Braised Kale with Garlic & Lemon

Curly Kale

Curly Kale

by Cat, (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Basic Braised Greens (About); more braised greens recipes at Side Dishes menu

Your doctor has probably advised that you eat more dark green leafy vegetables, and braising is a great way to do that (see Basic Braised Greens (About) for details about the health reasons to braise your greens).

You can use just one kind of greens or mix it up. This recipe uses kale, but there are many different varieties of kale; you can use just one, or mix it up. Or add some turnip greens or broccoli florets.

Kale with Garlic & Lemon

It took me a while to warm up to kale, but now it is one of my favorite greens to braise. I especially like lacinato kale, but this original recipe calls for Tuscan or ‘regular’ kale, whatever that is. I save the stems and chop them up to put in my morning smoothie.

This recipe is adapted from Fine (1). The original recipe serves 12! I’ve modified it to serve 2.

The original isn’t really a braise, as the kale is cooked in boiling water before sauteeing with garlic in oil – just the reverse order to a braise. But I prefer the braise method so have modified accordingly. However, if you wish, you may pre-cook the kale by boiling in a pot of salted water about 3 minutes, until almost tender, before adding to the sauteed garlic to braise.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 – 6 leaves kale, depending on size
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large or 3 – 4 small cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tea kettle or saucepan
  • cast iron skillet


  1. Bring some water to a boil in tea kettle or saucepan, then reduce to simmer to keep hot.
  2. Trim leaves of kale from the stem, then cut leaves into 1” strips, crosswise. Peel garlic then slice thinly. Cut a wedge of fresh lemon.
  3. Heat oil and garlic in cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to turn golden, about 6 minutes. Lower heat if garlic starts to scorch.
  4. Add kale, season, and toss in pan to coat with oil. Add just a bit of boiling water (2 Tbsp or so) and stir. Then cover pan and simmer until kale is tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain off remaining water, then squeeze juice from lemon wedge over the kale and serve.


  1. Fine Cooking:

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