Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika


BEST sautéed kale you will ever taste! Seasoned with smoked paprika and crushed chile pepper flakes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

We have a thing for greens in our family. Beet greens, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, kale. My mother even picks dandelion greens to add to soups, and mix in with other greens.

The thing about most greens is that they tend to be bitter, and some, like collard and kale, a little tough as well. Blanching before sautéing can help take the edge off the bitterness, and soften the greens.

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How To Cook Kale Greens

Greens are often prepared with garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, bacon, chili pepper, or barbecue sauce, strong flavors that can balance the inherent bitterness of the greens.

In this recipe, first we boil the kale, then sauté the kale with onions, chili flakes, and smoked paprika.

We’ve used smoked paprika in a few other recipes here; it sort of has the flavor of barbecued potato chips. It takes just a little more than a pinch to bring a little smokey kick to these kale greens.

My father made this kale for us last night, from a Deborah Madison recipe in Bon Appetit. It was so good (truly, the best kale I’ve ever eaten, ever).

Not only did I take more than my fair share, I insisted that he make them again today, for lunch, so I could eat even more and try to take a good photo. (Thanks dad!)

Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Kale tends to collect dirt in the leaf wrinkles, so rinse carefully before using. To prep, cut the leaf away from the center rib and stem of each leaf. Discard stems and center ribs.


  • 1 pound fresh kale, carefully rinsed, stems and center ribs cut away and discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (also sold as Pimenton), sweet or hot
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • Salt


1 Blanch the kale: Bring a large pot (4 qts) of water to a boil. Add a Tablespoon of salt to the water. Add the chopped kale. Cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2 Sauté onions, add smoked paprika and crushed red pepper: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the smoked paprika and crushed red pepper.

3 Add the kale and sauté for several more minutes. Sprinkle on more salt and smoked paprika to taste.

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Barely adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison in Bon Appetit Magazine.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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25 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kelli

    So good! I was a little skeptical at first but after reading the reviews, I gave it a try. I was very glad I did! I will say I also added a little bacon. It was perfect!


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  2. Selena

    Can you freeze this?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Kaela



  4. Sherry

    Pretty tasty! I didn’t have smoked paprika available, but even with ‘regular’ paprika, it was delish! I’m about to order the brand Elise used in the recipe, so I’ll try this again a few days. Mmmmmm, kale.


  5. Jessica

    This recipe is ok. I wouldn’t give it more than that. I think i’m going to try the bacon instead of the oil. Thank you

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Sautéed Kale with Smoked PaprikaSautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika