Coconut Creamed Greens

Photo by Marcus Nilsson, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich

Pairing earthy, hardy leafy greens with cooling coconut milk, a hot chile, and spices gives this side dish a full range of bitter, sweet, and tingling flavors.  


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8 servings


    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 3 lb. mixed hardy greens (such as Tuscan kale, curly kale, Swiss chard, and/or mustard greens; about 4 bunches)
    • ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
    • 6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 1 red Thai or Fresno chile, thinly sliced
    • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 Tbsp. mustard seeds
    • 2 tsp. ground coriander
    • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
    • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
    • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out coconut flakes on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast, undisturbed, until some are golden brown (some will remain white), 5–7 minutes. Let cool.
    2. Meanwhile, remove ribs and stems from greens and discard. Cut leaves into 1"-thick strips; set aside.
    3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add onion, chile, and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add mustard seeds, coriander, and turmeric and cook, stirring to evenly distribute, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    4. Add coconut milk to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add reserved greens a handful at a time, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Cook, tossing occasionally, until greens are tender and mixture looks creamy, 15–18 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
    5. Transfer greens to a platter or large shallow bowl and top with coconut flakes and cilantro.

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