A Collection of Kale Recipes

Have you tried kale?

Here is a great collection of kale recipes gathered from a variety of sources – my recipe files, favorite cookbooks and the web – in hopes that you will add it to your meal planning this fall and winter.

I hadn’t really eaten much kale myself until last winter, when I bought it several times at the farmer’s market and tried it in several different recipes.

I was pleasantly surprised by its relatively mellow flavor and am now excited to welcome the return of kale season this year.

For those who are unfamiliar with this vegetable, kale is a hardy green from the cabbage family that is in season here in the US during the fall and winter. It has a relatively mellow flavor and can survive severe frost, which actually makes it sweeter.

Kale is highly nutritious with powerful antioxidant properties.

Kale in a Bowl

Instructions for cooking kale

It is rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and a relatively good source of calcium and vitamin B6.

It also is a good source of fiber (5 grams per cup), low in calories (45 calories per cup) and full of  cancer-preventing compounds.

Kale can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

It can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried, roasted or sautéed.

It also is delicious added to soups during the last few minutes of cooking. In Ireland kale often is mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional dish colcannon.

Kale Tips & Hints

What to look for at the store: Choose dark green, crisp leaves that seem to be bursting with vitality. Thinner stalks will usually be more tender. Avoid wilting, yellowing, and spotting which are all signs of age.

Storage: Cook as soon as possible. Until then, refrigerate in plastic bags. For best flavor, use within 3 to 4 days of purchase.

Quantity: Allow 1 pound of kale for 3 to 4 servings.

Cleaning: Wash carefully. Give leaves a good rinse under the tap. Fill a large bowl with plenty of water, add the greens, and gently swish the leaves around to loosen the dirt. let them soak for a few minutes while the dirt settes to the bottom. Lift them up without stirring up the dirty water below. Repeat, if necessary, until they are clean.

Cooking: Great instructions and a basic recipe for cooking kale.


Kale Recipes – Appetizers & Snacks

Crostini and Kale
Serves 8


1 baguette, preferably whole wheat, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds kale, preferably Tuscan, stems removed, leaves sliced into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 small wedge Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the crostini. Arrange bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and garlic over medium-high until garlic is fragrant. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup water; cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, 12 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Toss with lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Top crostini with kale. With a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan onto top.

Nutritional Notes: Since kale is a 0 PointsPlus Value Weight Watchers power food, I would just count the PointsPlus value for the bread, olive oil and Parmesan used.

Green Surprise Dip
A tasty healthy recipe for dip perfect for your next vegetable tray.


1 cup steamed kale
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
salt to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

1 cup steamed kale
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
salt to taste

Nutritional Estimates Per Serving (about 1/4 cup):  97 calories, 2.7 g fat, 13.3 g carbs, 3.1 g fiber, 5.5 g protein and 2 Weight Watchers PPV


Kale Recipes – Side Dishes

Kale with Olives
Serves 2 to 3


1 bunch kale, stems and ribs removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon, quartered


In a large skillet, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the kale. Simmer, uncovered, turning the leave until all are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and press out as much excess moisture as you can. Toss with the oil, olives, pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Serve with the lemon wedges.


Kale with Raisin and Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves 2 to 3


1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 pound kale (about 6 cups, chopped)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup raisins
Salt to taste


Toast the pine nuts. Preheat oven to 325 F. Place pine nuts on a cookie sheet or in a pie tin and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden. (Keep a close watch on them to prevent burning.) Set aside.

Wash the kale and strip the leaves (for more details). Discard stalks and roughly chop the leaves. In a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately, 5 minutes. Remove and drain.

Rinse out and dry the skillet, then use it to heat the olive oil over medium heat, swirling the oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Add raisins and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. (The raisins should be slightly puffy and glossy.)

Add kale and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste and cover for a minute until heated through. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.


Confetti Kale
Serves 4


6 cups kale chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup corn
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a large frying pan, saute the garlic and kale in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Mix in the corn, red pepper, water and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately


Green Barley and Kale Gratin
Serves 4 to 6


2/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large bunch kale (1 1/4 pounds), stems discarded and leaves chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk or vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or provolone


In a medium saucepan, bring 1 quart water to boil over high heat. Add barley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lower heat and simmer uncovered until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet bring 1 quart salted water to boil. Add kale and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water then drain and puree with reserved 1/4 cup of the cooking water until smooth.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook stirring constantly until thick. Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish.

Bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.


Kale Recipes – Easy Dinner Ideas

Smoked Turkey with Kale
Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into thin half moons
1 bunch curly kale, sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 pound smoked turkey breast, sliced into bite-size chunks
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and beginning brown a little. Add kale and stir until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook another 2 minutes until it is warm. Transfer to a serving dish and add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Estimates Per Serving (1/4th): 144 calories, 5.9 g fat, 14.4 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 13.9 g protein and 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value (PPV)


Sausages with Kale and White Beans
Serves 4


1 large bunch kale (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
4 garlic cloves
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages (about 4 links)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar


Remove thick stems from kale and discard. Coarsely chop kale; wash and dry. Peel and thinly slice garlic.

Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. With a fork, pierce sausages all over; place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

While sausages are cooking, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add kale, garlic, and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook, tossing occasionally, until kale is wilted and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans and vinegar. Cook uncovered, tossing gently, until beans are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Nutritional Estimates Per Serving (1 sausage and 1/4th kale/bean mixture): 311 calories, 12.3 g fat, 29.8 g carbs, 7.0 g fiber, 23.3 g protein and 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value (PPV)


Potato Kale Soup
Makes 6 cups of soup

Soup is a great way to get acquainted with kale. Here is a quick and easy recipe for kale potato soup that is wholesome and delicious.


1 large bunch of kale (chopped)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups (1250 ml) hot water or broth, divided
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the kale and set it aside. (Don’t try to cook it with the potatoes — the flavor will be too strong.)

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the potatoes and 2 cups (500ml) water or broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Remove half the potatoes and set aside. Puree the rest of the potatoes and cooking liquid until smooth. Return to the soup pot along with the reserved potatoes and steamed kale. (If you prefer a smoothly textured soup puree everything.)

Add additional water or broth until desired consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Potato Kale Soup Variations:

  • Add 1 cup cooked white beans when you add the kale.
  • Add 1 cup fresh corn kernels to soup when you add the kale and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add cooked, sliced sausage to the soup when you add the kale.


Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup
Serves 6


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
1/2 cup dried lentils
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) kale, preferably Tuscan, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar


In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until the soup comes to a fast simmer, partially cover, and cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, 25 minutes. Add kale and season with salt. Return soup to a rapid simmer, cover, and cook until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.


Delicious Slow Cooker Sausage Kale Soup
Makes 4 servings

A quick and easy soup made in the slow cooker. Perfect for a wholesome and satisfying quick and easy dinner.


5 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 carrots grated
4 potatoes, sliced or cubed
4 cups kale, tough stems removed and chopped
1 pound spicy sausage, browned
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk


Place the the broth, carrots, potatoes and sausage. Sprinkle salt and pepper flakes over the top. Cover. Cook on high 4 to 5 hours (or low 8 to 8 hours), stirring occasionally. About 15 minutes before serving, add the cream or milk and cook until heated through.


Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Kale

Serves 4

A quick, healthy and delicious dinner idea from Lidia Bastianich, that can be used with any kind of greens you like.


1 1/2 pounds kale
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
a large pinch of dried red chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the kale. Remove tough stems from kale and discard. Coarsely chop the kale leaves. Rinse thoroughly and drain.

When the water comes to a boil, add a good handful of salt and the spaghetti. Cook until it is al dente.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large saute pan over medium high health. Add about half the oil, the onion, chili flakes and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender and lightly colored, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to proven onion from scorching. Add kale and cook, tossing and stirring, until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Add water if dry or cover to create steam if necessary. Add garlic, season with salt, and cook 2 minutes more being careful not to brown the garlic.

Reserve a cup of pasta water and then drain pasta when done. Add pasta to saute pan and toss to combine, loosen with a splash of the pasta water if necessary and taste for salt, adjusting as needed. Transfer to warm bowls. Drizzle thin stream of olive oil on top. Garnish with shavings of parmesan.

Spaghetti with Kale Variations:

  • Splash with lemon juice or red wine vinegar and shavings of ricotta salata.
  • Use 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon to pan before adding onion. Cook pancetta till brown but not crisp and then remove from pan and set aside. Continue with recipe returning pan with the spaghetti.


12 More Kale Recipes

Here are more delicious kale recipes from around the net, that I have hand picked because they are recipes I want to try and think you will enjoy too. (As a chronic recipe organizer, I am so excited about getting all the recipes I love and/or want to try organized all in one place!)

*Note: The following descriptions are excerpts from the recipe sites.

1. Baked Crispy Kale Chips – I have no reason to dislike kale, but it’s one of those vegetables that I don’t usually buy. It probably has everything to do with location. At the grocery store down the street where do most of my shopping, the kale-in-a-bag sits perkily next to collard greens in-a-bag which sits next to the fresh cut fruit in-a-bowl. And that’s the section that I avoid. Found at Steamy Kitchen.

2. Massaged Kale Salad with Radish, Apple, Avocado and Sunflower Seeds – Today was a fantastic salad day. It was serendipitous because I had all of the ingredients on hand—so I had to make it (of course!). First off, let me explain what massaged kale is (other than pure-green-bliss). Kale is kind of hard in it’s raw form; it’s tense, it’s chewy, and super bitter—not the best—unless sauteed, baked, or, massaged with sea salt. And massaging works really with Dinosaur kale—the flat, dark green leaf, not the frilly leaves of Russian and other varieties of kale (although, you can use those too). Found at Eating is Art.

3. Esalen Kale SaladWant to know how to make kale sexy and jaw-droppingly tasty? A dark leafy green, kale is packed with nutrients but not the easiest to make exciting. Most recipes ask you to boil or sauté the kale until it gives in, turning the tough leafs and stems into softer but often over-cooked mash. But, it doesn’t have to be prepared that way. Let me introduce you to a raw kale salad that will change every way you think about kale from Esalen a legendary workshop and retreat center in Big Sur, California. Found at Jane Spice.

4. Raw Kale Salad with Parmesan and Lemon For a few years now I’ve been growing kale. I started with Red Russian Kale milder variety that’s good for salads, and I loved it in Red Russion Kale and Cabbage Salad. This year I grew dark green curly kale and after I heard about raw kale salads with dark green kale on several food blogs, I decided to try it. I mentioned to my neighbor Brooke that I’d made a salad with raw kale that’s marinated for an hour before you eat it, Found at Kalyns Kitchen.

5. Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup – We first posted this kale soup recipe four years ago and it has since become a regular winter staple in our home. Roasted vegetables, puréed and then cooked with broth, kale, and white beans make up this hearty soup. Of all the leafy green vegetables, kale is my least favorite; I usually find it too bitter. But in this soup, matched with the savory roasted vegetables and buttery beans, it’s fabulous. Found at Simply Recipes.

6. Barley Soup with Mushrooms and KaleThis is a comforting winter meal in a bowl based on a classic Central European mushroom and barley soup. From The New York Times.

7. Sausage and Kale Soup – Try serving this hearty soup as the main course of a light meal. A hearty soup perfect for lunch and dinner. From Martha Stewart.

8. Butternut Squash and Kale SoupOne of my first Mom Survival Rituals is to make a pot of soup on the weekends and eat it throughout the week. I realized the necessity of such a plan when my lunch consisted of cookies on more than one occasion. I’m not proud of this. Consequently, the Weekend Soup has cemented itself as a ready-in-sixty-seconds-cookie-squelcher. I usually go with a basic vegetable soup and use whatever I have around, but last weekend required more. I wanted something hearty and seasonal, and, for some unknown reason, I demanded that sausage make an appearance. Found at My First Kitchen.

9. Bacon Tomato and Kale Soup This is a soup I made just before Christmas and it was wonderfully tasty, and so simple. As with lots of good things it came from the necessity to use up things I had to hand and from no specific recipe. The week before Christmas, for me, is a time to try to use up anything left in the fridge or from the veggie box. I still had a plentiful supply of the soup basics: onions, leeks and carrots. Add to this fresh black kale, a tin of tomatoes and some leftover crispy bacon, and you have the makings of the perfect winter warmer. From Coffee Muffins.

10. Sweet Potato Kale Soup If you’re looking for a healthier dish with a difference, try this recipe from Tamar Holmes of San Diego, California. White kidney beans, sweet potatoes, kale and plenty of garlic flavor this brothy blend. “It’s the perfect winter soup and has soothed me through many a cold,” Tamar notes. “It’s a cinch to make, too.” From Taste of Home.

11. Kale and Parmesan Casserole – I’m always excited to come up with new kale recipes.  This time of year it’s the only local leafy green I can get.  I used to see it in the store but never buy it because I wasn’t sure how to prepare kale, but I finally let my sense of adventure take over, and now when I buy kale I get excited as I think of the possibilities.  This kale casserole is what I consider one of my southern recipes.  From Dianasauer Dishes.”

12. Sausage and Kale Pasta Kale is a favorite of mine and it goes especially well with sausage. The strong flavor of the kale always balances nicely with the richness of sausage. I also like adding obscene amounts of kale such that I should really rename this dish Kale and Sausage Pasta. Supper before Grace

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