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Couve a Mineira means cooked in the style of Minas Gerais, Brazil. These thin ribbons of collard greens are cooked in bacon fat and garlic ever so briefly, then tossed with lemon juice. The result is a breath of fresh air.
Why we love this recipe
It’s tempting to think of collards as a looooong-cooking vegetable. The classic recipe from the American south (which looks amazing, so maybe make that too), simmers them for two hours.
That’s why, even as the Crisper Whisperer, when I first researched and adapted this recipe for Serious Eats many years ago, I was SO surprised and delighted to learn that collards didn’t HAVE to cook for a long time. They could be ready, instead, in two minutes.
(These days it’s more common to see raw or blanched collards used as tortilla-like wraps, but back then, it wasn’t.)
- Retains the bright, beautiful green of fresh collards
- Leans into the bold flavors of meaty bacon, sautéed garlic, and bright fresh lemon juice
- Is SO quick and easy
- Pairs well with a wide variety of proteins, especially beef, pork, chicken, and fish
The slight bitterness of the crisp-tender greens threatens to melt into the depths of bacony goodness, only to be revived by the bright tang of lemon. With only about fifteen minutes prep from start to finish, this recipe became an instant classic at our house years ago. Hope you’ll love it, too.
Here’s all you need to make this recipe.
- Collard greens are a member of the brassica family, which also includes cabbage, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. The gorgeous, dark green, fanlike leaves are full of micronutrients. Cooking them for a shorter time helps retain more of that goodness.
- I like to use a thick center-cut bacon, which is meatier than thin strips.
How to make it
Cutting the greens takes a bit of time, but otherwise this dish comes together in a flash. You can cook the bacon while you prep the greens. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- To prep the greens, first remove the stems. (You can juice them if you don’t want to throw them away.)
- Stack and roll up the greens, then cut the roll into thin slices to form ribbons.
- Cook the chopped bacon, remove most of the fat, and then sautée the garlic for a moment.
- Add the greens as they fit in the pan and cook just until wilted. Two minutes or less! Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it.
Expert tips and FAQs
Collards are related to kale and cabbage, and they share some characteristics of each. They have a pleasant bitterness that can vary in intensity. The salt and lemon juice in this recipe help to temper that flavor.
Sure do. For a tasty vegan adaptation, omit the bacon, use olive oil, and add a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika.
What to serve with couve mineira
These greens work especially well with grilled or roasted meats and black beans, but they’re very versatile. Try them with:
More of our favorite easy cruciferous vegetable side dishes
- 1 bunch collard greens (about 1 pound)
- 3 slices center-cut bacon
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash collard greens. Carefully cut leaves from stems and discard stems.
- Stack leaves one on top of the next. Roll leaves from stem end to tip into a cigar shape.
- Cut cigar crosswise into strips 1/8-inch thick (as you would to chiffonade herbs, but a little thicker).
- Cut bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch batons. Place a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and cook bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic and collard greens to pan and cook, stirring constantly until collards are just wilted and bright green, one to two minutes.
- Off the heat, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
- Please refer to the video to see how to stack, roll, and cut the greens into ribbons.
- Leftovers will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132Total Fat: 9.1gCarbohydrates: 8.3gFiber: 4.6gProtein: 6.4g