Caramelized Kale & Onions


by Francesca Patterson

People may always think apples and pumpkins for fall, but kale is also a late Autumn superstar. This time of year, kale thrives off the slight dip in temperatures we experience overnight. This mild frost actually brings out the best of the flavor notes in kale, so we should all take advantage of this. Kale is a dark leafy green that you can find most often in varieties of Curly-leaf or a smoother, darker leaf called Tuscan. Kale is actually part of the cabbage family, densely loaded with numerous immune-boosting vitamins, antioxidants and essential elements such as manganese. 
I often get asked what the difference between the two kinds of kale is. In simple terms, curly kale has a better flavor when taken advantage of raw. It’s ideal to use in salads and it also tastes great thrown right into a smoothie paired with any of your favorite fruits. Tuscan kale, on the other hand, works amazingly in a sauté or stir fry since it’s robust leaves hold up very well to heat. The flavor of this kale slightly nuttier, and has almost an earthy sweetness to it. I was so lucky to be able to pick my kale for this recipe directly from the farm today at the farm tour. The long rows of the thick and rich leaves of the Tuscan almost looked blue in the afternoon sunlight, while the Curly was abundantly full and fluffy. 
This recipe will show you an easy suggestion of how to cook up some of your Tuscan kale. I make this as a side for my dinners at least once a week. It’s quite easy, accompanies almost any dish, and is a sure way to get kale haters to eat their words, literally. The secret is to allow the onions to caramelize fully, this way they will release a sweetness that really highlights those flavors in the kale. Try this simple technique to have a go-to greens recipe any time you feel like you need to add a boost of wellness to your diet while genuinely enjoying your meal. 
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale (about 1/2 lb) (stems removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces) 
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion (thinly sliced) 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste) 


  1. In a large cast-iron pan, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high. Add a dash of salt and begin caramelizing your onions on medium, stirring occasionally. Allow the onions to cook down and become slightly golden at the tips, this will take about 20-30 minutes. They should look like the example picture I attached. 
  2. After your onions have become translucent, golden at the tips, and very fragrant, add in your chopped kale. Stir in and let kale cook with onions for about 5-7 minutes or until it has all wilted and cooked down. Add in a dash of salt and pepper to taste. 
    Serve hot as a side dish. 
    This dish serves about 4 but can be easily doubled when made. The leftovers can be stored overnight in the fridge and used in omelets or other dishes the next day.