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Sautéed Kale

sautéed kale gluten-free recipe

I love kale.  My boys love kale.  Even my husband goes for it.  Kale is a universally favorite vegetable in our family.  And boy am I lucky since it’s a superfood.  Given our collective kale obsession, I am always looking for more ways to cook kale, and this is one of my favorites.

Let’s not forget that kale is one of those”naturally gluten free” foods as my friend Shirley would say. So try it, you just might like it.

Sauteéd Kale


  1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and add onion
  3. Sauté for 15 minutes until caramelized
  4. Add kale and sauté for 5 minutes uncovered
  5. Cover pot with a lid and sauté for 1-2 minutes until wilted
  6. Add salt and serve

Sometimes I like to throw a few thinly sliced carrots into this dish to add a bit of color.  Have you ever sautéd kale before?  What other veggies or seasonings do you enjoy adding to your sautéed kale?  Leave a comment and let us all know.

Here are some more gluten free kale recipes you might enjoy:
-Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion (Melting Tuscan Kale) from Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen
-Kale Caesar Slaw from Silvana of Dish Towel Diaries
-Sautéed Kale & Mushrooms from Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl

posted on January 5, 2011, 86 comments

  1. I too am in love with kale! I started having it with my breakfast soup each morning, & now it’s not the same without it. I steam & puree it with broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, garlic & onion. I also sauté some with garlic & onion & pour the soup over this mix in a bowl, just to give it a bit of texture. I spice this up with paprika & turmeric. A super-healthy start to the day!

  2. Oh I’ll be trying this! I just steamed kale for the first time last night – a little late to the kale party :) We make kale chips a lot, and we add kale to our cookie. But I would love to try it this way, especially with the caramelized onions!

  3. Kathleen Ayers

    When I make this dish, I frequently throw in any leftover extra vegetables I have in the refrigerator. The raw veggies go in early, the cooked ones at the last minute to warm up. We also like Five Spice Powder as a seasoning, which mixes nicely with the onions and kale.

  4. Rachael Pettus

    I grow lovely red Russian kale. It’s excellent sauteed as you describe with the addition of a few red chili flakes and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

  5. My new favorite recipe for kale or other dark leafy greens is pretty similar but i love adding some fresh lemon juice to finish. So yummy. Check out my recipe here :O)

  6. Green Shushi @ greenshushi.com

    I like it simply with garlic. OMG delicious!

  7. We eat kale a lot, as well – something about it feels incredibly healthy. For the most part, I saute the leafy parts with a ton of garlic in olive oil that I cook first until the garlic softens and sweetens a bit. After I’ve added the kale and tossed it with the garlic and oo, I add a little water and cover to steam until tender (about 7 minutes). Salt, pepper, sometimes a squeeze of lemon juice, done!

  8. Kelly- 18 Hour Kitchen @ 18hourkitchen.blogspot.com

    Our family loves kale too! I add just a pinch of nutmeg (thanks to Rachael Ray) and it’s so delicious.

  9. Kale is also great sauteed with garlic, olive oil and a dash of organic soy sauce. Add toasted sesame seeds and or oil at the end for an asian twist..

  10. Wendy--Celiacs in the House @ celiacsinthehouse.blogspot.com

    Yay for kale! I have kale in my last three posts. Smoothies, potato cakes, soup all have kale this week. Your turkey meatloaf is on the menu this week, too.

  11. Rebecca

    Kale is one of my weekly regulars! I saute it with garlic and occasionally add red bell pepper. Sometimes I chop a slice of bacon, cook it, and then saute the kale in the fat and sprinkle the bacon on top for serving. I also use kale in a sausage soup with carrot and fresh tomato, red onion, and grated parm for serving. Oh, and sometimes I saute it by itself and add a bit of balsamic vinegar at the end. I love me some kale!

  12. mary janssen

    I use that same recipe to make all greens, such as kale, turnip greens, beet tops, etc. All delicious. Sometimes I add fried bacon.

  13. AndreAnna from Liife as A Plate @ lifeasaplate.com

    I know I should eat more of this. I used to love toasting it for Kale chips but thats a lot of work since you have to make sure they;re dry and usually I’m too hungry to wait!!

  14. Rachel Sebell Graveline @ glutenfreetable.wordpress.com

    I love Kale. I like to add in sauted crimini mushrooms. It is also great to throw into homemade gluten free tomato soup.

  15. Amada Cortez

    AWESOME! My son will eat any veggie that’s GREEN! I normally roast kale in the oven, but its time for a different approach.

  16. S. Carter

    Kale sauteed with garlic and toasted pine nuts is one of my favorites for a quick side dish or snack. Leftovers are great to reheat in the toaster oven as the kale gets crispy.

    I also like to put kale into an omelet or frittata with shitake mushrooms.

  17. Eileen Vollmer @ eileenvollmer.com

    Pine nuts and a little raisins, yum!

  18. I was actually surprised to realize how much I like kale when I first tried it; very tasty isn’t it? Thanks for the mention!

  19. I really like beets! I think beets would make a great match with Kale. I’m going to try your recepie with beets soon :)

  20. Melissa

    I am, and have been for months, completely obsessed with kale! I could honestly eat it everyday. I buy 1-2 large bunches of organic kale per week, and devour it mostly on my own! My fiance calls me “the Kale Queen.” :) My favorite ways to prepare it are: dehydrated with olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and nutritional yeast (kale chips), baked in the oven (with the same ingredients as the dehydrated kale), sauteed with garlic, coconut oil, and sea salt, and also sauteed and topped with dried cranberries and toasted pine nuts (thanks for the idea, Elana!) It truly is a super-food, is so good for you, is versatile, and tastes great!

  21. audrey

    Love Kale…a dash of sherry vinegar at the end is great!

  22. Brooke

    I love kale too! I eat it several times a week…one of my favorite ways to top sauteed kale is with toasted pumpkin seeds. It adds a great crunch!

  23. Sarah

    I think me and my fiancee (who’s name happens to be Kael, pronounced the same way, I really can’t get enough :) eat sauteed kale at least four times a week for breakfast.
    He loves it with red bell peppers and onions, but my favorite is with balsamic vinegar

  24. Maria

    Kale is my favorite leafy green. I sautee onions and garlic (sliced thinly) in olive oil, add kale (cut into strips) along with 1/2 – 1 cup of vegetable broth. I turn the heat to high, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. I add toasted pine nuts, a splash of red wine vinegar, and celtic sea salt. Yum! I also sometimes add sliced mushrooms in the first step and some red pepper flakes in the last step.

  25. ann

    cayenne, nutmeg, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds. shallots and mushrooms. We LOVE kale here too. My kids gobble it right up. I put kale in the homemade pizza sauce last night.

    One of our fave kale dishes is a rustic kale tart. I love to put kefir cheese and parmesan on the bottom, kale (mixed with mushrooms/onions/and the what-nots and saute first), sometimes sausage or ground beef. Top with more parmesan and bake until golden. Delicious and wonderful leftovers if there are any.

  26. Chrysann Rudig @ abundanceskincare.com

    In Michael Ciarello’s new cookbook, Bottega, he shares a recipe for 5-Onion Cavalo Nero, and recommends using lacinato kale for the “black cabbage.” It is divine! The recipe makes an enormous batch, but it’s delicious to eat at room temperature, or even cold as a salad. I enjoyed it for days after it was served.

  27. Lynn Krukowski

    Wow, so many ideas! I do the steamed with nutmeg too or cut fine, raw as a salad and no one in this house will eat it but me. Guess I will try these great suggestions next – thanks

  28. Katie

    I make pretty much the same recipe (including the occasional carrot for color) but I like to add a lightly crushed garlic clove in the beginning, and a splash of vinegar at the end. I love using red onion, and then the splash of vinegar turns them bright pink, with the green that is very pretty too.

  29. Caroline Bull

    My girlfriend and I do this, but we use a little bacon instead of the olive oil.

  30. Nicole

    My family makes a sauteed kale dish that’s similar, but we normally add bacon (usually turkey) at the beginning, and then add a diced apple when the onions are about halfway done. Then we usually only saute the kale for 1-2 minutes at the end, and we add some balsamic vinegar for some tang, too.

    This version also looks delicious!

  31. I like adding garlic and mushrooms, and sometimes collard greens as well! I love greens, sometimes the simpler the better!

  32. I’m going to make this tonight. I have kale in my fridge and it will go great with the salmon I am already making. Thanks for the idea!

  33. This sounds good! I’ve never tried kale yet but I know its supposed to be so good for you. Definitely going to try this recipe! Thanks Elana!

  34. I too love kale! Well, any green leafy veggie, actually. Husband will eat kale chips, but that’s about it. Tis is similar to how I cook mine. So easy and yum!

  35. Meg

    101 Cookbook’s Raw Tuscan Kale Salad http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/raw-tuscan-kale-salad-recipe.html is awesome, it’s like a really good Caesar salad. I actually use your Cranberry Almond bread to make the crispy croutons for this recipe.. deeelish!

  36. Lisa Torres

    I love KALE..especially with you smoked paprika fish recipe!! FAVORITE..
    I am soo excited. I just got Suzanne Somers Sexy Forever Book…and
    ELANA you are the first on the list for recommended reading list..albeit your last name helps BUT STILL..THATS HUGE!!…
    WHOO HOO!!! congrats.. Love Suzanne..she is the inspiration that started me to healthy eating journey that started over 15 years ago. All her info keeps helping me to heal my body and I finally have some answers now that I have FINALLY been diagnosed with Celiac and have a corn allergy….Opps sorry know this was about Kale..was just SOO EXCITED!!!
    Lisa T

  37. I like it with garlic, onion, sea salt, and crushed red pepper. However, my favorite way of eating kale is in a raw marinated salad. Chop kale finely or chiffonade, and massage with sea salt til it becomes a little more tender, a few minutes. Separately, whisk a minced clove of garlic, and a half and half mix of EVOO and lemon juice. Pour over kale, toss, and let it sit for a while. Even better the next day. Right before serving, add whatever raw chopped veggies you’d like … I especially like tomatoes and cukes, and some homegrown mung bean sprouts.

  38. Deborah Howard

    I love this recipe for kale We love kale in our house too. I also add chunks of fresh garlic or sometimes I put a few cloves through a garlic press and then add it. Dorie Greenspan recommends taking out the germ of the garlic clove and says that takes away any bitterness from the garlic. I’ve just started trying that & no verdict yet. Since I’m the garlic lover in my home, I thought it might make it a bit milder for everyone else

  39. Karen R

    This is exactly how we most often make kale! Sometimes I add a few tomatoes and some garlic to the mix.

  40. debra

    I saute my kale with garlic, sea salt and a splash of lemon juice. I love it this way – the lemon juice especially makes the dish.

  41. This is exactly what I’ll be doing with the kale sitting in my refrigerator now, thanks for the recipe!

  42. kelly

    Comfort food. I add hot red pepper flakes at the end.

  43. carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com @ gingerlemongirl.com

    Thank you so much for the link love Elana! We absolutely LOVE kale at our house, mostly because of you!! :-) After your McKale post, I started making it pretty often! We’ve had it this week actually! I love to quick saute it and then serve an egg sunny-side up over it!! Yum!

  44. Joey

    Hail Hail, the Greatness of Kale! Hubby tries to grow it here in the southwest, but it hates the heat, so he’s going to plant it in the fall and over winter it, then harvest it when it matures through out the winter and spring. Growing Kale isn’t easy over here! We put it in our green smoothies. My favorite way to eat it is to steam or saute it, I don’t much care for it raw. Love the recipe.

  45. Yum! I love making crunchy kale chips, but haven’t actually ever tried it cooked like this….looks like a delicious, healthy side dish :)
    Will be making an appearance on my plate soon I think!

  46. Karen@Cook4Seasons @ cook4seasons.com

    Life’s simple pleasures – my favorite! I also use sesame oil and ginger…there are so many fabulous combos.
    Happy New Year!

  47. Jennifer

    I sautee mine in a little toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Add some pickled ginger slices and juice and a little braggs! Yummy.

  48. Anna@Tallgrasskitchen @ tallgrasskitchen.com

    Mmmmmm….we like it with a little garlic and a sprinkle of vinegar. I sometimes add sriracha.

  49. Jeanne

    My favorite kale saute with olive oil, garlic, tamari, sesame oil, and a dash of fish sauce. The trick here is to chop the kale very fine,, almost shredded, and it’s sooo good.

  50. Maureen

    I steam briefly – drain – add apple cider vinegar with honey to taste.

    I also steam as above – add Asian dressing with ginger.

    The original way I was introduced to it from a chef was to steam – drain and add sweet rice cooking wine.

  51. Littlelambi

    I love kale too-but mostly the lacinato kind. The curly kind, not so much. I usually saute them with oil, garlic, onions, salt and pepper too. I am glad to see the addition of slivers of carrots. I never thought of that! Thanks for your website and all you do.

  52. Maria

    I really like it sauteed with just a bit of olive oil and some garlic. However, I’m the only one in my family who’s willing to eat it at all. You’re very fortunate to have a family that likes it so much.

    A little story about kale: in early November, I’m at a chain restaurant with my son, my sister and her daughter. After I’m done eating my very-healthy omelet of eggs and veggies, I start munching on the kale that was left on the side of my plate as a garnish. The waitress walks up and says, “Do you know that that’s kale?” I said ‘yes, I know,’ and she exclaims, “Boy, I’ve never seen anyone eat the kale before! You must be a healthy eater.” My sister then chimes in very sarcastically, “Yes, she is….” (My sis, who’s normally a fairly healthy eater herself, tried kale once and pronounced it too bitter and refuses to try it again.) She then added, “Garnish is all it’s good for.” Good grief.

  53. The Therapist in the Kitchen @ therapistinthekitchen.wordpress.com

    This is one of my favorite foods. We grow a bunch of it in the summer and freeze it for the winter.

  54. Ooo kale recipes! Thanks so much for sharing. I bought kale to make kale chips when I saw Giada DeLaurentis make them on her show. I’ve added it into my soups, but it’s nice to see some other ways to use it, too.

  55. Nancy Burns-Fusaro @ facebook.com/nancy.burnsfusaro

    Yum! We love sauteed kale and sometimes add linguica and kidney beans — like a Portuguese Soup — or add it to a big pot with plenty of crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, linguica and beans for a real Portuguese kale Soup. My husband makes a similar sautee with Broccoli Rabe and lots of garlic and crushed red pepper that we eat at least twice a week. He adds Italian sausage sometimes!

  56. Amy T.

    onions and a little garlic

  57. Lois Scarbrough @ bountifulspinweave.com

    First, I was thrilled to find your website. I was searching for help with Bette Hagman’s bread recipes at high altitude when I came across your website. I have multiple food intolerances including wheat and SUGARS except for AGAVE. So your recipes are perfect for me.
    I just ordered my Almond Flour. I can not wait to make some of your yummy recipes.
    We love sauteed Kale. I make it the same except use garlic. Can’t wait to try it your way with onions.
    Our favorite veggie combination is one we put over gluten free pasta drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    I saute all the vegetables separately in olive oil and salt each to taste.
    1 Zucchini and 1 Yellow Squash chopped, 1 Red Bell Pepper and 3/4 Green Bell Pepper, 1 large Sweet Yellow Onion with lots of dried cilantro (don’t carmelize for this recipe), 2 large Portobella Mushrooms chopped. Then I mix the sauteed vegetables in the skillet with sliced Kalamata Olives, lots of chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes, lots of chopped Walnuts and fresh Cilantro leaves. I heat it all back up, squeeze 1/2 a lime over it and serve over GF pasta with Extra Virgin Olive Oil drizzled on it and top with fresh grated parmesean cheese. ( If desired, good balsamic vinegar is a good addition at the table.) (I have tried adding other veggies to this mix such as brocolli and carrots, but they do not combine well in this recipe. It is also not as good over rice…best on PASTA.) This makes enough for the two of us to have 3 times.

  58. anita parks

    My favorite veggie saute?

    14-16 Brusssel sprouts
    1 cup mushrooms
    1-2 cloves garlic
    seal salt to taste
    1/4 c almonds

    Saute brussel sprouts until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and garlic saute a few minutes more, until mushrooms soften and start to glaze. Take off the heat and add salt. Toss with toasted almonds.

  59. Georgia Pellegrini @ georgiapellegrini.com

    sauteed kale in olive oil…simply fresh and delicious

  60. Amy

    I love yellow squash and onions….My Fav!

  61. Charlottegrainfree!

    Hi Elana!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and have just received my first shipment of almond flour and coconut flour…looking forward to trying out some recipes.

    Just saw your kale recipe and thought i’d add my 10 cents! It is really nice with toasted almonds too. I just had chorizo, toasted blanched whole almonds and sauteed kale. Really yummy!

    Thanks for all your work, made my life so much easier.


  62. nora stone

    All Hail Kale!! Kale is scrumptious, for sure, and I love to add a splash of carrot and ginger for color and zing, along with onions, garlic, sea salt, marjoram and nutmeg!

  63. Laurel

    My favorite stir fry is very thin slices of beef or duck, red curry sauce, garlic, ginger, cabbage, snow peas, small hot red peppers, salt and pepper with the veg cooked just enough to still have a nice crunch. Oh my, I think I have to go shopping now! Thanks for the give away I never did figure out who won the other. I guess I just wasn’t looking in the right place?

  64. I think this is the most beautiful sauteed kale I’ve ever laid eyes on! Will definitely be making this tonight, thanks Elana!


  65. Rosie Turner

    I love to add a little garlic, salt and pepper with a few drops of habanero sauce to broccoli, snap peas, carots and zuchinni.. Yummm.

  66. We grow Tuscan and Russian Kales (and collards, broccoli, & Brussels sprouts). We love them all! I usually cook kale with chili flakes and lots of garlic. Yum! I also freeze cooked kale in serving sizes for the winter, when we especially enjoy it.

  67. Angela

    I love love love kale and cooking it in coconut oil makes it amazing! Also… I’ve added toasted sesame seeds and garlic.

  68. Maureen

    The first time I tried Kale I sauteed it with garlic, onion, and red pepper. It was delicious.

  69. Ann Marie Doverspike

    I always add roasted red peppers to the kale and garlic. The colors are so appetizing! I also add chicken broth and let the kale simmer to reduce the bitterness that Kale sometimes has.

  70. Emily Littlefield @ emilyspowerfoodsliving

    Kale has become such a popular leafy green veggie as the word has gotten out about how good it is for you — however, I am still struggling to perfect a cooked kale dish. This one looks great! It looks simple & exactly what I am looking for. I cannot wait to try it! Thank you for this recipe!

  71. I have sauteed ribbon-sliced kale with thinly sliced fennel bulb and small diced red & yellow pepper and herbs de provence, pink himalayan salt & fresh pepper. I used coconut or olive oil, sauteed a few minutes, then steamed a couple minutes until softer….it was great! Served in a white bowl, the colors looked amazing.

  72. kimberly

    I also love kale. Another version i like is to add a small amount of white balsamic vinegar to the garlic and onions while sauteing.

  73. Razzia

    I roast sesame seed, pumpkin seed, and unsweetened coconut in a pan and use it as a topping for sauteed kale or swiss chard. I don’t have any food sensitivities but I love your website and recipes! Thank you so much for sharing your love of health and family with us Elana.

  74. Dawn

    Kale sautéed with about (2 T) unrefined organic coconut oil over a low heat, with freshly finely chopped garlic, toss the kale and garlic to evenly spread the coconut oil.

    Just before the kale shrinks down in size entirely, add avocado pieces and sea salt or pepper to taste. Using a spatula press down on the avocado, until well mixed into kale. Serve immediately.

    I adapted another recipe from Elana using kale, avocado and Caesar salad dressing. I had the kale and avocado and just tweaked her recipe idea. I loved it so much I will plan to make as permanent recipe for a side dish!!

    Thanks Elana

  75. Kelly

    I prepared this with toasted slivered almonds. It was delicious, and one of the few dishes I made that my parents have actually truly enjoyed!

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