Eating Kale: Fear the Bitterness No Longer

Most people turn up their noses when it comes to kale (unless it’s kale chips, which are great), including Chris and my dad. I don’t blame them, really, it is a pretty bitter vegetable if you don’t cook it right. It’s a very dark green green, and, if you have experience cooking (or…eating), you know that dark greens can often be a bit bitter. But, kale was on sale at the grocery, and I had never really cooked it before, so I picked up a HUGE bunch (it actually took 5 minutes and two of us to get it into the bag).


Kale, still planted

It sat in the fridge for a few days as I was unsure what to do with it, and I knew Chris was even more unsure and not looking forward to it. Then, one day for dinner, I got out the kale. I was on a mission. This was going to be cooked and it was going to LIKE IT! My planned dish was pasta with kale.

Spoiler: It turned out great.

So, let me share with you how to easily make your kale taste great. Encourage your family members and friends to come out of hiding when they hear the word ‘kale’ with a great way of cooking them. I learned a few tips from this article here.


  1. Wash your kale
  2. Cut the stems off
  3. Fold your kale in halves or thirds
  4. Shove them (I literally pushed them down) into a pot that they barely fit in
  5. Fill that pot 1/3 up with water
  6. Bring water to a boil
  7. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring
  8. Drain the kale
  9. Pour cold water over it until it’s cool enough to handle
  10. Get those leaves right back into a pot or pan; at this point, it’s up to you, get creative, cook with spices you enjoy (I cooked it with oil and lemon juice, lots of garlic, salt, pepper, and basil)

And serve! You really want to get some flavors in on that last step, so don’t be afraid to go wild. It tasted wonderful and went beautifully with the oil-and garlic pasta I made for the ‘main dish.’ Try it out. I promise it’s not awful. And remember, the trick is to BOIL IT. This is what gets the darn bitterness out that turn so many people away.

(picture stole from here, I sadly didn’t take any pictures that night)

62 Responses to "Eating Kale: Fear the Bitterness No Longer"

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  1. champydreamsboxedwinebudget

    September 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Yay! I love Kale!

  2. Little Sis

    September 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    So glad everyone seems to be rethinking kale lately. It has so much to offer, and for once it’s an easy vegetable to grow!

  3. Our Growing Paynes

    September 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    We grew it for the first time this year. I usually put it in something like soup or chilli, that way my family eats it!

  4. Andrew

    September 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I’m allergic to kale but I eat it anyway.

  5. Denise B

    September 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Great job on cooking the kale! :) I like it much better than collards or mustard greens. I grew some this past winter, and will be growing more – Can’t wait until the cooler weather gets here!

  6. springforever

    September 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    It’s funny that I’ve just seen this post as I was just telling some friends that I refuse to cook kale (but mostly because I have no idea what to do with it). Thanks for posting about this apparently misunderstood vegetable… maybe I’ll give it a go sometime, in which case I’ll make sure I re-check this post!

  7. fitwithlyss

    September 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Hi! That sounds so yummy (I’m going to try yours out!) and it makes me happy to see others who are giving kale a shot! I usually put kale into my smoothie for the added health benefits, but have YET to try it in an actual cooked meal! I’ll update you when I make it :)

  8. nikki2358

    November 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I have been scouring the web for info on how to de-bitterize kale. I know it is soooo good for you, and I really don’t eat a lot of veggies besides squash, cauliflower, lettuce, and spinach, so the more I can learn about how to make them taste edible the better! I have only ever eaten raw kale in smoothies and it is unbearably bitter!! I am hoping that by cooking it I will be able to enjoy it. Question here though… is the water it’s boiled in bitter after cooking (I’m thinking of putting it in soup, but wonder if I should boil, drain and rinse first, or if the simple act of boiling somehow completely destroys the bitter compounds, in which case, I could just throw the raw pieces into the soup and let it cook there).

    • hungryandfit

      November 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Hmm, I actually haven’t tasted the broth. but I do have a feeling it’s where the bitterness goes. But I could be wrong!

      • nikki2358

        November 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        Thanks, that is kind of what I’m thinking too. I’ll find out. I am going to the Saturday market tomorrow to pick up some good kale (all the stuff I see in the stores is always wilted), and will boil it up, and mix it into a lentil-veggie stew I made a couple days ago. I will taste the cook water after and find out what it tastes like, then I will know for future reference!!

      • hungryandfit

        November 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm

        Let us know!

      • nikki2358

        November 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

        Well, aparently going 2 hrs after market opens is too late, as they were all sold out… will try again next week, unless I chance upon some happy looking kale in a store in the mean time!! But I will be sure to let you know how it goes when it happens!

  9. Simplify with Sarah

    April 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I’m surprised you referred to kale as being bitter – for me, collard greens are *much* worse. I like to saute my kale in chicken stock, then after it’s all wilted hit it with one tablespoon of oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a dash of red pepper flakes. I always feel like I haven’t made enough!

  10. theirishlady

    May 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Have you ever tried stir frying with some olive oil and garlic? You just inspired me to try kale again! Lol

  11. rheummate

    May 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I LOVE kale! I have it in a green smoothie everyday (with a bit of raw honey to counteract the bitterness). Great post :)

  12. adam

    May 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I bake mine with some sesame seeds and paprika, its like healthy chips YUM!

  13. don'tburntheonions

    May 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Hi- Thanks for liking my last post. Love your style and blog-have never tried kale but will do so now!

  14. laneysmom

    May 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Love this! I’ve just started trying to incorporate kale into our menu and haven’t been able to get the hubby and toddler(who LOVES green veggies!) to eat it. Definitely trying this!

  15. Sophiajd

    May 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I use Kale as the base of my smoothies!! It’s so good for you!!

  16. Pingback: Back to the Basics: How to Cook an Artichoke | hungry and fit

  17. AngelEstep

    June 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I steam kale and then eat it with a few pine nuts sprinkled in. De-Lish!

  18. tjcuzns

    June 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I love all sorts of greens; Kale included. Country folks have been eating them for years. Of course they usually cook them down with ham hock or smoked turkey parts. They also add crushed red pepper and vinegar; or lemon juice. And be sure to have plenty of corn bread to soak up the pot liquor. I look forward to following your blog. Signed: no longer fit-just hungry.

  19. runner1313

    June 20, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Love Kale! It is becoming very popular in the grocery stores. Health benefits are becoming more well known. Nice post!


    June 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Great article and fun to read about others experiences with cooking healthfully.

  21. Opalla

    July 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Love kale, and it is such a healthy veg. My secret ingredient is Garlic and Black Bean Sauce from the Chinese grocery stores. Goes a long way!

  22. NFamily Blog

    July 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

    You’ve inspired me . I have been wanting to revisit Kale but the bitterness got in the way. I am going to try it again today. Thx

  23. Julie the Workaholic

    July 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Kale rocks! I like kale chips – tossed in a little EVOO, garlic powder, cayenne, and baked…holy moses, those are good!

  24. Nicola Burt-Skinner

    July 21, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I love kale chips and have kale with practically EVERYTHING. I usually stuff a chicken breast with kale and apricots – my fave! Mmmm. :)

  25. bonniemisotasty

    July 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

    mmm… I have tried kale many times in restaurants recently and have never known how to make it – thanks for the tips!

  26. A quick tip. Kale gets sweeter in the fall after a frost. Just set it in the freezer for a while and let it frost before you use it.
    Read my post on Kale.

  27. AA

    July 29, 2013 at 12:02 am

    The bitter is great for the liver, and there’s a reason why its made that way :)

  28. sabine1490

    August 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I love kale. I juice it with broccoli, celery, parsley, green apple. It’s good for your skin. Thanks for liking my post. I like your blog.

  29. standardhonor

    August 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I followed your like here… and this is awesome! I love kale, though I mostly use it in kale chips or smoothies! I’ve never quite gotten used to the texture of boiled leafy vegetables…

  30. Silvana

    June 3, 2014 at 5:22 am

    This kale was delicious. It was not bitter at all!!! Thank you so much.

    • hungryandfit

      June 8, 2014 at 1:27 am

      Yay! I’m glad

  31. Lynn

    January 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Jorginho to incorporate kale chip in my diet, roasted them with olive oil and salt, but still a little bitter, any suggestions

  32. Sonya

    September 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Thank-you! I made some kale tonight and was trying to figure out why it was so stinky/bitter! Now I know – boil it instead! :)

  33. Howie

    November 2, 2015 at 9:58 am

    So how much of all the vitamins are you BOILING OUT to get rid of the bitterness???

    • hungryandfit

      November 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks for asking Howie; you can find that information in the USDA’s 27th release. Here is a link: In short, there is a noticeable decrease in micro and macro nutrients although there is no constant percentage. – Hungry

  34. Brenda L Payton

    January 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I bought kale at Costco in a bag with spinach, I got it for juicing. The kale was absolutely awful. I next went to Fred Meyer’s & bought fresh kale & spinach separate & juiced it and it was excellent.

    • hungryandfit

      January 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm