3-Ingredient Sauteed Kale is a quick and nutritious side you can easily add to any meal. Some tweaks are included to help you spice it up however you like.
Intro to 3-Ingredient Sauteed Kale
I’m always looking for ways to save time on busy weeknights, but I don’t want to compromise on nutrition. I’ve been known to microwave vegetables from time to time – the ultimate lazy method. This recipe is almost as fast as the microwave, but MUCH more flavorful.
Using just kale, garlic, and thyme we can make a veggie side dish with solid flavor affinities – those three ingredients (and olive oil) play really nicely together.
The Cooking Process
This is a really easy one. The process involves chopping garlic and kale, then sauteing everything. Start with the garlic and thyme, then add the kale. Saute until tasty. Add salt to taste.
Possible Tweaks to Make
There are a number of enhancements you can make if you feel like going a step or two further:
- Add some nuts, such as pecans or walnuts when you add the garlic and thyme. Stir them often so they don’t scorch.
- Dried berries or other fruit would add some sweetness and chewy texture and go well with the pecans. Add them with the kale.
- Stir in a splash of vinegar, such as balsamic or apple cider, at the end of cooking. This tartness adds a nice dimension to the dish.
- More fresh herbs will make the dish brighter and grassier. You can garnish with chopped basil or parsley.
- The recipe will work well with spinach or Swiss chard. Cook the Swiss chard about as long as directed for kale. Cook the spinach until just wilted.
Before You Cook the Sauteed Kale
When prepping the kale, you can either discard the kale ribs or cook and eat them. The ribs are super fibrous, but if you chop them small and cook them a little longer (add them before you add the leaves) they are quite edible and bring a bit more nutrition.
I used fresh thyme when testing the recipe. I sauteed the whole sprig, without breaking any leaves off, and it infused a pleasant, if subtle, aroma into the dish. You can use dried thyme if you like – I’d recommend a teaspoon or so.
You can skip the oil if you want to go oil-free – just replace it with water or vegetable broth.
A Few More Easy Veggie Sides
- 3-Ingredient Vegan Creamed Spinach – super simple yet very rewarding. It’s also really quick to cook.
- 15-Minute Chickpea Curry with Kale – kale and chickpeas bathe in a lightly creamy and flavor-popping curry gravy.
- Roasted Oyster Mushrooms – a quick way to make mushrooms really, really tasty. They get crispy on the edges but stay juicy and meaty.
- Chinese Mushroom Stir-Fry – shrooms, bamboo shoots, and baby bok choy cooked together in a savory sauce.
Plant-Based Main Dishes to Headline your Dinner
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – mushrooms, lentils, and other veggies with fresh herbs underneath a blanket of creamy mashed potatoes.
- Mushroom Carbonara Pasta – smoky mushrooms in a creamy, silky vegan sauce with spaghetti.
- Yaki Udon – thick, chewy, satisfying udon noodles with a variety of mushrooms and veg, stir-fried together.
- Spaghetti Bolognese – the meatiest-tasting vegan dish I’ve made – lentils, mushrooms and tons of veggies create really big flavors.
As always, if you try this recipe out, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @gastroplant on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
3-Ingredient Sauteed Kale
- 5 cups kale (180 grams, 6 ounces) chopped, see note
- 4 cloves garlic smashed, pressed, or minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil can substitute water or vegetable broth
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil (or water or broth) in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and thyme sprigs. Stir together and saute until the garlic is lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
- If you are including the kale stems, add them now and stir them until they are mostly tender, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the kale leaves. Stir them to mix with the other ingredients until bright green (as shown in the photos), 1-2 minutes.
- Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.