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Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion (Melting Tuscan Kale)

Kale is the healthiest and greenest of all the green foods I can think of, so I’d say Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion is a perfect side dish for St. Patrick’s Day. This Melting Tuscan Kale is low-carb, Keto,  low-glycemic, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, dairy-free, vegan, Paleo and Whole 30! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion found on KalynsKitchen.comIt’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. 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 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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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:

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

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Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

More Ideas for Cooking Dark Green Kale:
Roasted Kale Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika ~ Simply Recipes

Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Kale (Green Eggs and Ham) ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Pressure Cooker Spinach and Kale Risotto ~ The Perfect Pantry

Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash with Kale, Feta, and Mozzarella ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion found on KalynsKitchen.com
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55 comments on “Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion (Melting Tuscan Kale)”

  1. So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. 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!

  3. Thanks Barb, and yaay for kale!

  4. 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!

  5. Teresa, that's great! So glad.

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