Bitter Greens and Honey Almonds

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This recipe can be made with any or all of the following: mustard greens, collard greens, kale, escarole, or beet greens. It’s not just that eating these things are good for you, but that their rich, earthy flavors serve as counterpoint to fatty meats and protein, help the palate recover, and ready us for the next bite.


Nightly Specials

Use smoked ham instead of bacon.

Add smoked fish, like mackerel, to the greens to make this a side dish to shrimp. Or add smoked turkey breast instead.

Use kale and Swiss chard together.

Finish the dish by tossing in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Serves4 as a side dish

Cooking Methodsauteeing


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, high fiber, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturebuttery, crunchy, salty, savory, sharp, sweet, umami

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds mustard greens or other bitter greens, well washed in several changes of cold water and chopped or shredded by hand into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • ½ cup honey
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the diced bacon in a saute pan over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

  2. Cover the greens with cold water in a pot and cook until tender, 20 minutes for mustard greens, 90 minutes for collard greens, 10 minutes for broccoli rabe, 10 minutes for escarole, and 15 minutes for beet greens. Drain the greens and set aside.

  3. In a wide, heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the butter and add the almonds. Saute until they start to brown, 3 minutes. Pour in ½ cup water, then the honey. Stir and cook until the water has evaporated and the honey has caramelized and coated the almonds, about 5 minutes. Before the almonds become too dry, add the cooked greens and bacon, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing and stirring, to evenly distribute the almonds and bacon.

  4. Serve at once.


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