This easy recipe for Creamed Kale turns these healthy greens into a delicious side dish with just six ingredients in 30 minutes or less! Serve alongside a holiday meal or with your favorite protein on a weeknight for a dose of healthy comfort food.
Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables that you can eat, but it has a reputation for being tough and bitter. However, when it’s cooked the right way, it can be incredibly delicious and packed with nutrition. If you love creamed spinach, try this classic kale recipe for a fun twist.
Some recipes call for cream cheese, but this one is simple and delicious. In this recipe, fresh kale is blanched and then chopped into bite-sized pieces. It gets mixed with butter and cream and reduced until a thick creamy sauce is formed. Once you are ready to serve, top it with some salty parmesan cheese for a deeper layer of comforting flavor.
Creamed kale can be served with a holiday meal, or it can easily be enjoyed with a weeknight meal paired with steak, oysters, fish, scallops or chicken. This also tastes great with a side of black eyed peas. It’s the perfect comfort food packed with hearty fresh kale.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This creamed vegetable dish is packed with fiber and nutrition from leafy greens.
- It’s cooked in cream, butter, and cheese making it decadent and enjoyable for anyone who hasn’t tried kale before.
- You can customize this side dish by using your favorite blend of greens or by topping with any cheese you enjoy.
- With minimal prep time, this recipe is quick and easy.
- Serve it for Thanksgiving or as a side to any weeknight meal.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fresh Kale – You’ll need fresh vibrant green kale to make this recipe. You can also use a blend of kale and spinach if you want to add even more greens. I use a mixture of curly kale and lacinato kale (also called tuscan kale).
- Unsalted Butter – Gives the kale mixture a rich buttery flavor that mixes well with cream and cheese.
- Heavy Cream – Makes up the base of the cream sauce. Heavy cream is easily thickened once reduced down with other flavors creating a quick creamy sauce.
- Spices – This recipe uses simple spices like garlic, kosher salt and ground black pepper. It also includes crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese (Optional) – Added on top, salty parmesan cheese gives the kale a deep layer of comforting salty flavor that finishes the dish perfectly.
If you want to make vegan creamed kale, you can substitute the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk. This makes the entire dish dairy free.
How To Make Homemade Creamed Kale
- Prepare the kale: Using a sharp knife, cut the kale leaves away from the stems and thoroughly wash any dirt away. While preparing the kale, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Blanch the kale: To the boiling water, add the prepared kale leaves and let them cook for 5-8 minutes or until they turn soft and tender. Remove them from the water. Drain and rinse with cold or ice water before finely chopping the kale with a sharp knife. Set aside the kale in a large bowl.
- Assemble the creamed kale: Grab a large saute pan or large skillet, then melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat or medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add in the chopped kale, cream, and seasonings. Whisk to blend. Let the mixture cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the cream has reduced and thickened into a sauce.
- Garnish and serve: Remove the creamed kale from the skillet and add to a serving dish or plate. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional) and serve hot.
You can switch up the greens and use a mixture kale of spinach to make creamed kale and spinach.
- There are two types of kale you can buy at the store – curly kale and lacinato kale. Either one works for this recipe or a mixture of both, just make sure you choose kale that is green, vibrant, and unbruised on the leaves. Red kale can also be found but is known to be very tough and bitter.
- Remove tough stems when chopping kale. The stem will not break down and become soft and could throw off the texture of the kale when finished.
- Do not skip the step of blanching the kale before making this creamed kale dish. Blanching will make sure the kale is perfectly tender and also helps remove any excess moisture that comes from cooking it right in the pan.
- The cream sauce will thicken quickly, so make sure you are keeping an eye on it while it simmers.
- Add other veggies. If you’d like to add in other vegetables such as chopped mushrooms, onion, or garlic, saute them in butter before adding the greens and cream.
- Add salty chopped bacon. Salty chopped bacon adds an additional smoky and bold level of flavor when used as a garnish on top.
- Try another type of cheese for topping. Instead of parmesan cheese, try using pecorino romano, asiago, or your favorite blend of hard salty Italian cheese.
- Switch up the greens. Kale and spinach are a powerhouse nutrient combination, but you can also use swish chard, turnip greens, collard greens, or even beet greens to make this dish. Use a single green or make a mix of your favorites. Blanch any of the greens until tender and crisp.
- Adjust the spice as desired. The red pepper flake in this dish is optional. Feel free to adjust the spice by using as little or as much as you desire. You can even add a pinch of nutmeg for more flavor.
Fresh tastes best, but in a pinch, you can use frozen kale or spinach. Defrost according to the package directions, then squeeze out any excess liquid using a cheesecloth before adding to the butter and cream mixture.
Yes! This recipe happens to be made with ingredients that are lower in carbohydrates making it suitable for a low carb or keto lifestyle.
Other Vegetable Side Dishes
- Roasted Parsnips
- Sauteed Carrots
- Sauteed Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Zucchini and Squash
- Easy Oven Roasted Beets
- Sautéed Swiss Chard
- Sautéed Butternut Squash
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Easy Creamed Kale
- 1 bunch kale, center stalks removed (10-12 oz after)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the kale for 5-8 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, then let it cool slightly. Finely chop the kale.
- In a large saute pan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then stir in the kale, cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cream has reduced and thickened. Serve hot, topped with grated Parmesan if desired.