Midweek Quick Cooking: Easy Sautéed Greens with Fish Sauce

PrimalThis is a very simple recipe, with one secret ingredient: a little splash of fish sauce to add umami flavor to dark, leafy greens.

Sautéed greens are a quick and very healthy side dish for any meal. The most common set-up is olive oil, garlic and greens (which is delicious) but this recipe assumes that you want even more flavor, or perhaps a different type of flavor that will make greens more interesting (and less bitter).

Fish sauce is just the thing. It only takes a teaspoon of high-quality fish sauce to boost the flavor of greens. You can stop there, or add even more layers of flavor with ingredients like coconut milk, ginger, or red pepper flakes.

If dark leafy greens aren’t a regular part of your diet, use this recipe as inspiration to start eating more.

Servings: 2- 4

Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes



  • 1 tablespoon Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil (or other oil) (15 ml)
  • 1 bunch dark, leafy greens (try kale or collards), leaves torn from stems and cut into thin strips*
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (5 ml)


  • Use coconut oil instead of avocado oil
  • Add ¼ cup/60 ml coconut milk at the same time as the fish sauce
  • Add red pepper flakes, or a sliced hot chili when garlic is added
  • Add chopped ginger when garlic is added
  • Try different types of greens: kale, collards, Swiss Chard, mizuna, bok choy



*The easiest way to chiffonade, or thinly slice, the leaves of greens is to tear or cut the leaves from the stems, stack a few leaves into a pile, then roll the pile into a tight cigar and slice

Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add green onions. Cook until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Add garlic, then quickly add greens in handfuls, stirring and adding more as the greens wilt.

Sauté about 3 minutes, stirring the greens several times and adding more oil if the skillet seems dry.

Add fish sauce. Stir and cook 20 seconds more, then turn off heat and put a lid on the skillet. Let the greens sit for 3 minutes, to steam and soften, before serving.

Greens with Fish Sauce 1

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5 thoughts on “Midweek Quick Cooking: Easy Sautéed Greens with Fish Sauce”

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  1. This sounds great! Love the depth that fish sauce adds. I like to use a splash of bone broth when I cook greens. First I wilt in the oil, then add bone broth and let soften for a little bit. Even people that don’t like bitter greens will usually eat them this way.

  2. This is a very delicious, traditional, southern dish. My grandparents used to eat it almost daily, with greens grown in their garden. Usually it was cooked in bacon grease left over from breakfast, and accompanied by a side of cornbread. In the south at that time, cornbread was made entirely without sugar, more of a slightly salty bread which tasted good with greens and sometimes a side of pork or just as a stand alone dish. Good to see it here.

    1. I love Southern-style greens. I usually simmer them in water for several hours along with a ham hock or two. A little fish sauce would be a nice addition no matter how you prefer to cook them.

  3. Another variation is to use a tin of anchovies if you don’t have fish sauce. The ‘chovies are packed in olive oil and break apart coating the greens with flavor. Great with arugula