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August 30, 2023

Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple

As we ease into winter, swap summer salads for steamy bowls of beautifully braised greens. Kale, collards, chard or even a colorful braising mix—this recipe works perfectly for any hearty green.


Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple in a serving dish with a serving spoon

Simply Perfect Braised Greens

You know you’re a real, actual grown-up when you get truly excited about eating a big bowl of braised greens. Tender, earthy greens, braised with good olive oil and garlic and salt—they’re a true joy to eat. Toothsome and nourishing and deeply soothing, it helps to know that those braised greens are as healthy for you as any food could possibly be. But they’re also just flat out delicious. Dressed with a bit of maple syrup, cider vinegar and speckled with golden raisins, they take on a really special, sort of sweet-savory-tangy flavor that we’re completely in love with. We can’t claim originality here, though. The idea of dressing vegetables with a sweet-tart combination of flavors—in the case of our braised greens recipe, created by combining vinegar, maple syrup, golden raisins—is inspired by Italian “agrodolce”. Agrodolce doesn’t refer to a set list of ingredients, but rather a sweet-tangy sauce made from some sort of vinegar and some sort of sweetener (honey or maple or dried fruit) that’s often used to dress up simply prepared vegetables. Here, it offers a powerful and perfect contrast to the slightly bitter, deeply vegetal flavor of greens and makes for a vegan (if you skip the butter in favor of more olive oil) or vegetarian side dish that’s sure to steal the show.

greens, olive oil, chicken stock, garlic cloves, maple syrup, golden raisins, and spices in bowls on the counter

What Greens Are Good for Braising?

And what exactly do we mean by hearty greens? Well, we mean the kind of big, beautiful greens that seem to overflow at the farmers markets in the last days of autumn. They’re extremely good for you, and often a bit spicy or slightly bitter. They’re also a little tough to eat raw, but you can totally do that, if you want to! We prefer them braised, though. Braising brings out the best from your hearty winter greens, transforming them from tough, leafy and assertive brassicas into tender, earthy bites of goodness. You can use regular old kale from the grocery store, or if you’re feeling adventurous, head to your local farmers market and ask around for braising greens! You’ll likely end up with a beautiful, exciting mixture of local greens—some of which may be totally new to you and all of which will work perfectly in this recipe. A few of our very favorites include:

  • Italian kale (also called lacinato kale or Tuscan kale). Ubiquitous and gorgeous, it’s our year-round go-to for this braised greens recipe.

  • Collard greens. Maybe the most sturdy of the bunch, collards are incredibly healthy.

  • Mustard greens. A bit more tender than the others, and often wonderfully spicy.

  • Swiss chard. Often available with rainbow-hued stems, chard is irresistible! Keep the stems, if you want, and chop them up into the braised greens for an added burst of color.

olive oil and garlic in a skillet
olive oil, garlic and greens in a skillet
olive oil, garlic and greens in a skillet
ingredients for braised greens with golden raisins and maple cooking in a skillet

Everything You’ll Need To Make Braised Greens

Our braised greens recipe is vegetarian, of course, and can actually be completely vegan if you simply use all olive oil instead of a combination of olive oil and butter. And both ways are simply lovely! Good extra virgin olive oil adds a lot to the recipe—something grassy, rich and vibrant will really complement the vegetal flavor of the hearty greens. Here’s all you’ll need to make this easy greens recipe:

  • Hearty greens, such as Italian kale, collards or Swiss chard

  • Extra-virgin olive oil & salted butter or (more olive oil)

  • Garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • Sea salt, smoked paprika & freshly cracked black pepper

  • Unfiltered (always) apple cider vinegar

  • Golden raisins

  • Maple syrup

  • Low sodium stock (chicken or veggie)

ingredients for braised greens with golden raisins and maple cooking in a skillet

How To Braise Greens

If you want to get technical about it, braising is what’s known as a combination cooking method. All that means is that the braised greens are cooked using two kinds of heat—first they get a quick sauté which wilts the greens a bit. Then comes the liquid and a lid, which creates a moist-heat environment for the greens to tenderize in and become truly silky and rich. Here’s how to make our braised greens recipe:

  1. Prep the greens! This process will vary slightly depending on the type of greens you have. If you purchase a braising greens mixture, you may not need to do much prep beyond washing. If you are working with curly kale, though, you’ll definitely need to remove the tough stems.

  2. Sauté the garlic in olive oil (and butter, if you’re using it) until it is fragrant, and then add the greens. When they’ve wilted a bit...

  3. Add all of the seasonings and liquid! Salt, paprika, pepper, cider vinegar, golden raisins and maple syrup and stock.

  4. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan but leave a small crack so that steam can escape. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

  5. And that’s it! You made braised greens!

Homemade Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple in a serving bowl

Tools You’ll Need

More Ways to Cook Those Hearty Winter Greens

Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple in a serving bowl with spoon

Hello, Winter.

As we ease ourselves and our families firmly into the chilly months, we’re swapping leafy, airy salads for hearty, steamy bowls of braised greens. We adore how this catch-all recipe transforms though cool-weather toughies into a tender, irresistible, anytime side dish. When you try, we’d love to know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 224


  • 1 lb hearty greens, such as Italian kale, collards or Swiss chard, about 4 cups packed
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter or (more olive oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium stock (chicken or veggie)


  1. Wash the greens and remove the stems. Cut or break the stems into 2-inch lengths and roughly chop the leaves.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, set over medium-high, add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add half of the greens and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted, add remaining greens for 1-2 minutes longer.

  3. Add the salt, paprika, pepper, vinegar, golden raisins, maple syrup and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover the greens with the lid cracked to allow steam to escape and simmer for 12-15 minutes until tender. Season to taste with salt.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories224
  • Protein6 g
  • Carbohydrates22 g
  • Total Fat12 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol15 mg
  • sodium629 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Braised Greens with Golden Raisins and Maple

Questions & Reviews

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  • jenn

    Who knew braised greens could be so delicious! So happy to have this new vegetable dish in my rotation! Love it.

    So happy to hear you loved it, thanks Jenn!