4 Ingredient Lemon Garlic Kale – The BEST Kale!

/, Dinner, Food, Lunch, Side Dishes/4 Ingredient Lemon Garlic Kale – The BEST Kale!

4 Ingredient Lemon Garlic Kale – The BEST Kale!

Wondering how to cook kale? My Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon is THE BEST way to cook this vitamin-packed superfood. You are going to love this Lemon Garlic Kale Saute!

Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic


I love kale.  It’s not a crush but a true love that has grown deeper over the years.  The dark greens make my heart literally swoon.  If you haven’t tried kale yet or wondering how to cook kale… let me get you started.  My Sauteed Kale and Garlic and Lemon is so simple and will turn even kale haters into kale lovers like me.


Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon

I know that rough curly kale can be tough for some people to like.  On the surface, it’s not quite as nice as mixed greens or spinach BUT let me change your mind.  The trick is to do this… Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon.

A simple sautee of the kale makes it tender and full of flavor.  The result is a side dish that’s tasty to enjoy for any meal.

How to cook kale?

What is Kale?

So what is kale? I happen to be one of those strange folks who strongly naturally like a lot of healthier food BUT if you knew why it’s so healthy you might add it to your diet too.

I used curly kale for this recipe but you can also find dinosaur kale and baby kale in most stores.

Curly kale features these dark, thick and ruffled edges. It has an earthy green flavor with a peppery edge.  I LIKE how it’s tougher and more substantial.

Kale is actually one of the healthiest foods out there and is high in vitamins A, K and C.  It’s also a powerful source of antioxidants, can reduce the risk of heart disease AND has cancer-fighting substances.  That alone should make you want to give it a try!

raw kale and lemon

What’s in my Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon?

Making kale at home has never been easier… especially with my sauteed kale with garlic and lemon.  Kale comes in these super easy to use pre-washed bags these days.  Open up the bag and take any big stems you see out.  If you get a big bunch at the store pull the leaves off the big stem in the middle and chop them.

Here’s what else you need…

  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Olive Oil or Butter
  • Optional: red pepper flakes and/or parmesan

I use olive oil OR butter depending on what I’m using the kale for and my mood.  I honestly think the butter tastes a bit better but if I’m in a slightly healthier mood I go for the olive oil.  You could also use some ghee if you had it.

I skipped the parmesan for this picture but did add some yummy red pepper flakes. 🙂

close up of lemon kale cooked with olive oil and garlic.

How to cook kale?

Before we dive into how to cook kale I wanted to spill my secret to make kale more DELISH and less BITTER.

Before you start cooking the kale you massage it.  YES, like you are going to the spa, massage it.  This step makes the finished recipe a little softer and less bitter.

Here are the rest of the steps…

  1. Massage the kale
  2. Saute the garlic in the olive oil or butter.
  3. Add the kale to the pan.
  4. To start the steaming process add the lemon and a tablespoon or two of water.
  5. Sautee the kale until it’s tender.
  6. If desired add either red pepper flakes and/or parmesan to the end.

Remember the kale cooks A LOT like spinach or another green so get out a big pan but expect the final product to be a fraction of what you start with.  Don’t be afraid to cook a bunch at a time.


Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic

Lemon Garlic Kale Saute

The finished product is this super tasty lemon garlic kale saute.  This delightfully tender green is perfect as a side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Try it with eggs!

It’s even the base for my super tasty Kale Pasta.

Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic


My Sauteed kale with Garlic and Lemon is the perfect recipe to make at the beginning of the week and add to your meals to get an extra boost of veggies and greens.  It reheats well and it’s so healthy I feel like I magically power when I eat it.  Lord knows I need those chasing twin toddler boys around!

I’ll give this recipe some bonus points because my boys will eat it too.



If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment and a star rating ★ below.

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Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic


Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon

Julie Wunder
Wondering how to cook kale? My Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon is THE BEST way to cook this vitamin-packed superfood. You are going to love this Lemon Garlic Kale Saute!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 94 kcal


  • 8 cups curly kale, loosely packed
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: red pepper flakes or parmesan


  • Remove any large stems from kale. Massage the kale until it starts to become a bit more tender.
  • In a large non-stick saute pan under medium-low heat cook the garlic in the olive oil to about 30 seconds.
  • Add the kale and stir the garlic around so it's not all sitting at the bottom. Turn the heat up to medium.
  • Add the lemon on top and a tablespoon of water to start steaming the kale. Cover the pot but stir frequently. If it's not moving you can add another tablespoon of water if the kale is not steaming and reducing.
  • The kale is done when it's tender and bright green. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the red pepper flakes or parmesan to the top.


You can use butter or ghee in place of the olive oil for a richer kale flavor.  It tastes great with butter!  The recipe is vegan and dairy-free with olive oil though.


Calories: 94kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 6gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 70mgPotassium: 695mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 13449IUVitamin C: 176mgCalcium: 211mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon
Tried this recipe?Mention @Julie_Wunder or tag #RunninginaSkirt!



How to Cook Kale


Your turn!

Do you love kale?  Do you cook it at home?

By | 2020-05-28T22:24:21-04:00 April 20th, 2020|All Vegetarian, Dinner, Food, Lunch, Side Dishes|30 Comments


  1. […] Sauteed Greens […]

  2. […] Sauteed Kale […]

  3. […] Lemon Garlic Kale […]

  4. […] Lemon Garlic Kale […]

  5. Lathiya May 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I just love easy and simple dishes with the minimum ingredients like this. Also, I love garlic flavor in the dishes.

  6. Gail Montero April 26, 2020 at 10:56 am - Reply

    5 stars
    I love the lemony tang and freshness added to this tasty sauteed Kale! What a great and versatile side dish!

  7. Alena April 26, 2020 at 8:34 am - Reply

    5 stars
    I love that you massage the kale even when you cook it. I haven’t thought of that before and feel like it would make such a big difference!!

  8. Mirlene April 25, 2020 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I love simple dishes like this. Perfect for quick weeknight meal. I have kale i could use. Perfect timing with this recipe.

  9. Sondra Barker April 25, 2020 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Yum this sounds so delicious and refreshing! I love that it is so simple to make!

  10. Emily April 25, 2020 at 1:11 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Lemon and kale is one of my favorite combinations! Such a delicious recipe!

  11. Colleen April 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    This is the best way to eat kale! I like the red pepper flakes that you added. Can’t wait for it to pop up in my garden so we can make this.

  12. Kay April 24, 2020 at 8:50 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Love the use of garlic and lemon, brings a bit of excitement to the Kale!

  13. Jacqui DeBono April 23, 2020 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I love kale, I even grow my own! I very rarely do anything exciting with it though, so I must try this recipe!

  14. Ramona April 23, 2020 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I love how simple, healthy and delicious this recipe looks and sounds. I love all the ingredients and I have to say I haven’t tried it with lemon yet so this is definitely a great idea

  15. Marta April 23, 2020 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I just bought a whole mess of kale. I’m going to use it for this recipe!

  16. Constance Smith April 23, 2020 at 9:32 am - Reply

    5 stars
    This looks fantastic! I’ve currently go some purple kale growing in the garden. This looks like a great way to make it!

  17. Stine Mari April 22, 2020 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    SautĂ©eing the kale makes it so much better! I am one of those that don’t like it raw, but LOVE it sautĂ©ed! The lemon garlic sounds delish!

  18. Lesli Schwartz April 22, 2020 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I love sauteed kale! The addition of the lemon and garlic really puts this kale over the top!

  19. Redoy April 22, 2020 at 9:33 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Hey there, I loved this recipe. Thanks for sharing. take care…

  20. Deborah Brooks April 20, 2020 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Another super easy and healthy side! Looks right up my alley

  21. Leslie April 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I might have to give this a try. I haven’t found a kale recipe that has won me over yet, but this might be the recipe I’ve been looking for!

  22. Susanna @Zealous Mom September 13, 2014 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Yum! This looks so delicious. I love, love kale. Pinned!

  23. Jamielee September 12, 2014 at 8:35 am - Reply

    5 stars
    I haven’t tried it yet but I love kale and this sounds amazing….

  24. Ginni Terhune September 12, 2014 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Julie. I’ve had Kale juiced and baked but never like this. I love that this takes less than 10 minutes & all I need to get at the store is the bag of kale!

  25. Jaime September 11, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I so want to try this. I also want to attempt growing kale this fall. Surely it’ll grow with the cooler temps…right?

    • JulieWunder September 12, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

      I bet it will grow now that it is not super hot. Let me know if it does! I’ve also heard swiss chard is beautiful to grow.

  26. Esther September 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Love your recipes!!!! Any chance that the Calorie count will be shown on your ingredients sheet in the future???. Just a suggestion I had.


    • JulieWunder September 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Esther! I’ll have to see if I can do that in an easy way. Thank you for the suggestion.

  27. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie September 11, 2014 at 7:20 am - Reply

    I’m not normally a big lemon flavor fan, but I know kale can be quite acidic in taste, so I bet the lemon helps cut down on that. Plus, garlic makes everything perfect!

    • JulieWunder September 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Yeah- just a little really cuts into the bitter kale flavor.

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