Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recipe for Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion (Melting Tuscan Kale)

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and OnionIt's St. Patrick's Day so you might be cooking Corned Beef with Vegetables, Roasted Cabbage with Lemon, or 100% Whole Wheat Brown Soda Bread, but I still thought this was a good day to feature kale, since it's certainly the greenest of all the leafy green vegetables. Dark green kale was a vegetable I was slow to warm up to, and until recently I'd mostly cooked Red Russian Kale that I grew in my garden. Then I tried Roasted Kale Chips and realized how much I liked the flavor of dark green kale. This recipe for cooking kale until it's so tender it seems to be "melting" is adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, one of the cookbook authors I'd most like to meet. Lynne says home cooks all over Italy saute their greens using this method, and this kale was a delicious side dish for some fish that I cooked on the grill. I served my kale with a sprinkling of Spanish Sherry Vinegar which is definitely optional; you could also sprinkle the cooked kale with balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar which is what my mother always used over cooked greens when I was a kid.

Chop up a red onion (or a generous amount of shallots would also be good) and saute until they are just starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Then add 2 cloves finely minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more.

While the onions cook, cut away kale stems and discard, then chop the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and wash and dry. (I used a salad spinner, but you can wash in the sink and dry with paper towels.)

Add the chopped kale to the pan with the onion/garlic mixture and let it wilt.

Then add 1/2 cup water and let the kale cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes until the pan is almost dry.

Add another 1/2 cup water and let the kale continue to cook until the pan is nearly dry again. The kale is starting to get that "melted" look.

Add another 1/2 cup water and cook again for 5-10 minutes; then taste the greens and see if they are melt-in-your-mouth tender. If needed, you can add water a fourth time and cook a bit longer. The greens should be moist but not soaked with water when they are done. Season with vinegar if desired and serve hot or warm.

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion (Melting Tuscan Kale)
(Makes 2-3 servings, recipe adapted slightly from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.)

1 lb. dark green kale leaves, stem removed and leaves chopped, then washed and dried
1 T extra virgin olive oil (or slightly more, depending on your pan)
1 red onion, chopped in small pieces (or use about 1/2 cup chopped shallots)
2 cloves fresh garlic, very finely minced
1 1/2 cup - 2 cups water, added 1/2 cup at a time
Optional: Spanish Sherry Vinegar or other vinegar of your choice sprinkled over the cooked kale

Chop the onion or shallots and finely mince the garlic, then heat oil in heavy frying pan until it's medium-hot and saute onion 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. When onion is turning slightly brown, add garlic and saute 1 minute more.

While onions and garlic cook, cut away the center rib from each kale leaf and discard. Chop or tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels.

Add chopped kale leaves to the browned onion/garlic mixture, season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and let the kale wilt for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, stir, and let the kale cook in the water until the pan is almost dry, about 5-10 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup more water and cook kale 5-10 minutes more, then add a third 1/2 cup of water and cook kale 5-10 minutes more. After you've added water and cooked it off three times, taste to see if the kale is tender; if not, add water one more time and cook a bit longer.

When kale is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the pan is nearly dry, season as desired with vinegar and serve hot or warm.


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South Beach Suggestions:
Kale is one of the most healthful choices of all vegetables, and this low-glycemic side dish is perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Ideas for Cooking Dark Green Kale:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Roasted Kale Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar from Kalyn's Kitchen
Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika from Simply Recipes
Sauteed Kale with Garlic, Cranberries, and Parmesan from Eat This
Sauteed Kale with Garlic from No Recipes
Spicy Sauteed Kale from Life's Ambrosia
Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Grilled Sweet Onions from Christine Cooks
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit

55 comments:

  1. I have only ever tried kale chips, and I love them. But with all of these flavors this may be something I like, too. The only thing that turns me off from kale is the chewiness.

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  2. I am learning that kale seems to get better as you cook it. So, patience is the key to "melt in your mouth!" Happy St. Patrick's Day, Kalyn!

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  3. just love kale - a lovely leafy green - this is such a grand way to prepare it. i'm making pasta today with a creamy salmon and kale sauce. will have to save some of the kale though to make this!

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  4. Another reminder to eat more kale! I still have to try the kale chips. This recipe looks more all-purpose, though, as a side dish for roast chicken or even steaks on the grill.

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  5. So weird, I was going to make exactly this for dinner last night but I got home late. I love sauteed greens with some garlic and added vinegar at the end. Plus I just can't get enough Kale!

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  6. I have never made this... sounds similar to a cooked spinach recipe i do...

    And certainly colored right for today!

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  7. Yep, this dish is delicious! And good call in making it for St. Pattys!

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  8. I am always looking for different ways to make kale! Since, it is usually one of my CSA's best offerings!

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  9. This is the second kale recipe I've come across this week, it must be a sign! I have got to get some kale to cook! Thanks for the post. :-)

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  10. Ross, thanks so much for taking the time to leave that comment. I do know about the error and the team at Blogger is currently working on it for me, supposed to be all fixed tonight.

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  11. looks so delicious. i started cooking with kale very recently and have enjoyed it a lot so far. Just a month ago I bought some lacinato kale which was my first non-curly kale and loved it.

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  12. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all, and glad people like the sound of this. I think I need to look for Lacinato kale, I've never had that!

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  13. I love kale, one of my favourite veggies. Esp in kale aloo!

    I recently had 'melting' kale at a restaurant, but I think it was done with butter only. In any case, it was excellent, though perhaps not a treat I woud like to indulge in too often.

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  14. This is such a simple preparation and yet it is so classic and delicious. I love that you used red onion instead of white.

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  15. Could I substitute the water for low-sodium chicken broth? Thought that might increase the flavor a bit. I recently discovered kale as well and love it, though I still do not eat it often enough!

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  16. Jen, I definitely think you could substitute some of the water with stock, but maybe not all because it might get too salty after it's repeatedly cooked away. I did have that thought myself too, but haven't tried it.

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  17. Kalyn, I think you might influence me to give curly kale another try. I have never been a huge fan of that variety, but between this recipe and the chips I don't think I can resist.

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  18. I know that kale is so good for us, but I've never eaten a kale dish I truly enjoyed and therefore have never served it at home. I think it's time to give kale another shot though. Perhaps this is just the recipe to sway my opinion (& my family's too)!

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  19. This is my favorite way to prepare curly kale. So wonderful.

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  20. Kale really is a great vegetable, especially in winter. And it plays so nicely with garlic. I've never tried it "melted"--must give that a shot.

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  21. Wow--Ironically enough, I have a volunteer kale coming up in my strawbery patch this spring. Now, I know exactly what to do with it!

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  22. Anonymous, last year I had volunteer Red Russian Kale, but it ended up being tough and stringy, so I wished I had pulled it out and planted new seeds. I'm not sure if this type of kale will overwinter better, but I'd cut off the leaves while they are still fairly small.

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  23. What a great inspiration for putting more leafy greens in our diets.

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  24. I have some kale and a red onion left over from recipe testing this week and a friend is coming for dinner. Perfect! I'm printing recipe now. Thanks.

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  25. Okay, I made this tonight for my dinner guest and she raved about it! She was not a kale fan until tonight! Said it was fabulous! I agree, and I'll make it again. Thanks!

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  26. Janice, so glad to hear it was a hit!

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  27. Since you are using homegrown kale, would you like to enter this post into our Grow Your Own roundup this month? Full details at


    http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2010/03/announcing-grow-your-own-40.html

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  28. Just so no one is confused, I didn't make this recipe with kale from my garden, the garden kale was a different variety.

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  29. This is another simple, delicious way to prepare kale. Thank you.

    My standard treatment for all greens is much the same, but I use garlic and anchovy, or garlic and lemon, then reduce the leaves on top of that base.

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  30. Rob, I like the idea of using some lemon or anchovy for extra flavor in this.

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  31. Jim the Family CookMarch 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    I don't think I've ever knowingly eaten kale before, and certainly have never cooked with it, but I made this last night. I really enjoyed it, and so did my fellow non-kale-eating diners. I used balsamic because I didn't have any sherry vinegar; now I have a good excuse to find and buy some.

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  32. Jim, so glad to hear you liked it and that it was good with balsamic vinegar as well!

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  33. I think I could eat my weight in this stuff! Loved this method of cooking. So much better than the way my mother taught me to cook in water and season with bacon grease.

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  34. I tried this last night and it was fabulous! I added shitake mushrooms when I sauteed the garlic, 4 rounds of liquid with one being chicken broth and added fresh snow peas from the garden with the last batch of water. Also, added a little cooking sherry. Loved it!

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  35. Ted, so glad you liked it. I have some kale growing in my garden, so I'm looking forward to trying it again!

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  36. We found beautiful local kale and shitakes at the farm market, then came home to find something to do with them. Voila! Followed this recipe including the later comment that added shitakes. This morning, we stirred the leftovers into some eggs and grated cheese to make your "Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares" -- with kale, obviously. Two-fer!

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  37. Lisa, that's great! (And what a brilliant idea to use the leftovers to make the breakfast squares.)

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  38. Why go to the trouble of drying the kale, especially with paper towels (I see the sense of spinning off the excess water, but even that seems unnecessary)? The moisture from the rinsed kale leaves helps them to wilt; then even more water is added. That said, this is a good recipe and we're on a kale roll in our house so we'll use this easy one often. Thanks.

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  39. Deborah, it's only to control the amount of water that's added, but you probably don't have to be too careful about it.

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  40. Thanks for the recipe. I've just discovered kale and am having fun doing different recipes. This one is for tonight.

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  41. Cassia, hope you will enjoy it. I was a slow adopter with kale, but now I love it.

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  42. I made this last night to go with our roast chicken and it was just fabulous! Thank you! Before I had no idea how to cook it and it was HORRIBLE. Now I have a great side to accompany my meats while I'm Somersizing.

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  43. Veronica, so glad you liked it. I have heard that the long cooking time sweetens the kale, which I think is true because I love it in soups.

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  44. I absolutely love Kale. I grew up on it, but my grandmother used to overcook it. This recipes helps me control the amount of water that is put into it. Ingenious. Now I can cook it too my level of doneness. I didn't have any fresh garlic, but a little garlic salt and powder was a great substitute. Thanks so much for sharing.... I will use this recipe over and over again.

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  45. Jackie, so glad you enjoyed it!

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  46. I enjoyed the Kale recipe. I am born and raised in the south so greens were usually collard greens or turnip greens and cooked to death. I preferred your cooking method to the all day version I remember growing up! Thanks.

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  47. This recipe is excellent! We loved it and I will make it again, I am sure. A new favorite! Thank you!

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  48. Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed it! I'm really missing having an abundant supply of kale from my garden now that it's winter.

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  49. This is my favorite way to enjoy kale. Until I tried this recipe, I had been unable to make it this way at home.
    We enjoyed it tonight with your easy garlic & lemon shrimp, but I will be preparing this dish often in a variety of combinations. (Not just as a side, but over top quinoa or rice.)

    Thanks for another outstanding recipe, Kalyn!

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  50. I've got this cooking on the stove as I type. I bought Trader Joe's bagged Tuscan Kale.....the smell of it cooking is amazingly good. Thanks Kalyn!

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  51. So thankful I found your recipe. I have already made it twice and the kale is so tender and delicious. I have been kale-deprived for the last 3 years because of chronic jaw pain; I didn't know a method for cooking kale that would make it easy to chew. Your recipe is a life-saver. Thank you!

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