how to cook kale

How to cook kale – The best ways to use kale

First time cooking kale? You won’t need more than 5 minutes to learn all the tricks how to cook kale or not cook it at all! Kale is one of the top foods rich in vitamin K, and a great source of beta carotene. Health benefits of kale are numerous, and given that it is so easy to prepare this healthy green plant, you don’t have any excuse not to cook kale for lunch today. 

What is the best way to eat kale?

Raw kale is good for salads and smoothies. It goes well in every green or detox smoothie but you can use it for breakfast smoothie as well. Kale is the perfect match with quinoa, when it comes to salads. You can also toss some raw kale in a soup or a stew in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Here are some recipes with raw kale:

Green smoothie with kale and spinach 

Smoothie with kale and avocado

Detox smoothie with ginger, kale and cucumber

Kale salad with quinoa

Kale soup

Cooked kale– similar to other green veggies, you can make side dishes with kale or use it in the main dish. You can sautée kale with spinach or other greens and serve it with fish and cooked potato. Blanched or braised kale is also good in pasta. You can put kale in pesto sauce for instance. Use kale next time you make frittata or scrambled eggs

Other than these simple ideas, here are some recipes with kale:

Kale with bacon and garlic 

Chicken and kale pasta

One pot lemon chicken and kale

Sautéed kale with almonds and onions 

Make kale chips – if you search for healthy snacks that are low in calorie, you may want to try kale chips. With just a few pinches of salt and drizzle of olive oil, you can get crispy but healthy chips.

How is kale best cooked? 

If you want to prepare a side dish or main meal with kale, then you can cook it in one of the following ways:

Sauteed kale – this is the most popular way to cook kale. You can put some oil and garlic first, then add stock and kale. Kale should be cooked until the liquid has evaporated. Spices can be added any time. 

Steamed kale – similar to other vegetables, you can cook kale in a steamer. It takes about 7 minutes to steam kale. Wait a few more minutes so the kale cools and then squeeze the liquids. You can season steamed kale after cooking or in the last minutes of cooking. 

Blanched kale – steam kale for two minutes and then put it in cold water. You can keep blanched kale in the fridge and use it the next day. Don’t season blanched kale during cooking if you don’t plan to eat it immediately.

Braised kale – Braising is similar to sautéing but you cook kale with less liquid and longer. Its texture is perfect for longer cooking. The longer you cook kale in that liquid (water or broth), the better it will absorb the flavors of the ingredients you cooked it with (bacon, garlic, etc). 

Roasted kale – it takes just five minutes to roast kale at high temperature. Cut the kale in stripes, put it on the baking tray covered with parchment paper, season it and bake it for five minutes. Roasted kale is good in salads with any additional topping. 

How long should kale be cooked?

The cooking time depends on the cooking method. You don’t need to boil kale for more than 4 minutes. However, you will need about 10 minutes to sautée kale. Basically any cooking method that doesn’t involve cooking in water, requires more time. 

How do you get bitterness out of kale?

Here are five best ways to make your kale less bitter:


1.Smaller leaves of kale have a milder taste than bigger leaves. So next time you buy kale make sure you choose a nice bunch. 

2.Sugar also reduces that bitterness, so you can add something sweet when cooking kale. When preparing sautéed kale, you can add some dry fruits, pomegranate molasses, apple cider, maple syrup or honey. 

3.If you drink green smoothie with kale, use something sweet like honey or banana to get the bitterness out of kale. 

4.Did you know that kale likes massage? Yes, that’s right. Give your kale a massage and you will see how it will be more tender in texture and less bitter. Some people use olive oil or avocado to massage kale. If you want to add kale to your salad, try massaging it with avocado to reduce that bitter flavor. 

5. You have probably heard about sauerkraut. Similar to fermented cabbage, you can make fermented kale. Check my sauerkraut recipe and follow the same instructions to make fermented kale. You can add some carrots and beets to the same jar. 

Preparing kale for cooking

Start with washing the kale thoroughly. If you want to roast it, make sure you drained it first. You don’t need to drain kale for other ways of cooking, because you will definitely use some water to cook kale. 

When you cook kale, you don’t need its stem. Remove it but don’t toss it because you can use it raw for smoothies. 

Additional tips for using kale

As there are different types of kale, let’s see what type you should use for what purpose:

Baby kale- similar to baby spinach, you can use baby kale for salads

Tuscan kale – this is one of the most popular kale types. You can use it for salads or cook it as a side dish. 

Russian kale is red and has a slightly different flavor. Its unusual color will make your dish look outstanding. 

Regular green kale- use it for cooking, all types of cooking. 

What to do with extra kale?

If you have too much kale you can cook it in hot water for 3 minutes then wash it with cold water. That way you can preserve kale for a week.

When you keep kale uncooked for a longer time, it can go bad. If your kale doesn’t look good anymore, you can blend it with some water. Pour the kale puree into the ice cubes molds and freeze it. You can use frozen kale for smoothies or soups. 

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