Grilled Kale

This grilled kale is a tasty appetizer or side dish for a summer grilled dinner! The Tuscan kale leaves come out crispy with a smoky undertone.

Grilled kale

Are you a kale fan? Then let us introduce you to grilled kale! Just like grilled romaine, throwing leafy greens on the grill is a thing. This grilled kale comes out crispy and charred, with a smoky undertone. It’s perfect for throwing onto a grill rack while you’re cooking a main dish or other veggies. Eat it as an appetizer or side dish to a grilled meal: it’s almost like roasted kale meets kale chips. Here’s how to do it!

What to know about grilled kale

A few things to note before we start! This grilled kale is a fun way to start a meal, or a great addition to a mash-up of grilled veggies. Here’s what to know:

  • The tips get crispy and the sides chewy. The ends of this grilled kale are a little like kale chips: charred and crispy! The sides come out a little more chewy.
  • The thick part of the stem can be tough: so eat around it! Grilling kale this way, the thick part of the stem comes out tough. If it’s too tough, just eat the kale around it and discard the stem!
  • Or, serve it as a salad! To serve it as a salad, you’ll want 2 bunches of kale. Cut out the stems, cook it a few minutes less, then tear off pieces and drizzle with Italian dressing or Caesar. Yum!
Grilled kale

Ingredients for grilled kale

You only need a handful of ingredients to grill kale! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or dinosaur kale): Tuscan kale is the type of kale we prefer to use! It has flatter leaves, a dark green color, and a sweeter flavor than curly kale. We recommend it here if you can find it.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt

How to grill kale

The key to how to grill kale: indirect heat! We cannot repeat this enough. If your heat is too high, you’ll end up with kale that’s black and burnt to a crisp. Been there, done that! Preheat to medium heat and cook on indirect heat, on an upper rack if you have one. Here are the specifics (or jump to the recipe):

  • Preheat a grill to indirect heat: 350 to 375 degrees!
  • Prep the kale: wash the leaves and pat them dry with a towel. Mix with olive oil, salt and garlic powder.
  • Grill on indirect heat or an upper rack for 6 to 9 minutes until bright green and charred in parts.
How to grill kale
Grill kale on indirect medium heat!

Alternate method: grilled kale as a salad!

You can also make a salad with grilled kale! If you try this method, here’s what to know:

  • Double the recipe for 4. To make a salad with enough greens for 4 servings, use 2 bunches kale.
  • Cut out the stems before grilling. It’s easiest to remove the stems before the leaves are on the grill.
  • Grill a few minutes less. Use a timing of about 4 to 5 minutes for kale as a salad.
  • Tear the leaves into pieces. Use your hands to tear into pieces, once the kale has cooled.
Tuscan kale salad
Try grilled kale in our best kale salad

Make it a meal!

Use grilled kale as a starter or a side dish for a grilled meal. Here are some great ways to serve it:

Grilled kale

Tuscan kale vs curly kale

You should be able to find Tuscan kale at your local grocery store or farmer’s market: this is the variety we like to use for grilled kale! You can also grill curly kale. If you do, the stems are even thicker: so we recommend cutting it off the stem before serving. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

  • Tuscan kale is also called Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, black kale, or cavolo nero (black cabbage in Italian). It has flat, ruffly leaves that are green black. The flavor is milder and sweeter than curly kale.
  • Curly kale has very curly leaves and a more bitter flavor than Tuscan kale. It’s typically a little easier find as well.
Tuscan kale vs curly kale

More veggies to grill

This kale works well alongside other grilled veggies, especially since you can cook it on an upper rack while you’re exposing the other veggies to direct heat. Here are some we recommend:

This grilled kale recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Grilled kale

Easy Grilled Kale


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This grilled kale is a tasty appetizer or side dish for a summer grilled dinner! The Tuscan kale leaves come out crispy with a smoky undertone.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also labeled as Lacinato or dinosaur kale)*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium heat (350-375 degrees)
  2. Wash the kale leaves, then pat them as dry as possible with a clean dish towel. (If using curly kale or if serving as a salad, cut out and discard the bottom thick part of all stems.) In a large bowl, gently toss the kale leaves with the olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Mix with your hands until everything is coated evenly.
  3. Grill over indirect heat, on an upper rack if available, for 6 to 9 minutes until lightly crispy, bright green and charred in parts (or about 4 to 5 minutes for salad).
  4. Serve as an appetizer or side dish (avoid eating the thicker portions of the stem). If serving as a salad, tear the cooled kale into pieces and top with Italian dressing and croutons, or make a grilled Caesar salad.

Notes

*If you’re making a salad, we suggest doubling the quantities in this recipe to get enough greens for 4 servings. Or use it as is for a 2 serving salad! 

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Vegetables

Keywords: Grilled kale, How to grill kale

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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