Cooking Kale

Cooking kale is not difficult, but it does take more time than cooking other greens like spinach. This is because kale leaves are fibrous and tough.

Kale is a member of the same Brassica (cruciferous) genus that contains cabbages, and grows in several different varieties.  Some species have a curly leaf and others a flat leaf.  Raw kale is also a good source for vitamins A and K, manganese, B6, folate and vitamin C.  It is a cool weather crop, and can withstand winter temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the best and easiest ways to make a low-carb kale dish is to saute it in bacon grease with bits of bacon, garlic and onions. The recipe below shows you how to get a great result.

Preparing the Kale

First, the kale has to be prepared for cooking:

Take a bunch of kale, and wash the leaves thoroughly to remove bugs and dirt. Some species of kale leaves are very crinkly and curly and they do a good job of hiding critters, so this step is important if you don't enjoy bugs in your food.

Shake or pat the leaves dry. Using a paring knife, cut the woody stem out of each kale leaf. These are just too tough to cook and eat. Take the remaining leaf parts and rip them into smaller pieces.  Give them once more rinse and a shake, and we're ready to cook. 

Kale with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

  • 1 large bunch of kale leaves
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or 5-6 slices raw bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter 


  1. Start a large skillet with butter and bacon grease (or the raw bacon, cut into small pieces).
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute for several minutes or until the onions have softened and the bacon has begun to cook.
  3. Add the kale leaves.
  4. Saute on medium heat, stirring occasionally, and making sure you turn over the leaves up from the bottom so that the top leaves also make contact with the hot skillet, as the whole pile cooks down. This also mixes in the bacon and onions.
  5. Cook the kale until the leaves are softened to your liking. This may take up to an hour, depending on heat and desired level of chewiness.  

Here's a recipe for kale chips, which is my favorite way to enjoy kale.

Here's another way to include raw kale in your diet: "green smoothies".  Add raw kale to any low carb smoothie recipe, process in a powerful blender until smooth.  You may have heard that raw kale is high in oxalates, but this is incorrect.  It does have small amounts but spinach has much, much more.  Kale does however, contain goitrogens, substances that plants in the Brassica genus of plants contain which can affect your thyroid function.

More on Cooking Kale

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