Spicy Sesame Sautéed Kale With Garlic

Spicy Sesame Sautéed Kale With Garlic

Welcome to the most delicious kale recipe ever! This sautéed kale recipe is so easy, made with just 6 ingredients, and it’s so tasty you may want to eat the whole pan. 

So, let’s talk about kale. Can you be counted on as a Loyal Kale Lover or do you take pride in being an Enduring Kale Enemy? If you’re in the last category, I’m here to change your mind with our simply scrumptious sautéed kale recipe.

I have a sense that you might be skeptical, but stick with me and keep reading. If you can count on one hand how many times you’ve eaten kale, you’re the person I want to convert. The reason why you haven’t liked it in the past is because you haven’t cooked it like this. 

By including just a small amount of sautéed kale to any part of your plate, you’re giving yourself an extra ticket to health and finding a new favorite vegetable to boot. Go on, give it a try!

Bowl of Sauteed Kale with Sesame with wooden serving spoons

Kale – The Cruciferous King

We all know that adding cruciferous vegetables to your day is beneficial in every way. I know that we do our best to add them in when we can, but some of us aren’t huge fans of these sturdy, hearty, and, frankly, smelly foods. Though, the stronger the smell, the more powerful their nutritional punch can be.

Maybe green smoothies aren’t your thing. Maybe you can’t bear the taste of broccoli. Or you recoil when you encounter cauliflower. Not to worry. This is the simple cruciferous recipe I use to turn any apprehensive friend into a die-hard kale fanatic. You will want to eat the entire pan of this stuff, guaranteed.

Kale Nutrition Facts:

Did you know? Per calorie, kale has…

  • More iron than beef
  • More calcium than cow’s milk
  • 10x more vitamin C than spinach

4 Ways to Banish the Bitter of Kale

If you follow these four suggestions, I can promise you much less bitter and much more enjoyable kale. Taking the time to tackle these steps can improve not only the taste but the texture as well. 

  1. Slice off the Stems – The stems can be tough and cutting them off makes a huge difference. You can either use a sharp knife to cut along each side or buy a gadget that cuts off the greens in one mighty pull.
  2. Massage the Leaves – A few minutes rubbing the leaves and giving them love softens them enough to become tender and tasty.
  3. Sautée, Steam, or Stir Fry – The heat from cooking really helps the cut the bitterness.
  4. Supplement With Sweet – Adding a bit of sweetness can also help, if you’re not cooking the kale. If you’re eating kale in a salad, it’s a good idea to add some fruit, sweet vinaigrette, caramelized onions, or even candied walnuts

Bowl of Sauteed Kale with Sesame with wooden serving spoons Close Up

How to Serve Up Your Sautéed Kale

Kale is a delicate green, so it’s best eaten immediately after cooking. But, if you do have any leftovers, there are so many things you can do with them. Clever uses for extra cooked kale include:

  • Toss With Tofu – Give your tofu scramble extra flavor with some leftover sesame kale. Chop it up, throw it in, and you’ve just given your meal major nutrition points!
  • Sprinkle Into Your Salad – Place a few pieces of warm kale on top of your vegan salad so that it adds an interesting texture and an entirely different temperature to your plate. This is perfect if you only have a small amount of kale to contribute.
  • Pair With Pasta – Suppose you made a double batch of this savory side and only ate half a portion. Use the other half to boost up your pasta bowl. You’ll not only accent your meal with additional color, but also with antioxidants and vitamins A, K, and B6.
  • Add to the Soup Group – Soup is always better with a little bit of gorgeous greens. Especially tasty in Ten-Minute Miso Noodle Soup, Thai Vermicelli Noodle Soup, and Ramen Noodle Soup. Each of these recipes would be enhanced by the slightly spicy, sesame, and garlic flavor profile.

Simple Storing

If you have time, prepare your kale a couple of days in advance. Wash, pat dry, and then wrap in kitchen towels. Place your lovely, clean leaves into reusable bags that seal (like Stasher bags). They’ll keep fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

For any uneaten, but cooked curly kale, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two. You can use the suggestions shared above or simply reheat in the oven, microwave, or air fryer for a quick snack.


More Savory Vegan Sides To Try:

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Bowl of Kale with Sesame with wooden serving spoons

Sautéed Kale With Garlic & Sesame

  • Author: Michelle Cehn
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side servings 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan


This simple sautéed kale is widely loved in my house—it’s one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy curly kale. The toasted sesame oil gives it a savory depth of Asian-inspired flavor while the garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes give it a nice spicy kick. Add in some white or black sesame seeds for show (and also some added nutrients—like calcium), and voila! You’ve got a beautiful green side dish that’s so good that even the kids will be begging for more.  


  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 large bunches of curly kale, rinsed, stems removed, and roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (or two large cloves of garlic, minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt (adjust to personal taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon of sesame seeds (white or black)


  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the toasted sesame oil.
  • Once hot, add the chopped kale and toss it with the oil using a spatula.
  • Add the garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic), salt, and red pepper flakes and use the spatula to mix it evenly with the kale. 
  • Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, regularly tossing with the spatula to prevent kale from burning. The kale should shrink in size drastically and become soft, bright green, and chewy. 
  • Stir in sesame seeds, remove from heat, and enjoy!

Keywords: asian, greens, kale, sesame, side, spicy

Sesame Sauteed Kale World of Vegan Recipe

Sautéed Kale with Garlic & Sesame recipe by Michelle Cehn for World of Vegan. Copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan.

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15 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I love spicy dishes and never met a garlic clove I didn’t love, so this kale recipe checks all the boxes. This is a delicious and healthy way to get your green leafy veggies! Yum!

  2. Call my crazy, but I LOVE kale. Especially this recipe!! I could eat it every day, and no, not just to be healthy. Because it’s delish!

  3. Amanda · Edit

    Wow, what a way to spice up kale! I love the idea of putting this into soup, too!

  4. Marie H. · Edit

    Never thought I would like sauteed kale, but this recipe makes it easy to love. If I eat kale at all, it’s either in a smoothie or as kale chips. I gave the recipe a try and I was really surprised. The sesame oil, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper make the kale incredibly tasty. Definitely worth a try!

  5. Beatriz Buono-Core · Edit

    I love steamed kale with sesame! It is my favorite way to eat kale 🙂

  6. Janaye · Edit

    I have some frozen kale, I wonder if it will come out this good! I am definitely going to try it.

    1. Thank you for interesting information about kale and delicious recipe for healthy side dish. Addition of sesame is great.

  7. Andrea White · Edit

    What a great recipe for kale! I’m going to start growing it soon so I’m definitely keeping this recipe on hand!

  8. Hey Michelle, I found this kale recipe super easy and tasty. Thank you, I really needed some kale inspiration, as I had a big bunch of kale looking at me in the fridge for two days! haha

  9. The flavours were fantastic. A great way to enjoy kale

  10. I love this sauteed kale recipe! It’s so flavorful and a delicious way to eat more greens!

  11. I just made this and it was so tasty! Love the idea to toss it up with tofu as well!

  12. This is by far the best kale recipe! It is flavorful, and that kale is perfectly soft. Such a delicious side dish!

  13. the spicy sesame sauce is really lovely with the kale. thanks for this easy recipe

  14. Anaiah · Edit

    Absolutely love the ease and simplicity of this dish! I love it paired with tofu, so yummy!


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