How to Cook Red Kale

Kale has recently become the darling of health-minded foodies, and with good reason. The ruffled bundles of thick-textured leaves are high in calcium, vitamins A, C and K, lutein and xeaxanthin, making it an excellent source of support for your bones, skin and eyes. Kale is also very low in calories and can be cooked in any number of ways. Red kale, also called Russian kale, offers a sweeter, buttery flavor. It cooks more quickly than green kale, but can be prepared using the same methods.

Preparing the Kale

Step 1

Wash your red kale thoroughly in cool, running water to remove all traces of grit and any pesticides which may have been used. Shake the excess water off of the kale or set it in a colander to drain.

Step 2

Cut off the bottom of the head of kale. Remove the thicker bottom parts of the stems; they are woody and don't tenderize as much as the leaves do when cooked.

Step 3

Slice or chop the kale according to the cooking technique you wish to use. Cut the kale into larger pieces for chips or steaming; chop it smaller for use in soups or stews.

Step 4

Sprinkle the kale with lemon juice and toss it. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out the flavor.

Cooking Techniques

Step 1

Steam kale by filling the bottom of a pot with salted water. Place a steamer basket in the pot, making sure that the water does not come up over the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a boil and add the kale to the basket. Cover the pot and steam the kale for 5 minutes or until it is tender, but still slightly crisp.

Step 2

Saute kale in a skillet coated with olive oil and brought just to its shimmer point over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic for a bit of extra flavor and season the kale with sea salt, pepper and the herbs of your choice. Cook the kale for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it is cooked to the level of softness that you prefer.

Step 3

Make kale chips by tearing red kale into small pieces or using small whole leaves. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer with a little space between each leaf. Sprinkle the kale with olive oil and sea salt and bake them in a preheated 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes. Rotate the tray and cook the leaves for another 3 minutes, or until they are crisp. Remove them from the hot tray immediately so that they don't continue to cook.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander

  • Chef’s knife

  • Lemon juice

  • Pot with lid

  • Sea salt

  • Pepper

  • Herbs

  • Steamer basket

  • Skillet

  • Olive oil

  • Aromatics like onion and garlic, optional

  • Baking sheet


Simmer red kale in a small amount of olive oil over very low heat for 30 minutes or longer to break down its natural starches and bring out its sweetness.

Mix kale chips with paper-thin sweet potato chips for a colorful and healthy snack.


Do not overcook kale chips when baking them, or they will become bitter.