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Simple Sauteed Kale Recipe With an Asian Twist Perfect for a Garlicky Veggie Side Dish
Approximately 80% of kale recipes use the leaves only.
And when I say approximately, that means it is a complete guess.
I hate tossing out kale stems. So, when I use kale leaves only for a recipe, I typically put the stems back in my fridge to hopefully use later in the week. Unfortunately, they may always get used up.
So, what to do with those under-appreciated kale stems?
Cook them with the leaves. This will avoid the potential of losing them in the darkness of your refrigerator crisper drawer.
And the easiest and quickest way to cook a bunch of kale including those stems?
In a hot pan like this quick sauteed kale with garlic and sesame recipe.
Health Benefits of this Sauteed Kale
Kale is a popular “superfood” for its dense nutritional value. According to the Mayo Clinic, kale is packed with vitamins A, K, B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. In fact, it has more vitamin C than any other green. Studies have even shown that it may decrease some forms of cancer.
How Long Does this Sauteed Kale Keep?
This sauteed kale will keep for 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.
Sauteed Kale Ingredients
- Kale – You can use pretty much any type of kale. Curly kale is the most widely available. Redbor (or Red) kale will give you a dark purple / maroon dish instead of green. In any case, look for kale with bright, sturdy, and rigid leaves without wilting. Stay away from bunches with slimy, yellow, brown, or bruised leaves.
- Sesame oil – Toasted sesame oil adds a ton of flavor and nuttiness. I like this one.
- White wine vinegar – In an effort to simplify life and cooking, I use white wine vinegar in most dishes that need a splash of vinegar. Rice vinegar like this one is also a great option here.
- Garlic – When picking garlic, choose a bulb that is heavy and firm with tight skin. It shouldn’t have any soft spots.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin is best. This oil from California Olive Ranch offers the best price, taste, and availability combination. It is what I use every day.
- Tamari – I like tamari over soy sauce because it is made with less ingredients. From a taste standpoint, they are very similar, but tamari is gluten-free. I almost always go with the low-sodium version like this one.
How to Make Sauteed Kale With Garlic
How to Make Sauteed Kale: Video
How to Make Sauteed Kale: Steps
Gather your ingredients. Add tamari, vinegar, and sesame oil to a small bowl. Separate kale leaves from stems. Roughly chop leaves. Thinly slice stems. Finely chop garlic.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add kale stems and cook, tossing a few times throughout, until tender and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes.
Add kale leaves to pan a handful at a time. Cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Add sesame oil, vinegar, soy/tamari mixture and garlic to pan. Cook until kale leaves are soft and tender, about 3 minutes.
Quick Sauteed Kale With Garlic
- 1 bunch kale, leaves and stems separated.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Roughly chop kale leaves and thinly slice the stems. Combine tamari, vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add kale stems. Cook, tossing a few times throughout, until tender and starting to crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Add kale leaves to pan a handful at a time. Cook, tossing a few times throughout, until leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Add sesame oil, vinegar, tamari mixture and garlic to pan. Cook, tossing a few times throughout, until kale leaves are soft and tender, about 3 minutes.
Don’t Toss Out Those Kale Stems
Finally, a reason to keep those kale stems. Now you’re one step closer to becoming a zero waste household. Not to mention a pro at cooking veggies.
You probably noticed that just a few extra and simple steps (adding sesame oil, vinegar, tamari, and garlic) is all it takes to turn a healthy packed veggie into a delicious tasting one.
Let’s be honest, kale on its own probably isn’t topping the list of most exciting foods. But, with these extra tweaks and knowledge, you just transformed it into a super satisfying dish like a pro.
And that’s the goal: minimum effort, maximum flavor, always healthy.