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Thanksgiving Kale

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Thanksgiving Kale

This recipe was our gateway to eating kale.


As much as I love to bake, I always consider sweets to be treats which we eat sometimes, not all the time.  I’m still teaching that concept to my son who asks if we’re having dessert every night after dinner (and sometimes after breakfast and lunch as well.)  We eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and I’m always looking for really nutrient dense choices to get the biggest benefit.  So, when kale became a “thing” a few years ago (or more?) I thought I should investigate.

I remember the first bunch of kale that I bought. The long stalks and leaves barely fit into the vegetable bag. The name, “Dinosaur Kale,” was quite fitting as its sheer size was a bit intimidating.  I felt like I should hoist it up over my shoulder and carry it up to the check out.  Then there was washing and stripping the leaves from the stems, followed by chopping it up into manageable pieces.  Now that kale has become a basic in the grocery store, it’s available ready to go in bags, which is perfect if you’re short on time.


I decided I would start off with a recipe that starred kale, but was prepared in a way that would overcome any objections I thought I might face with those sitting at my dinner table.  Enter this sweet and savory recipe.  I love sweet/sour combinations and I thought the mixture of flavors would be just the thing to balance out the possible bitterness that I had read about.  For our first kale dish, it was a winner.  Everyone enjoyed eating their vegetables that night. It wasn’t bitter at all; the leaves were tender from cooking and full of flavor from a pan sauce that becomes almost like a glaze.   I remember remarking to my husband that this kale tasted like Thanksgiving with its sweet cranberries and savory onions and garlic; thus it became known as, “Thanksgiving Kale.”


Since then, we’ve enjoyed  kale much like the rest of the kale eating nation, in smoothies, as chips, in salads etc. But since it’s November, and ironically we’ve never eaten this dish for Thanksgiving,  I thought it would be timely to share.


So, here you go.  Kale, all dressed up for the holidays!

Thanksgiving Kale

Servings 4 Servings (about 1/2 cup each)


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 8-9 cups stemmed torn and rinsed kale (or a 10 oz. ready to use bag)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or saute pan (that has a lid) over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Taste the sauce at this stage. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. If you like it more sour, add more vinegar and or mustard.
  4. Stir in the kale, cover and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
  5. Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Recipe Notes

If you like your kale less wilted, reduce the sauce by half before you add the kale. Then add the kale and cover, stirring occasionally until kale has cooked to desired doneness. Recipe adapted from All Recipes Sweet and Savory Kale

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2014

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