How to Keep Green Vegetables Bright Green

Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, collards, in fact, most green vegetables turn a drab olive green color upon cooking. Here’s why that happens and how to avoid it when preparing green vegetables.


All plants (fruits and vegetables) have pigments-it’s what gives them their vibrant colors.

Chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green pigment in vegetables, is not very heat stable. The minute a green vegetable hits the hot water, organic acids are released from the vegetables. These acids react with the chlorophyll and turn the once beautiful green vegetable into a drab olive color. This is due to several factors:

  • the amount of liquid
  • the duration of cooking time
  • covered vs. uncovered

How To

The best way to prepare bright green vegetables is to ensure there is plenty of water. Bring it to a low boil, add the vegetables and leave the lid off for the first few minutes to allow the organic acids to escape. 

Continue to cook the green vegetables until they are slightly tender and with a mild crunch. Cooking greens in a lot of water and for a short amount of time ensures bright greens every time.