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How to Cook Kale (that tastes great)

July 26, 2014
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KaleKale.  It seems like everyone’s raving about it.

Recipes for kale smoothies, juices, stir-fries, and stews abound.

Do you feel kind of embarrassed that you’ve arrived so late at the kale party?  Perhaps you’ve even tried it and wondered what all the hoopla was about.

I get it.  I wanted to love kale, but my first few attempts at preparing it left me unimpressed.  It was bitter, dry, boring.

Thankfully, I kept trying and discovered that kale can taste awful or wonderful, depending on how it’s prepared and which variety you choose.

I recommend curly kale, pictured above.

The main thing to remember, however, is that you need to remove the big center stems before cooking.  That’s where the bitter taste associated with kale comes from.  I simply use my hands to tear the kale leaves from the stems.

Then, if necessary, I tear the leaves into smaller pieces, about 2-3 inches square.

I think kale tastes best when it’s mixed with other vegetables, such as onions, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, or butternut squash, but you can certainly cook and eat it by itself, too.

I recommend topping it with your favorite cheese, as well.  Freshly grated manchego or Parmesan are wonderful with kale.

Nowadays, I can’t believe how much I love kale.

Yes, I’ve jumped on the kale bandwagon.  Dave likes it, too, as long as it’s prepared this way; i.e., mixed with other veggies and topped with cheese.

I hope this “how to” recipe will make you a convert, too!

How to Cook Kale (that actually tastes great)

Serves 3-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Side Dish
An easy recipe showing how to prepare and cook delicious, healthy kale

Ingredients

  • 1 Bunch curly kale
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 Cloves minced garlic
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3 Tablespoons finely shredded cheese (such as Manchego, Parmesan, or Pecorino Romano)

Optional

  • other vegetables (such as onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, or butternut squash)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried basil, oregano, or Italian seasoning

Directions

Step 1
Tear kale leaves away from center stems and discard stems. If necessary, tear kale into smaller pieces, approximately 2-3 inches square.
Step 2
Heat 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a heavy fry pan over medium heat. This isn't a good time to skimp on fat. The oil really enhances the flavor and nutritive benefits of the kale. Add 1-2 cloves minced garlic to pan, if desired.
Step 3
Once garlic starts to sizzle, add the vegetables you plan to cook with your kale. Saute 5 minutes or so, until vegetables are crisp-tender. If you're just cooking the kale by itself, skip this step.
Step 4
How to Cook Kale
Add kale to pan. It will probably over-fill the pan, but it will reduce quickly as it begins to cook. Stir to coat the kale with the olive oil and continue to cook and stir until the kale is very wilted, about 5 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat a bit to make sure the kale doesn't sear or burn, which will make it very bitter.
Step 5
To finish, season with salt and pepper and other seasonings, as desired. Serve with a bit of shredded Manchego or Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

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  • Natalie
    July 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to give this a try. I’ve had bad luck with kale in the past but I’m always leaving the stems in!

    • Jane
      July 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Natalie! I hope you’ll have better luck with kale once you remove the stems. I know it worked for me!

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