Sauteed kale with butter and garlic is wonderful as a side dish, or you can top it with a couple of fried eggs for a quick, filling lunch.
Not everyone likes kale. Unlike tender spinach leaves, which can taste great - almost sweet - kale has a coarse texture and a slightly bitter flavor. It really does need a little help to make it more palatable.
This recipe is most definitely an excellent way to do that! The kale is cooked in garlic-infused butter until just tender, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. It's very easy and so tasty!
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make sauteed kale. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Butter: It greatly enhances the flavor of the kale and helps mask its bitterness. You can also use olive oil if you wish, but I really think it tastes best when cooked in butter.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Mincing it yourself is probably fresher and tastier, but if you're lazy like I am, we both know you're going to reach for that jar. 😂
Chopped kale: You can chop it yourself, or do the lazy thing and get it bagged and pre-washed.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should probably reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Fresh lemon juice: You can also use a bit of vinegar instead - red wine vinegar is good, and so is white wine vinegar.
How to saute kale
Quickly sauteing in butter and garlic is one of the best ways of preparing this vegetable. It's very tasty, and it keeps the kale fresh and bright green. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by briefly cooking garlic in some butter. Then add the kale - you'll need to add it in batches, as shown in the video below.
Cook the kale until it just starts to wilt. Then add salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Stir and serve. You don't want to overcook it.
How to serve sauteed kale
Sometimes I just top this dish with a couple of fried eggs and call it lunch - it's quick, tasty, and very filling.
What about leftovers?
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. They keep pretty well, although they won't be as good as when freshly made. Reheat the leftovers gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
Variations and substitutions
Here are a few ideas for you to vary the basic recipe:
- As mentioned above, you can use olive oil instead of butter.
- Use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice.
- When the dish is done, off heat, sprinkle it with grated parmesan.
- Sprinkle the finished dish with bacon bits.
More tasty kale recipes
While we're on the subject of making kale more palatable, sauteed kale isn't the only way! I have several more tasty recipes for you to try.
These tasty kale fritters are an excellent way to do that! I also love kale chips - they turn this vegetable into a tasty snack. And this ground beef kale casserole is easy to make, delicious, and very filling.
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- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 8 oz kale leaves
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the kale in batches, as shown in the video below.
- Stir-fry until the kale is tender and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Serve immediately.