Recipe: Slow-Cooked Kale with Smashed Garlic & Red Onions

updated May 3, 2019
Slow Cooked Kale
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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

When people started eating kale like crazy a number of years ago, I jumped on the wagon. One of the first ways I cooked it was low and slow, but then the trend became quick sautés and raw kale salads, even smoothies. I like a quick side-dish as much as the next guy, but I still love long-cooked kale for the way its flavor deepens and its ruffly edges crisp. It’s just the thing to eat on a winter night atop polenta or beside a piece of meat.

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Here I cook it with a big sprig of rosemary and red onion slices for little happy pops of color. You can take or leave the red pepper flakes (I like it hot), but if there’s one thing you should give a chance, it’s taking your time with this recipe. The prep is nothing. Go ahead, kick up your feet and read a book; dinner won’t be long.

Slow Cooked Kale

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    whole sprig rosemary

  • 1

    large red onion, sliced

  • 5 to 10

    garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon

    dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste

  • 1 pound

    kale, center ribs removed

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer, then add the rosemary and onion. Turn the flame to low and stir the mixture to combine, then allow it to cook a few minutes undisturbed. Add the garlic, season with the red pepper flakes and a few pinches of salt and ground pepper, and stir, cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Add the kale, stir to combine, and cook, stirring often to avoid burning the kale. Instead, it should turn a deep green. After about 30 minutes, raise the heat to medium and allow the edges to crisp slightly.

  3. Discard the rosemary sprig and serve with a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.