Roman Jewish community. See Claudia Roden for details :-)

    Good to know, thanks! ~Elise

  • A

    I know of a similar dish, spinach Catalan. I substitute sliced almonds for the pine nuts sometimes.

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