Simple Sauteed Kale with Garlic

hearty, healthy, delicious

Plated kale with garlic <3

I thought I should start to balance out the rather rich and heavy posts we’ve had thus far– OREO CHEESECAKE COOKIES?!– with something a little healthier. There are many recipes online for sautéed kale, but I didn’t really look at them other than giving a quick glance. One day, my boyfriend and I decided to try cooking our kale the way we’d cook most other Chinese greens like bok choy or chinese broccoli.

Until that point, the only way I’d ever eaten kale was either baked into chips (super tasty), or raw with an amazing nutty (without nuts) garlic dressing massaged into it– mimicking a popular item at the Whole Foods salad bad. Which by the way, is ridiculously overpriced– I only tried it once when my friend bought it!

Anyway, I’m officially in love with this dish. It takes like 10 minutes to do, and it tastes amazing.

First, chop a bit of garlic up. Or a lot. We used one large mutant clove, and one normal clove— so maybe 3 normal ones?

shiny cleaver! no chinese kitchen is a chinese kitchen without it!

making my boyfriend chop the garlic (and basically do all the work) because I decided to “record” and “direct”.

Kale has a thick woody rib that I imagine would be difficult to digest (extra fiber, anyone?) so rip the leaves off of the main rib, and tear into smaller pieces. If you feel extra industrious, which we didn’t, you could give it a rough chop. This will cook down almost as much as spinach, so it isn’t necessary. Sorry for some of my blurry photos, I was getting used to a new lens.

rip rip rip

Then, wash and dry it off in a salad spinner. This step isn’t completely necessary, because a little moisture is fine and actually quite welcome.

All the ingredients, set & ready to go! Yeah I know, there are only two so far.

Heat up some olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat, throw in the garlic to infuse it a bit.

one of my favorite things in the world, the moment where garlic and oil meet in the pan!

After you can smell the garlic sizzling a bit in the pan, hit the pan with the kale. LOTS of kale. Let it sit for a bit, and then pour in a bit of water– just to moisten it up! Raise the heat to high.

Cover the pan for a bit. Let it all hang out and mingle. Then open it up, add some soy sauce. Stir it around.

Then my favorite…SESAME OIL. Just a touch. A little goes a long way.

A bit of salt is optional, since soy sauce is usually pretty salty already.

Let the water evaporate a bit, so your kale is just cooked in a slight pool of sauce.

Plate, and EAT.

my boyfriend is a ninja so his hands are BLURRR...yes, my photography skills that are not the problem

Perhaps enjoy it by a hazy window on a sunny afternoon.

blur again..ugh

I love kale. Now that I’ve found such an easy way to cook it, I’m eating it all the time! Cooked with this method, the kale is tender and yet still very hardy and strong. It has notes that are akin to cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts or cabbage– my favorites to eat in the fall!

I just bought an extra huge bunch of it at Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, which is only a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Iovine Brother’s Produce stand is housed in the market, and they are awesome. They always have really fresh greens and pretty good prices too!

Here’s a condensed recipe:


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of water, it should cook out
  • 2-4 tablespoons of soy sauce, depending how much you like it
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil (this is being generous)
  • Salt, just a pinch
  • Maybe pepper
  1. Mince the garlic and tear leaves from the woody ribs of the kale. Rip them into smaller more manageable pieces.
  2. Wash the kale and dry. Use a salad spinner if you have one, to save time. It’s okay to leave them damp though! You will just add less water later.
  3. Heat up olive oil in the pan at medium-high heat. Throw the garlic in the pan and let it sizzle a bit till you can smell the gloriousness wafting up.
  4. Add kale into the pan, don’t worry if it is overflowing a bit, it’ll all cook down.
  5. Pour in a little water and raise the heat to high. Cover it with a lid and let it hang out for a minute or so.
  6. Open it up and add some soy sauce and the sesame oil. Stir it around to make sure the flavors are evenly distributed.
  7. Add some more salt if you deem it necessary. Maybe pepper too. We were too lazy to get ours out.
  8. Cook until all the kale is nicely wilted, and the sauce has been reduced to just a faint pool. You don’t want it too soggy, but if you overcook it, it might be too dry. I like my greens a little wet and saucy.
  9. Plate & Eat!

Other suggestions that might be tasty:

-Add a little vinegar. Not too much, just to get a little acid and bite to the kale. If you find kale bitter, ours never turns out bitter cooked this way– but vinegar might help.

-Add some red pepper flakes to the oil at the same time as the garlic. This will infuse the oil with a bit of heat and give your kale a  kick!


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