How Do I Season Kale?

by Andrea Cespedes

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that shares genes with other vitamin and mineral rich veggies such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Kale has an earthier flavor and tougher texture than many other leafy greens, such as spinach and romaine. Some kale runs bitter, while other varieties taste decidedly green and healthy. Kale does best with minimal, simple seasoning that lets its natural flavors shine.

Season classic sauteed kale with garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and sherry vinegar. Saute the garlic in olive oil, add a generous amount of washed kale leaves and cook over medium heat until they turn bright green. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in a splash of sherry vinegar before serving.

Add freshly washed kale leaves to sauteed diced onion and bacon for a meaty seasoning. Add water to cover and slow cook for 10 minutes for a stewed kale dish that is a perfect match for many southern dishes.

Slow simmer kale seasoned with ham, onions and garlic for a substantial side dish that goes well with corn bread. Saute garlic and sliced onion in olive oil. Add a few ham hocks and brown both sides thoroughly. Add washed kale leaves and top with chicken or vegetable broth, a small amount of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Stew for 45 minutes for meltingly soft leaves in a rich, salty sauce.

Spread kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet to make kale chips. Spritz with olive oil and season with a bit of sea salt. Bake in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20 minutes and sprinkle with nutritional yeast when they come out for a cheesy, vegetarian seasoning.

Items you will need

  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Skillet
  • Onions
  • Bacon or ham
  • Nutritional yeast


  • Remove the leaves from the thick ribs before cooking. The ribs can be bitter and hard to chew. Rinse kale in fresh water several times before cooking. The curly leaves tend to hold on to sand and dirt that does not make for good seasoning.


  • When making crisp baked kale chips, check the leaves often. They can go from pleasant crispness to burned bits in a matter of minutes.

About the Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.

Photo Credits

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