Lemony Kale

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This Lemony Kale is possibly one of my most famous recipes ever! It solves two problems: how to make kale delicious and how to eat it more often.

lemony kale

Lemony kale! It has officially swept the Nation and I can’t tell you how much that makes my little kale-loving heart swell. When I learned of the nutritional POWERHOUSE that is kale, I made a deal with myself that I would do two things:

  1. Figure out a way to eat it that actually tastes REALLY GOOD.
  2. Find a way to plug it into my routine so I can enjoy it regularly.

You see, kale really is king of the veggie world. It contains more Vitamin A, C, and K than you can shake a stick at. But, it also has a reputation for being the worst kind of health food: chewy and without great flavor. Before I learned how to prepare lemony kale, I really thought: rabbit food.

Lemony kale got its official debut in my first book, Fed & Fit. While my dear friend Diane Sanfilippo and I were out on our combined book tour, I introduced her to the lemony kale. You see, I prefer this kale for (brace yourself) breakfast. I do! It’s light, bright, and (believe it or not) totally crave-able if prepared correctly.

What are the secrets to preparing kale that actually tastes REALLY GOOD? The following:

  • Though curly kale is acceptable in a pinch, lacinato (or “dino”) kale is best. The texture of lacinato kale can't be beat!
  • Use a tasty cooking fat to start: bacon grease is my preference, but butter and ghee are great, too!
  • DESTEM! Peel the leafy kale off the stem. Nobody, save for actual rabbits, enjoy eating those thick stems.
  • Saute in your hot pan with cooking fat just until the kale wilts and reduces in size a bit. Undercooked = warm salad. Overcooked = better than undercooked, but not as good as perfectly cooked. This usually takes me about 3-4 minutes until it's all bright green and a little droopy.
  • Season with: SALT AND ACID. This is the most important part. You really need to season the kale with both salt and acid. I sprinkle mine with a pinch of sea salt and then (hence the name) I add a liberal amount of FRESH lemon juice.

This preparation method takes (maybe?) 5-7 minutes in total and BOOM, you have a health-packed side dish that actually tastes great.

The next part of my “let's eat more kale riddle” was finding a way to plug it into my routine. That's when BREAKFAST KALE was born! While lunch and dinner are sometimes a toss-up (maybe we're dining out or want a specific dish), breakfast is highly consistent in our house. Adding a pile of lemony kale to our breakfast plates was easy and ensured that I enjoyed this chewable vitamin OFTEN.

lemony kale


Lemony Kale

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6


  • 1 tablespoon butter, olive oil, or bacon fat
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 small lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large frying pan that has a matching lid. Add the greens, toss to coat in the butter, and cover to steam until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon juice and salt and stir to combine with the wilted greens. Serve warm.

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  1. Michele says:

    HI Cassie! Do you use enameled cast-iron for this kale recipe? Thanks!

  2. Anna says:

    Woohoo! I have been waiting for this recipe because I am not a huge fan of kale but I wish I were! I’m happy to report that I tried this recipe already with a bunch of kale from my local farmer’s market and I loved it!!! Thank you, thank you! Will for sure be making this again 🙂

  3. Michele says:

    What’s the best way to reheat this?

  4. Hope says:

    I made this today with curly kale with tons of stems and it was DELICIOUS!! My 2 year old kept ditching his cold pizza slice for more of it. I can only imagine how much better it is with destemmed Dino kale. Totally recommend though if this is all you have, it’s dynamite!

  5. Jessica says:

    Time and again I come back to this recipe, and it is so delicious every time!! Even my toddlers gobble it right up! Thanks thanks thanks!!

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you love it, Jessica! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Tanya says:

    Have you ever tried this recipe with mustard greens?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I haven’t, but I think they’d work great!