Lemony Braised Greens with Olives

4.67 from 3 votes
20 minutes
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Lemony Braised Greens with Olives is a fresh and flavorful Mediterranean-inspired makeover for traditional Southern-style greens!  Makes a great side dish for stuffed zucchini!

Photo of Braised Greens with Olives and Lemon in clay bowl with lemon juice being squeezed over.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

Aren’t we all looking for a change this time of year?  We’re all cleaning, organizing, changing our eating habits and trying to be better people.

So, let’s revamp a classic recipe, too!

Love me some braised greens, but my experience with “greens” before moving to the South amounted to sauteed spinach or Swiss chard seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic.

I had only heard about Southern greens (turnip tops, mustard and collards), all of which get cooked for a crazy amount of time with a piece of smoked pork.  Sounds amazing but heavy.

Photo of Braised Greens with Olives and Lemon in clay bowl with serving spoon garnished with lemon.

There’s certainly an art to cooking greens the Southern way and I would NOT want to get in the middle of two Southern cooks debating whose greens are better.

So… not even going to try to compete.  Here are those same amazing, healthful classic Southern greens with a Mediterranean twist:  Braised Greens with Olives and Lemon.

The salty bite of the olives and the bright acidity of lemon give turnip tops, collards and mustard greens a new attitude!

Tips for cleaning greens:

If you purchase fresh bunches for this dish, you’ll have to thoroughly clean them.

  • Fill a sink full of cool water, immerse the greens, swish them around then let sit so dirt falls to the bottom of the sink.
  • Remove the greens, drain the water, rinse the sink and repeat until you’re confident the greens are clean.
  • This can take some doing so for this recipe, I buy triple-washed bagged greens which make life a whole lot easier!

Keep in mind that as soon as you add any acid to a green vegetable–in this case the lemon juice–the beautiful bright green color turns army drab.  However, the acid makes the flavor pop!


More easy vegetable side dishes:

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Lemony Braised Greens with Olives

4.67 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Lemony Braised Greens with Olives is a fresh and flavorful Mediterranean-inspired makeover for traditional Southern-style greens!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Beans Rice and Grains
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 101 kcal


  • 3 cups vegetable broth - chicken broth
  • 1 bag (1-pound) turnip, collard or mustard greens
  • 5-6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 large lemon - juiced
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste


  • Bring chicken (or vegetable) broth to a simmer in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the greens and cook, 6-8 minutes or until wilted and slightly tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, olives and salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.


MAKE AHEAD:  The greens can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly and freeze in portions as desired.  Thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave.  Reheat until thoroughly heated through.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 318IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. Sodium is 1228. Very few can eat that. So is it the olives and broth? Can change to low sodium in broth.

    1. Hi, Norma, Thanks so much for your question. It’s definitely going to be in the broth, olives and if you add any additional salt. You can change to unsalted broth or low-sodium and you can even find low-sodium olives these days or go light on the olives. As I mention below the recipe, the nutritional analysis IS computer-generated so you’ll have to make adjustments according to the products you’re using. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!