Sautéed Kale with Toasted Cashews

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

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


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


1 Toast the cashews: 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 Cook the onions: Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Heat on medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3 Add the kale and red pepper flakes: 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.

4 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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  • Nattie

    Really good recipe!!!


  • 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.

  • Keri Pommerenk

    Wow…I made this recipe for dinner last night and I’m still thinking about it. Thank goodness we have a garden full of kale. Excellent as always!!!


  • Gloriana Fernandez

    Just delicious…perfect as is. Another winner, Elise. Thank you!


  • jenny

    YUM! just made this & had to hop back online to say thank you! What a great dish for a beautiful autumn day like today :]
    I’ve never made greens before & this was so simple. I’ve heard of all the amazing benefits of kale & other dark earthy greens but I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated by the thought of making them myself. Good thing the greens were well labeled at the store, I would have walked out with leeks. I’ll be making this again (as well as trying variations of it) & trying new recipes for dark greens!


  • Walter Underwood

    I made this and the family really enjoyed it.

    There were a few substitutions. We had collard greens from Two Small Farms, so I used those instead of kale. One kid isn’t fond of nuts in food, so I used bacon instead. I didn’t need olive oil because of the fat rendered from the bacon. We had some shallots, so I used those instead of onions. We had fresh limes on our lime tree, so I used those instead of lemon. But otherwise, it was exactly the same.

    Great recipe, I’d make it again.

  • Ophelia

    I’ll admit, I’ve never cooked greens before except tossing some spinach or chard in a soup. But the farmers market has so many good types this time of year I tried this recipe last night. I liked the flavor – kind of like Brussels sprouts – but I don’t think they were fully done when I served them. I was conscious to not overcook them into oblivion, but I think I either need to chop them a little more finely next time, or give them an extra minute or two to cook. Too chewy.

  • jim lowell

    I’m always looking for ways to cook my greens since this year I grew not only curly kale, but also Tuscan kale, red kale, and Chinese kale (also Chinese mustard greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and a few others..) and as almost always, I turn it into a main dish by serving it on pasta.

  • Diane

    This needs lots of fresh garlic!

  • Jenn C

    This was a smashing hit last night. I had the leftovers for lunch! I would cut the amount of cashews next time as I seemed to have too many compared to the kale, but the taste was awesome. Also loved the red pepper flakes! Will use this again!

    You know what? I agree with you on the amount of cashews. I just changed the recipe, reducing the amount from one cup to anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 cup. ~Elise

  • Cecilia

    I love collards and Tuscan kale! We eat them up to 4 times a week now. How? Pressure cooker! Take 2 bunches of collards or Tuscan kale and remove them from the stems. Chop into 1 – 2 inch pieces. Wash completely. In a pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seed oil or extra virgin olive oil, mashed 5 – 10 cloves of garlic, 1 – 2 tablespoons or to taste of red pepper flakes and 1 quart of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high until the pressure cooker starts to send out steam at a high level. Turn your burner down to level 4 and set the timer for 45 minutes. When done, turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker wind down on its own. When ready to serve. add butter to taste and enjoy! We love this recipe and hope you do as well.

  • Anna

    Yeah, the first year I subscribed to a CSA box, too many of the greens ended up in the worm bin. Just plain steamed or wilted greens with olive oil and a little salt & pepper just wasn’t a hit with my family. Even adding garlic didn’t add enough oomph. We seem to need additional flavors and textures to go with our greens – plus more fat – butter, ghee, bacon drippings, cream, etc. Good fat really helps the greens go down. So do garlic, cheese, nuts, bacon or sausage.

  • beckiwithani

    Looks fantastic! Have you tried Homesick Texan’s collards? They use peanut butter and chipotle — PB offsets the bitterness, and chipotle adds the smokiness that bacon or ham would normally provide. They’re a staple at our house. Divine!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.