Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Olive Oil


This quick and easy sautéed kale with garlic and olive oil gets a slight kick of flavor from red chile flakes.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
6 servings

Sautéed kale is a fantastic, versatile side dish, but can also can be turned into a meal when tossed with cooked pasta, grains, or beans — or served atop toasted bread. This recipe also makes for a tasty vegetarian pizza topping.

Any kind of kale will work here. Choose from your standard curly kale, blue-tinged Lacinto kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale), or red kale (aka Red Russian). With elongated stems and relatively flat, puckered leaves, we like Lacinto kale for its ease of washing and cutting — plus it tends to be more tender than other types. While all varieties offer similar nutritional profiles, red kale is considered to be the sweetest, though this is more apparent in raw preparations.

Don't be alarmed by the seemingly large amount of kale in this recipe; the volume reduces greatly as it cooks. You'll want to remove the thick stems before slicing the leaves, but you certainly needn't toss them out. If you'd like to include the stems here, thinly cut them and add them to the mix. You could also save them for another meal, especially if you stockpile the stems from a few more bunches of greens — they're excellent cut into one-inch pieces and braised with chiles, spices, and of course, garlic.

To further offset the bitterness of the kale, feel free to squeeze in a bit of lemon juice before you cover and steam the greens.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

  • 2 bunches kale, rinsed and dried, ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for 2 minutes, until the garlic just begins to brown.

  2. Add the kale in batches and toss to coat with oil. When all of the kale is added to the pan, cover and steam for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove the lid, season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking for 3 minutes, or until the moisture has mostly evaporated. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Kale With Garlic and Olive Oil
William F. Dickey II
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