bowl and fork of sauteed kale

Sautéed Kale with Lemon and Garlic

A quick method for cooking kale in a hot skillet with olive oil and garlic until tender with crispy patches. Finish with a pinch of chili flakes and big squeeze of lemon. 

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 70 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 1 bunch kale (any variety)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pinch Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Strip the leaves of kale from the stems. Save the stems for making veggie stock or discard/compost.

  2. Tear the leaves into a few piece, wash and dry well. Wet kale won't get crispy and will spatter when it hits the pan.

  3. Set a large, heavy (ideally cast iron) pan over high heat. When it's good and hot, add the olive oil and garlic to the pan. Let it sizzle for about 30 seconds, doing your best not to let the garlic brown.

  4. Add as much of the kale as will comfortably fit in the pan (kale hates to be uncomfortable). Add a pinch of salt. Use a pair of tongs to turn the kale in the pan to wilt sightly. After about 30 seconds to a minute, when the kale reduces, add more raw kale and continue until all of the kale is in the pan.

  5. Cook until the kale is tender, with brown patches here and there. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
  6. Transfer to serving dish.