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Quick and Easy Sautéed Kale with Lemon and Sesame

Updated on July 15, 2012

Cook Time

Prep time: 4 min
Cook time: 8 min
Ready in: 12 min
Yields: Serves 4 as a side dish

Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. It's high anti-oxidant content is believed to be important to preventing certain types of cancer. It's highly anti-inflammatory. It's an excellent source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. It's no wonder that this dark green member of the cabbage family is considered a superfood.

Most importantly, it can be made to taste good, too, as this recipe demonstrates. Sauteed in garlic, lemon, and sesame, it makes for a fantastic and healthy side dish.


  • 1 head kale, chopped and stems trimmed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Allow the oil to get hot before beginning your sauté.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add the Kale, sesame seeds, and a generous pinch of salt and sautee for 6 minutes. Occasionally move and turn the kale to prevent burning.
  5. Add the lemon juice and sautee for 2 more minutes or until kale is al dente.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. You must be patient and the pan get hot before adding the oil. Then let the oil get hot (but don't let it smoke! That's burning oil.) before you add the garlic. The trick to a good sautee is to add the food to a hot cooking surface. Otherwise, you won't be able to get a crispy texture to your kale. Your patience will be rewarded with a crisper texture rather than a plate full of mushy greens.
  2. Unlike a traditional sautee, you do need to move the kale around the pan a bit more to avoid scorching the leaves. A little brown is ok, but you don't want black.
  3. The thick center stem on the kale can be quite tough and woody. It will take WAY longer to soften than the leaves. As such, I trim a generous portion of stem from the bottom of each leaf (all the way to where the leafy part begins). Depending on how thick the center stem is on each leaf, I even sometimes go so far as to trim leaf from the stem and throw away more stem.
  4. Do not use olive oil. If you can't get sesame oil, canola oil is a great substitute. At medium-high heat, the temperature of the pan will exceed the smoking point of olive oil. Thus, you must use oils like canola or sesame that have higher smoke points. Things do not taste as good when they are cooked in burning oil.

Tried this Recipe? Rate it.

4.2 stars from 6 ratings of Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Sesame


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    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Wow your photo is amazing and so appetizing! I'm going out and buying kale tomorrow to try out your recipe. I've been looking for a recipe since the only one I know is "cado verde", a Portuguese kale soup but would love to try sauteed kale. Thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      This is new to me and sounds really good! I am definitely going to try it, thanks!

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the comment, Simone. You really should eat more Kale--especially since you're a vegetarian. It's a good source of protein. Plus, it's at the top of the Superfood list. One of the best foods that you can consume for your immune system!

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Yes, bythewhat, I think it tastes great and my partner and I end up eating kale this way once or twice a week. Try the recipe and let me know what you think.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Another mouthwatering recipe! I almost never eat kale, but really ought to play around with it more. Thanks for reminding me to start experimenting!

    • bythewhat profile image

      bythewhat 5 years ago from USA

      This looks great! does it really taste good? I'm excited to try it.