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Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Onions

4.69 from 16 votes

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Simple Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Onions – a flavorful and healthy side dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and fancy enough for your holiday table.

White bowl of kale with garlic and onions, with pink napkin beside bowl and metal tongs in background

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How do you feel about greens? It seems that people either love them or hate them. This is the best cooked kale recipe, and it’s tasty enough to even please those leafy green haters.

Raw kale can be a bit on the bitter side. One way to reduce the bitterness is by massaging the kale. But another way is to cook it. Cooking the kale softens the tough fibers and sweetens it.

Is sauteed kale healthy?

Kale is a nutrient powerhouse! It’s high in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and powerful antioxidants. Consumption of kale is great for digestive health, liver health, cardiovascular support, protection against cancer, and more.

Here’s a great article on the top health benefits of kale.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, says that leafy greens are so important for cardiovascular health, we should eat them six times a day. These leafy greens produce nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, helping blood to flow more freely through arteries.

Learn more about nitric oxide foods in this amazing article by HumanN.

Sounds like we should definitely be adding more of these veggies to our daily diet! And this oil free fried kale is a delicious way to get them.

Closeup shot of kale, garlic & onions in a white bowl


  • Kale – curly kale, Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato Kale or dino kale), or red kale. I used curly kale in this recipe.
  • Onion – I used yellow onion, but red or white would also work. Or you could use shallots
  • Garlic – I love garlic! The more, the better!
  • Veggie broth
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red wine vinegar – use your favorite vinegar. In place of red wine vinegar you could use balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or any other that you prefer.
  • Maple syrup (optional)


This recipe couldn’t be easier! Within minutes you can transform that bunch of kale into a delicious side dish.

Step 1: Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. For ease, you can use bagged, pre-chopped kale. Dice the onion, and slice the garlic cloves.

Step 2: Sauté your diced onions in a deep skillet or large pot. Place the onions in a hot pan and stir them around. As the bottom of the pan begins to brown, add a bit of water to loosen the caramelized bits. Continue to cook and deglaze the pan until the onions have softened. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Step 4: Add the kale and vegetable broth to the pan. Stir around to combine the onions and garlic with the kale. Cover the pan and allow the kale to steam for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the kale is as tender as you desire.

Step 5: Remove the lid and stir in the red wine vinegar, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Immediately remove from the pan to a serving bowl to keep the kale from over cooking.

Serving suggestions for this delicious kale recipe

Mix this kale into some pasta with my Marinara Sauce. Eat it along side a veggie loaf, some tofu steaks, or my Macaroni and Cheese. Or make this a main dish by stirring in some slices of Vegan Italian Sausage. It would also be a tasty addition to a grain and veggie bowl.

How to store leftovers

Leftover sauteed kale can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. It can be reheated by placing in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds.

For more delicious side dishes see:

If you’re looking for even more ideas for a holiday menu, take a look at my roundup of oil free Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.

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Closeup shot of kale, garlic & onions in a white bowl

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onions

Teresa Sklenicka
Simple sauteed kale with garlic and onions – a flavorful and healthy side dish that's easy enough for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough for your holiday table.
4.69 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 32.6 kcal


  • ½ pound kale chopped
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a deep skillet or large pot, saute the onions for about 5 minutes, until they are soft.
  • Add the garlic and saute for another minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Be careful not to burn it.
  • Add the kale and the vegetable broth. Stir the kale, onions, and garlic together until the kale begins to wilt. Cover the pan and allow the kale to steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until the kale is as tender as you like.
  • Stir in the red wine vinegar and maple syrup, and add salt and black pepper to taste.


Calories: 32.6kcalCarbohydrates: 5.4gProtein: 1.9gFat: 0.9gSodium: 110.9mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 2.2gVitamin A: 2761.73IUVitamin C: 54.36mgCalcium: 151.43mgIron: 0.98mg
Keyword Gluten Free, Kale, Oil Free, Side Dish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

By on October 25th, 2020

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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