Coconut-Creamed Greens


Coconut milk is one of the most luscious ingredients in any plant-based kitchen, and in this rich dish, it creates the delicious base of creamed greens rather than the standard cream-based versions. Kale, chard, and spinach are bathed in a fragrant sauce, which gets flavor from shallot and garlic, as well as a pinch of nutmeg. The result is a decadent, dairy-free alternative to other types of creamed greens, which would taste delicious alongside a Thanksgiving turkey or any holiday roast. Yet, it's at home next to any weeknight main dish. Vegan dinner idea: serve with planks of crispy pan-seared tofu.

Coconut-Creamed Greens Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 10-oz. bunch curly kale

  • 1 10-oz. bunch rainbow chard

  • 3 cups packed fresh baby spinach

  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, divided

  • 1 large shallot, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 13.66-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk,* well shaken and stirred

  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving


  1. Wash greens and pat dry. Remove and discard kale stems. Remove chard stems; trim stems, finely slice, and set aside. Stack kale and chard leaves; roll into a cigar shape and finely slice. Place sliced leaves and spinach in a large bowl.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium. Add shallot, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and liquid is reduced by about half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg.

  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add sliced chard stems and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add mixed greens in 4 batches, letting leaves wilt before next addition. Cook, stirring constantly, until leaves are bright green and liquid in bottom of pot is mostly evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt.

  4. Add coconut milk mixture to greens; stir until well combined. Remove from heat and season with several grinds of pepper.

*Made from the white flesh of coconuts, coconut milk is a culinary multitasker that lends creamy richness to more than just curries. Its mild flavor makes it an excellent swap for cow's milk in smoothies, soups, and baked goods.

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