Kale that Doesn’t Suck

I love kale.  There, I said it.

But I know that not everyone gets as into dinosaur food as I do.  Usually, I just chop it, steam it, salt it and eat it, but tonight I decided to put a little effort in and see if I could make it palatable for Sal.

It worked.

This is simple – and would be great for spinach or chard or other leafy greens, too – but I swear it’s good.  Sal-tested, Sicilian-approved.

Get this stuff:

  • Kale (two big bunches oughta be enough – eyeball it, and remember it shrinks)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Garlic (two cloves, mined)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock (or just water, but I recommend the stock)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Do this with it:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat (slowly)
  2. When you start to smell the olive oil (when it’s getting warm), add the minced garlic and cook slowly on low-medium so you don’t burn said garlic, just get it nice and warmed up and yummy-style.
  3. While the garlic is infusing the oil with heaven, give your kale a good, coarse chopping. It’s been a bad, bad kale – punish it!
  4. After five minutes of heating the garlic, turn the heat up to high, throw the kale and the chicken stock into the pot and toss to coat.
  5. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes (cue kale shrinkage)
  6. Take lid off and assess. Continue cooking on medium to evaporate any remaining liquid or until kale reaches desired tenderness.
  7. Finish with salt and pepper to taste (if you want to, I found the chicken stock provided enough flavoring and I didn’t require any more)
  8. If you’re feeling sassy, throw on a little red wine vinegar (I’m not a huge fan of vinegar so I didn’t do this part)

Enjoy as a side dish with your favorite protein.

9 out of 10 dinosaurs agree: this kale does not suck!

Next up: Juicing recipe for the yummy drink shown below.



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  1. Nice.

    As I read it, I was thinking “some balsamic vinegar would tart that up good…” and then you mentioned it.

    Whenever I make something in a cast iron skillet, or anything NASA hot, I use the residual heat to make kale just as you described it (minus stock). Delicious. I used shallots instead of garlic some times.

  2. Mmmm… shallots. Good call.
    Really. Delicious.
    The best part of this recipe (not mentioned) is that, since I had a crazy week last week and Sal did not, I sent him to do the grocery shopping (dangerous!)
    He returned, beaming, and said, “I bought you kale!”
    It may be that I have never been so proud of himself.
    Double-bonus that he ate it when I cooked it!

  3. From the Facebook comments for the benefit of future readers – this sounds fantastic:

    “One of my favorite kale recipes is to slice it into thin ribbons, steam it until it is tender but not soggy, and then toss it with lemon juice, minced candied ginger and just a teeny bit of olive oil . . .”

    From: Cecil Reniche-Smith

  4. Caroline

    …will clean house for food like that! What is the drink there?

    I have kale in my garden year round and use it in practically every entree I cook. I never tell people what it really is, and they always believe me. I’ll call it “arugula” or “escarole” or even spinach, and people don’t blink. But you’re right, the second you say “kale,” people start to edge off their seats. Sometimes I just steam it and put Braggs on it, but usually I bury it a little deeper in a meal.

    You know what else is fantastic? Collard greens.

    And it’s time to start adding dandelion greens and nasturtium to your salads! Mmm! Cheap & nutritious food! Thanks for sharing your recipe, Heidi!

  5. I love kale. Love it. You do cut the big stems out, right? That would increase enjoyment to the kale newb, so I thought I’d mention it.

  6. I thought the stalks were inedible, and should be removed for veteran and rookie alike… bad texture, worse taste.

    Greens in general get a bad rap… most hold their nose and eat them, but when cooked right, my goodness… the wonders that lay within…

    Plus, for many greens, they’re more nutritious when cooked.

  7. I definitely cut out the stems.
    This recipe from my friend Patrick (via Twitter) looks really delicious: Savory Bread Pudding with Winter Greens
    The roasting technique looks especially cool – going to try it tonight!

  8. Have you tried roasting it? T and I have been eating Kale (and chard) that way recently and it is fabulous. Heat oven to 375. Toss the thinly sliced (like, shredded) kale with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast 5 minutes, turn, and another 7 or so until it just starts getting crispy. take it out and toss lightly with sea salt. Like french fries but much better for you!
    And if there’s any leftover (doubtful) it goes great in a scramble with eggs, peppers, Italian sausage, and carmelized onions.

  9. Yum! After all this talk of roasting kale (it’s in the Hen Waller bread pudding recipe too), I had to try it for myself.
    MtMann: I just made some following your instructions – so delish!! It gives me a strong popcorn vibe – pop it in a big bowl and mow it down with a good movie.
    Shockingly tasty. Another kale post is imminent!

  10. My wife loves cooked greens. I’m more of the “I’ll choke these down because I know they’re good for me” sort. I will pass along this recipe and have her give it a try. Speaking of kale, I do love kale mashed in with potatoes.

  11. Mark – I also have to highly recommend the roasted version. Just got done scarfing my test batch and processing photos for a new blog post as I type. :)

  12. My favorite greens are the ones that clear the sinuses – turnip, mustard, raab, endive – mo’ bitta, mo’ betta . . .

  13. I use stems too-just put them in the steamer5 min. b4 placing the rest of your kale or chard/I love swiss chard/

  14. Janet Livesay

    Since I grow my own kale I am excited about how to enjoy this super vegetable any time. But Please… I am lazy and like to print my recipes off your blog…not a good idea when its background is black and might use up a ream of paper!

  15. Heidi swift

    Hi Janet!
    You can print the page – your computer is smart and will tell the printer to use black text on white, promise!
    But I do like the idea of easy to print PDFs of recipes… I may do that in the future.
    Cheers, Heidi

  16. I just needed to say that I found your site via Goolge and I am glad I did. Keep up the good work and I will make sure to bookmark you for when I have more free time away from the books. Thanks again!


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