How Do I Cook Kale?

M.C. Huguelet

If you have never cooked kale before, you may find it an intimidating prospect. In fact, there are several simple ways to cook kale, and some basic knowledge of these methods can help quell even the most apprehensive cook’s fears of this leafy green. The most common ways to cook kale include sautéing it, boiling it, and baking it.


No matter how you prefer to cook kale, you should begin with two preliminary steps. First of all, after you have pulled the individual kale leaves apart, you should wash them to remove all traces of sand and dirt which may be clinging to them. Secondly, you should cut away the stalk, or “spine,” which runs up the middle of each kale leaf, and which is usually too tough and bitter to eat. You can do this by folding the leaves in half lengthwise and then using a knife to trim away the stalk.

Kale can be boiled in a mixture of water and vinegar.
Kale can be boiled in a mixture of water and vinegar.

Once your kale has been prepped, you can begin to cook it. Sautéing is one of the most common ways to cook kale. This kale dish is made by chopping kale leaves and then adding them to a frying pan containing heated cooking oil. Often, cooks sauté an onion or some garlic in the pan before adding the kale to enhance the dish’s flavor. The kale is cooked in the frying pan until it takes on a vibrant green hue, and is often served topped with chopped bacon and vinegar.

Fried kale is often served with chopped bacon and vinegar.
Fried kale is often served with chopped bacon and vinegar.

You might also try boiling your kale. Usually, boiled kale is prepared by bringing a stockpot of water and vinegar to a boil. Chopped kale is then added to the pot and cooked until its color intensifies to a very strong green. Many cooks add ham or bacon to the cooking water to infuse the kale with extra flavor. Once cooked, the kale is drained and seasoned with vinegar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Finally, for a crispy snack or appetizer, you might try baking your kale. Baked kale is made by first chopping or tearing kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Next, the leaves are tossed in cooking oil, sprinkled with seasonings such as salt, pepper, and dried garlic, and spread out on baking trays. The kale is then baked in the oven over a low temperature until it becomes crisp, a process that usually takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Baked kale can serve as a delicious appetizer.
Baked kale can serve as a delicious appetizer.

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Discussion Comments


I would recommend steaming kale as well, since that is one of the best ways to preserve all the nutrients. You don't lose them into the water and it cooks quite quickly. Just prepare it the same way you would if you were boiling it, and then put some lemon juice or whatever on top when you're finished.


@Fa5t3r - You can't make chips from spinach though, unless you're willing to mix it with other ingredients. I think cooking with kale is just more versatile and it is very good for you.

If the demand continues, eventually there will be a lot of growers willing to sell it and the price will go down because of that. So either way the high prices shouldn't continue for too long.

Although if you really like it, maybe you should try growing it yourself. It's not a difficult thing to grow and it can actually be quite attractive arranged in flower beds.


I really like kale greens and to be honest, I'll be glad when it stops being seen as the latest health food craze. It costs three times more than any other greens at the supermarket at the moment, and the only reason for that is that people are willing to pay that amount because it's called a "superfood".

It is good for you, but a varied diet in general is good for you. I don't think it's that much more good for people than Swiss chard or spinach or any other kind of green, leafy vegetable.

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