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Best Braised Kale

This is one of our favorite cooked kale recipes, and it’s very easy to make! Braised kale is delicious and power-packed with protein and calcium.

braised kale in brown and white bowl with lemon slices

If you’re looking for a kale side dish that is easy and delicious, look no further. This healthy cooked kale is seasoned and sauteed to perfection.

Braised kale is a perfect side dish because it’s…

cooked kale in white bowl with lemon slices

We make this kale recipe in the KickStart Your Health nutrition and cooking classes that I teach as a licensed Food for Life instructor with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Class participants are always amazed at how easy it is to make, and they love hearing about the health benefits as well.

How to cook kale

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Begin by washing the kale thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Don’t skip this because kale can be quite gritty sometimes.

raw kale on cutting board

You can buy the bags of kale that is already destemmed, but it will have a lot of thick fibrous stems that you’ll need to remove. I prefer to buy fresh kale and remove the stems whole.

Destemming is not difficult and doesn’t even require a knife or scissors.

hand holding bunch of kale

To strip out the stems, simply grasp a kale leaf with one hand by the stem. Wrap your other hand firmly around the lower end of the leafy part. Slide your hand up the leaf, staying close to the stem, to strip off the leafy part.

There is even a kitchen tool called Loose Leaf Kale, Chard, Collard Greens and Herb Stripper to make it very simple.

raw kale in stainless bowl with kale stem on side

The kale looks like a tremendous amount, but it will wilt down within minutes to only about 5-6 servings. I usually purchase 1-2 fresh bunches of it. If you have a lot of fresh kale from your garden, even better! Wash and remove the stems from each leaf.

Next, slice the onion and mince the garlic. I like to cut my onions into crescent shapes, but you can really dice them any way that is preferable.

wood cutting board with kale, onions, garlic, lemon, and soy sauce

I am often asked what knives I use and recommend for cooking, and my favorite brand is Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery. Yes, that’s the same company that makes the Swiss Army Knife. These knives come with a lifetime guarantee and are very reasonably priced. I absolutely love mine.

In a large stockpot, add veggie broth or water, onion, and minced garlic clove. Allow sautéing for approximately 5 minutes.

Add kale, cover pot, and simmer until wilted–about 5 minutes.

uncooked kale in stockpot

Once kale is wilted and reduced dramatically in volume, add all spices, and cook UNcovered for approximately 5-7 minutes, until tender and most liquid has cooked out.

cooked kale in large stockpot with spoon

Serve and enjoy!

*Originally published January 06, 2015.

Your Braised Kale Questions Answered:

Q: Can I use the bags of precut kale for this recipe?

A: You can, but you’ll need to remove the little pieces of stems because they won’t cook to become soft. I prefer to purchase the loose leaf kale instead of using the precut bagged kale that has stems in it. They are too fibrous and chewy.

Q: How long should kale be cooked?

A: Kale is perfectly cooked for around 5-7 minutes. Don’t overcook the kale, because it will turn an ugly brown color and not be the pretty bright green intended.

Q: How long will cooked kale last?

A: Cooked kale will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

overhead shot of cooked kale in brown bowl on cutting board with lemon

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Other kale recipes

braised kale in brown and white bowl with lemon slices

Braised Kale Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

This is one of our favorite cooked kale recipes, and it’s very easy to make! Braised kale is delicious and power-packed with protein and calcium.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Begin by washing the kale thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Don’t skip this because kale can be quite gritty sometimes.
    2. You can buy the bags of kale that is already destemmed, but it will have a lot of thick fibrous stems that you’ll need to remove. I prefer to buy fresh kale and remove the stems whole. Destemming is not difficult and doesn’t even require a knife or scissors. See pictures and instructions for destemming above.
    3. The kale looks like a tremendous amount, but it will wilt down within minutes to only about 5-6 servings. I usually purchase 1-2 fresh bunches of it. If you have a lot of fresh kale from your garden, even better! Wash and remove the stems from each leaf.
    4. Next, slice the onion and mince the garlic. I like to cut my onions into crescent shapes, but you can really dice them any way that is preferable.
    5. In a large stockpot, add veggie broth or water, onion, and minced garlic clove. Allow sautéing for approximately 5 minutes. Add kale, cover pot, and simmer until wilted–about 5 minutes.
    6. Once kale is wilted and reduced dramatically in volume, add all spices, and cook UNcovered for approximately 5-7 minutes, until tender and most liquid has cooked out.
    7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 54Total Fat: 1gCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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braised kale photo collage for pinterest
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Emily

Wednesday 27th of March 2019

Sounds very good, but very hihpgh in sodium.

Sheri

Friday 30th of September 2016

Mmmm... delicious! Flavor spot on! Thanks Terri!