Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika

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.

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


  • 1 lb fresh kale, carefully rinsed, stems and center ribs cut away and discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp 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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  • 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.


  • 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

  • Diane

    I just tried something different: instead of oil I diced 1/2# thick-sliced bacon & sautéed that. When the fat had rendered, I stirred in the onion & proceeded without any more changes. Yummy! My husband loved it. Guess I’ll be cooking kale more often.

  • Adrian

    This was yummy! I might add more salt. It is hard to get it all mixed evenly…stir a lot once everything is in the pan!

  • Ari

    Smoked paprika is magic! My family is crazy about paprika (currently five types in the spice cupboard) so I knew I had to try this. We are also crazy about greens, but never big on sauteed kale. That’s changed now! This dish was incredible! Smokey, slightly hot, sweet from blanching winter kale, just perfect! Even the toddler gobbled it up! Thanks for introducing us to a simple, delicious recipe!

  • Diane T.

    Thank you for the inspiration. One night,I couldn’t decide whether to fix this kale dish (healthy) or yams (yummy), so I did both together, peeling and dicing the yams into about 1″ dice, sauteeing first in olive oil with pimenton until tender, then adding the greens…served it topped with crunchy onions (packaged). All balanced one another – it was a meal in itself!

  • Deirdre Reid

    This has been my go-to kale recipe. Even my kale-wary boyfriend loves this — a convert! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Diane

    Having never eaten kale before, but having received some in a box of produce I received, I served this the other day to my family with some trepidation. I went with your recipe because I figured if there was a recipe they’d like, it would be yours because I’ve never made one of your recipes and not have it a hit. But unknown greens… I wasn’t too sure. Oh “me” of little faith; it was a hit! One thing I did add, though: some bacon pieces. I thought the added flavor might enhance the greens and make the famIly more accepting of them. I don’t know if they made a difference, but I’ll definitely be making it again. Thanks for broadening our culinary horizon!


  • Rose

    Oh wow. I just found this and had the smoked paprika on hand. That is excellent with the kale! It makes a spectacular base for greens and beans too, which is what I ended up with at the end.

  • Michele

    We eat greens at least once a week. I was excited to try a new way to make them and it was a hit! I subbed some regular paprika and chipotle for the 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika.

  • My

    I sure wish I knew what you all are talking about–this pimenton–never seen anything like it here in SE Asia…but it seems like it would be awesome. Do you think I could roast some red chilies as a substitute? For you kale (any greens, for that matter) lovers: par boil and dress with toasted sesame oil, umeboshi vinegar and a few sliced scallions…WOW!

  • Leya

    I just made this and it was awesome! I added a tiny bit of cinnamon to round out the flavor, which was good, but not really necessary. This will become a new go-to recipe for weeknights for us.

  • tone

    You love Kale? The kitchn recently posted an awesome baked kale recipe.. “Kale Chips” .. I did them in a flash as an accompaniment to umm… homemade Corn Dogs on election night.. I figured we weren’t eating horribly if we ate something green.. and anything with the word “chips” in it catches my attention.
    They were awesome.. My bf ate half the batch before I was done w/ the corn dogs..
    Recipe couldnt be easier: tear kale into smallish pieces, toss with a bit of olive oil/salt/pepper to coat.. and bake at 375 for ~15 mins.

    So tasty.

  • Hallie

    This looks so good, however I have never been able to find smoked paprika, do you know of a chain grocery or kitchen store that has it?

    McCormick is distributing it now; last year it started showing up in the national grocery chains. If you can’t find it locally, you can always order it from Penzeys. ~Elise

  • Leah

    I love kale too…it’s one of my favorites in the fall. Lately, though, I’ve been skipping the boiling/blanching step in favor of simply steaming the kale in the microwave for a couple of minutes before I saute it. I just prep the kale, put it in a bowl and cover it with a plate. The water still on the leaves from when I rinsed it somehow steams it perfectly, leaving it softened and ready for flavoring.

  • EAT

    Thanks for the tip on blanching the greens to take out some of the bitterness. We love greens around our house, and I’m always trying to improve on my preparation.

    The only complaint I have is that no matter how much I make, it never seems to be enough!

    Yep, it seems like you start with enough greens to feed an army, but they cook down so much that you are left with barely enough for 2 or 3. ~Elise

  • Joseph

    Kale is such a great ingredient during the cold weather months. I love that bitterness that gives way to a mellow sweetness when cooked. I usually don’t remove any part of the kale because I like the soft wilted leaves and the crunchy center rib and stem. I find blending in some dried fruits and toasted nuts often tones down some of the bitterness.

  • Alanna @ A Veggie Venture

    Lovely, Elise. Pimenton can be hard to find in the usual spice aisles although Penzey carries it so is easily available online. It’s addictive, completely different than hot or sweet paprika. I lent a friend my can to make paella a few weeks ago, he liked it so much I needed to get another. But he’s using it in everything from morning eggs to supper stews. I know that everything made with pimenton just seems deeper, darker, smokier, so it’s a great choice for kale.

  • Jessi

    Simple & delish! Thanks Elise, for insisting your dad make it again. :) I haven’t been able to find kale here in Oz, what would you suggest for substitute? I know that it’s a dilemma that’s repeated whenever a recipe calls for kale, or collard, so what is the best sub that’s the closest? I have kept up with the past suggestions and links but still wonder. Thanks in advance.

    I would try Swiss chard. ~Elise

    • Brian

      you’re kidding, right? Unless you live in a remote country town, kale is sold pretty much everywhere you can buy silverbeet (chard), cabbage or broccoli, in other words most supermarkets, greengrocers and markets; it’s the wrinkly one with a long skinny stem. Sometimes you might see tuscan black kale labelled as cavolo nero.