Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion
Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion is a perfect low side dish and this recipe is tasty and surprisingly popular! Even if you think you don’t like kale, you might be surprised how much you like this Garlic Kale!
Dark green kale was a vegetable I was slow to warm up to. Then I tried Baked Kale Chips with Salt and Vinegar and realized how much I liked the flavor of dark green kale. And I loved this Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion.
This recipe for cooking kale until it’s so tender it seems to be “melting” is adapted from The Italian Country Table (affiliate link) by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, one of the cookbook authors I’d most like to meet. Lynne says home cooks all over Italy cook their greens using this method, and this garlic kale was a delicious side dish for some fish cooked on the grill.
Most people probably won’t eat a huge serving of kale at once, so I am calling this four servings, but for kale fans like myself, this might only be two servings! And if you’ve never cooked kale, I bet you will be surprised at how tasty it really is!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- Optional: Spanish Sherry Vinegar
How did I serve the Garlic Kale?
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.
Can you make the Sauteed Kale with baby kale?
I made this recipe with dark curly kale and I cut away the stems, chopped the kale, and washed it in the salad spinner. You could probably make this recipe with baby kale, but the cooking time will be much shorter!
Why I like to serve Kale for St. Patrick’s Day:
How to Make Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion:
- Chop up a red onion (or a generous amount of shallots would also be good) and saute in olive oil 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 (affiliate link), 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.
More Tasty Recipes using Kale:
- Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
- Artichoke, Kale, and Ricotta Pie
- Pasta with Sausage and Kale
- Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash with Kale
- Sausage, Kale, and Mozzarella Egg Bake
- 1 lb. dark green kale leaves, stem removed and leaves chopped, then washed and dried
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped in small pieces (see notes)
- 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 with vinegar if desired and serve hot or warm.
If you prefer you can use about 1/2 cup chopped shallots instead of red onion.
Kale does have some carbs, but it's high in fiber for those who count net carbs.
This recipe adapted slightly from The Italian Country Table (affiliate link) by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 39mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Kale is one of the most healthful choices of all the green vegetables, and this Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion is perfect for low-carb and Keto diets and for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. Kale does have some carbs, but it’s relatively low in net carbs because of the fiber so if you make this four servings it only has 7 net carbs.
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Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe for Garlic Kale was posted in 2010. It was last updated with more information in 2023.