Sautéed Kale with Toasted Cashews

Side DishGluten-FreeVegetarianGreens

Chopped fresh kale, lightly sautéed in olive oil with onions and red pepper flakes. Tossed with toasted cashews.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Anyone will tell you, “eat your greens”! And they’re right. Bitter greens especially—kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. They’re good for you, packed with vitamins, and they help digestion.

That said, frankly I never knew what to do with them until I started learning how to cook from my parents. Now I can’t get enough of them!

Usually we offset the bitter with bacon. But you can also use nuts to provide balance. With this simple and easy side of sautéed kale I’ve added toasted cashews. Not much more is needed. A little lemon juice, some onion, a dash of salt, and a sprinkling of chili pepper flakes for zing, and there you have it. The cashews pair beautifully with the kale. Now, go eat your greens!

Sautéed Kale with Toasted Cashews Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup unsalted, roasted cashews, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, tough midrib removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Salt


1 In a large, shallow sauté pan, heat on medium high. Add the cashews and spread out in an even layer. Toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned here and there, and you smell the aroma of the toasted cashews. Remove from the pan to a bowl.

2 Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Heat on medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3 Increase the heat to high/medium high. Add a couple tablespoons more of olive oil to the pan. Add the red pepper flakes. Add the roughly chopped kale. Use tongs to turn the kale leaves over so that they are all coated with olive oil. Cook just a couple minutes, turning the leaves over often, until they are just beginning to wilt. Sprinkle on lemon juice and salt. Remove from heat. Stir in the cashews.

Taste and add more salt and lemon juice to taste.

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Showing 4 of 16 Comments / Reviews

  • Brother Doc

    I’m going to try this with the last of my kale for this season. I think I will use a red onion, which I have on hand, as it will add a little color. Also I have a fresh lime which I will use instead of the lemon juice but expect the effect will be pretty much the same.

  • mantha

    Kale is a wonderful, versatile green that stays firm and attractive enough for all kinds of cooking experiments. I like this idea with the cashews, lemon and red pepper very much — I’ve eaten something similar with quickly sauteed kale and walnuts (a Chinese recipe that actually tosses a jigger of bourbon into the saute).

    Beautiful, mouthwatering photo, as always.

  • Kristopfer

    This looks wonderful, but I’m slightly allergic to cashews. Would pistachios or almonds work as well?

    Sure, I think either would work well. Haven’t tried it with those nuts though, so if you do, please let us know how it works out for you. ~Elise

  • Rachelino

    I have used pistachio and almonds for sauteed bitter greens (I saute with olive oil, onion and chili flake a lot as a way to eat more veggies) and both work well. I never thought to try with cashews, so I will do that next. I think their sweet buttery flavor would cut the bitterness nicely!

  • Meghann

    Oh WOW! I made this tonight! I skipped the red pepper flakes and halved the cashews and added a cup of navy beans I’d spiced earlier with cumin, oregano, basil and some other things, and this was SO good I ate most of it (ok, all of it, lol) for dinner. Thank you SO much, just delicious!

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Sautéed Kale with Toasted Cashews