How to prepare kale

3 kinds of kale

Kale hasn’t become a rock star vegetable for nothing! It’s super healthy for sure, but it couldn’t have gotten its stardom from that alone. The bottom line? Kale is absolutely delicious, whether you eat it cooked or raw.

But in order to get the best flavor out of your kale, you need to know how to prep it properly – this means getting rid of the kale stems, which can be quite tough.

Curly kale and Tuscan kale – different leaves, different preparation

Not all kale leaves are alike. Curly kale has very crinkly leaves, while Tuscan kale (aka Lacinato kale) has flat, waxy leaves. Removing the stems requires different techniques for each variety.

In this video, I’ll show you how to remove the stems from both curly kale and Tuscan kale. These two techniques are so easy, they’ll make cooking your favorite kale recipes a cinch.

Now… how to cook kale? Here are a few super-delicious recipes that I know you’ll enjoy!

Kale chopped salad with pan-roasted Portobello and Parmesan-sesame crisps
Kale pesto
Fregola with kale pesto, poached eggs and Pecorino Romano shavings
Pizza with grilled kale, smoked Gruyère, sweet corn and chipotle-infused oil

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How to prepare kale

active time: 10 min

  1. 8 oz (225 g) Tuscan or curly kale (1 bunch)

  1. For curly kale, pull the leaves off the stems and then tear them in 3″ pieces, or whatever size your recipe calls for. You should end up with 6 ounces of torn leaves, about 12 cups loosely packed.
  2. For Tuscan kale, lay a kale leaf on a cutting board and run a paring knife along each side of the center stem. Repeat until all the stems have been removed. Then cut the leaves crosswise in 3″ pieces, or whatever size your recipe calls for. You should end up with 5 ounces of cut leaves, about 8 cups loosely packed.

Viviane’s tip
  1. Once you’ve prepped your kale leaves, rinse them and spin them dry. Place the leaves in a damp cotton bag (or a plastic bag) and refrigerate for up to 2 days. I try not to refrigerate kale leaves for a longer period, because they lose their valuable nutrients rather quickly.
  2. And don’t throw away the tough stems! They add a lot of flavor to stocks. Cut them in 2″ pieces and freeze them. The next time you make a batch of homemade stock, you’ll be happy to have them on hand.

Purple kale

techniques, kale, how to, prepare


  1. Pingback: DC Farmer’s Markets/Final Summer CSA/Sign up for Fall » The Farm Bus from Farm to Family

  2. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of preparing kale.

  3. Thanks for sharing the helpful tips in preparing kale, Viviane.

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