Make this sauteed kale with garlic for a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. Raw kale becomes tender and soft when sauteed on the stovetop with olive oil, garlic, and shallot. Ready to serve with dinner in 10 minutes or less!

saute pan with sauteed kale and a wooden mixing spoon

As a Registered Dietitian, I’m no stranger to kale recipes.

From kale salads, to kale pasta dishes, to kale smoothies, I’ve got a whole collection of kale recipes to make this green vegetable taste delicious.

This sauteed kale (or stir fried kale) is perhaps the simplest way to prepare kale, but it’s one of my absolute favorites that I make over and over again.

Tough raw kale becomes soft and tender when sauteed in olive oil on the stovetop.

The addition of sliced garlic, shallots, and lemon juice add fragrance and flavor, not unlike my braised kale.

Ready in 10 minutes or less, you can pair this versatile healthy side dish with any entree, like salmon, shrimp, cod, or burgers.

Sauteed kale is vegan, gluten free, nut free, and dairy free. This recipe serves 2-3 people as a side dish.

sauteed kale ingredients

Ingredients

Everything you need to make garlic sauteed kale:

  • Kale: You can use curly kale or lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale for this recipe. Before you start cooking, head over to this post for a quick read on how to prep kale for cooking.
  • Olive oil: Sauteing food requires you to heat your pan to medium-high heat. Regular olive oil is best for sauteing, because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic: Sliced garlic, as opposed to minced, is easier to caramelize when sauteing and is less likely to burn over medium-high heat. The slices of garlic get golden brown and are absolutely delicious in this recipe.
  • Shallot: Sliced shallots contribute mild oniony flavor to this dish. If you don’t have shallots, you can use white onion instead.
  • Salt: Plenty of salt makes this dish taste flavorful and not bland.
  • Red pepper flakes: A shake of red pepper flakes adds just a touch of heat. Add more if you like it spicy!
  • Vegetable broth: To ensure the kale cooks down enough, you’ll add a splash of vegetable broth so it steams a little bit. If you don’t have vegetable broth, just use water.
  • Lemon juice: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the sauteed kale for brightness and freshness.

Kitchen equipment needed

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife, 6 or 8 inch
  • Large stainless steel saute pan or frying pan, 12 inches
  • Wooden mixing spoon
  • Measuring cups

Step-by-step instructions

Cooked sliced shallots and garlic in a saute pan
1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Cook the sliced garlic and shallots until they are soft and golden brown.
pan with sauteed shallots and garlic
2. Pour in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, using your mixing spoon to scrape up any browned bits.
kale being sauteed in a saute pan
3. Add the kale, salt, and red pepper flakes, and stir it up with the cooked garlic and shallots. It may look like a lot of kale, but it will cook down significantly.
sauteed kale in a saute pan
4. Continue to cook the kale until it is wilted down and fork tender. Squeeze lemon juice over the cooked kale and stir it up.

Storage

Store leftover sauteed kale in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute, until warmed through.

Serving suggestions

A versatile healthy side dish, you can pair sauteed kale with just about anything! Here are some entrees from the blog you may enjoy with this kale:

If you’d like to add even more flavor, add a drizzle of homemade balsamic glaze sauce!

bowl with sauteed kale surrounded by ingredients

Kale nutrition benefits

Kale is a nutrition powerhouse! It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

One cup of raw kale provides:

  • 2.8 grams of dietary fiber (10% of your daily needs)
  • 2 grams of plant-based protein
  • 170 mg calcium (13% of your daily needs)
  • 1.1 mg iron (6% of your daily needs)
  • 161.47 mcg Vitamin A (18% of your daily needs)
  • 62.6 mg Vitamin C (134% of your daily needs)
  • 261.3 mcg Vitamin K (218% of your daily needs)
  • 0.616 mg manganese (27% of your daily needs)

In addition to these nutrients, kale is rich in different beneficial plant compounds, including antioxidants and glucosinolates.

These plant compounds can help reduce inflammation and prevent certain diseases.

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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saute pan with sauteed kale and a wooden mixing spoon

Quick & Easy Garlicky Sauteed Kale (Healthy Side Dish)

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: saute
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Make this sauteed kale with garlic for a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. Raw kale becomes tender and soft when sauteed on the stovetop with olive oil, garlic, and shallot. Ready to serve with dinner in 10 minutes or less!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 6 cups curly kale leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, halved


Instructions

  1. In a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and shallots, cooking for about 1 minute until fragrant, stirring regularly.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth into the pan and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the kale, Kosher salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring to mix the kale in with the garlic and shallots.
  5. Continue to cook the kale, stirring regularly, for 3-5 minutes, until it has wilted down significantly and is fork tender.
  6. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then serve warm.

Notes

Storage

Store leftover sauteed kale in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute, until warmed through.