This easy sautéed kale recipe is healthy, delicious, and versatile. Serve it as a side dish, or add it to grain bowls, pastas, frittatas, and more!
If you’ve never cooked sautéed kale before, now’s the time to try it! It’s a versatile side dish, just as at home alongside a bowl of soup as it is next to a pile of pasta, but it’s also a fantastic cooking component. My recipe calls for 6 ingredients (3 of which are olive oil, salt, and pepper), and it cooks up in under 5 minutes. Because it’s so simple, it’s one of my go-to additions to clear-out-the-fridge frittatas, quick weeknight pastas, improvised grain bowls, and more. As an added bonus, it’s jam-packed with nutrients, and it tastes delicious. Kale may not be as cool as it was 5 years ago, but this sautéed kale recipe will always be a mainstay in my kitchen.
Sautéed Kale Recipe Ingredients
We’ll use 6 simple ingredients in this easy sautéed kale recipe:
- Kale! I love tender lacinato kale, but another variety, such as curly kale, will work here too. Before you cook it, wash and dry the kale and remove any tough stems. Then, tear or chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds rich flavor and helps the kale soften as it cooks.
- Garlic – It amps up the flavor in this simple dish.
- Lemon juice – It makes the hearty kale nice and bright.
- And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, salt, and pepper, and cook, tossing, until the kale wilts. Remove from the heat, and squeeze a little lemon juice over the kale. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
That’s it! Change up the seasoning by sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes or everything bagel seasoning over the cooked kale. Enjoy!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Sautéed Kale Serving Suggestions
On its own, this sautéed kale recipe is a healthy, delicious side dish that pairs well with nearly any protein, pasta, or soup. However, it’s also a versatile cooking component! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it:
- In a frittata. Make a very-veggie frittata with sautéed kale and whatever other vegetables or herbs you like. It’s yummy in these mini frittata muffins too!
- In pasta. Toss it with your favorite noodles, marinara sauce, and Parmesan or vegan Parmesan cheese. You could also stir it into pesto pasta or spaghetti aglio e olio. Not in the mood for pasta? It’s delicious with spaghetti squash and sweet potato noodles too!
- In a grain bowl. Add it to this buddha bowl or this veggie bowl, or make your own bowl with the sautéed kale, a grain like quinoa, farro, or brown rice, and a protein like baked tofu, tempeh, lentils, or roasted chickpeas. Top it off with a flavorful sauce like tahini sauce, peanut sauce, chipotle sauce, or cilantro lime dressing.
- In tacos or quesadillas. Give a green boost to vegetarian tacos or quesadillas by tucking in a few leaves of sautéed kale.
- On pizza. Trust me, it’s delicious!
How do you like to use sautéed kale? Let me know in the comments!
More Favorite Kale Recipes
Love kale? Try one of these delicious recipes next:
- Kale Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Kale
- Roasted Delicata Squash with Apples and Sage
- Many-Veggie Vegetable Soup
- Wild Rice Soup
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Best Vegetarian Lasagna
- 1 bunch kale, lacinato or curly kale
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Lemon wedge
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the coarse parts of the kale stems and chop or tear the leaves.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the kale, garlic, pinches of salt, and several grinds of pepper. Sauté for 2 to 4 minutes, tossing (I like to use tongs for this), until the kale has wilted down.
- Turn off the heat, squeeze a little lemon juice over the kale, and toss. Season to taste and serve.