Braised Balsamic Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts

Braised Balsamic Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts

The kale in my garden is overshadowing the mums I was hoping to enjoy in the fall, begging to be “pruned”. I am craving braised greens with an Italian flavor: dinnerFeed is decided!

Braising refers to a cooking method in which tough cuts of meat or vegetables are almost submerged in liquid and slowly simmered, covered, until tender. Though mom didn’t use the word “braising”, she always had a pot of collard greens and ham hocks simmering (braising!) on the back burner. Braised greens are essentially nursery food for me, so I have them often.

You can substitute other greens for the kale in this recipe. The best braising greens would be any dark, leafy vegetables with sturdy, fibrous leaves. Collards, chard, beet greens or broccoli rabe would be other excellent candidates. Braising is the perfect cooking method for these greens. The simmering brew breaks down their fibrous texture and mellows their bitter flavor, resulting in savory greens with a delectable bite.

Note: If you’re craving greens but out of time, Zingerman’s Roadhouse has delicious braised green, freshly harvested from their own garden.

Recipe: Braised Balsamic Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts


  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 bunches kale (10 cups) washed and stemmed*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Select your largest sauté pan and over high heat, toast the pine nuts (dry) 1-2 minutes, turning with a spatula. Pine nuts burn quickly so don’t leave the stove.
  2. Remove nuts and reserve, reduce the heat to medium-low and add olive oil. Simmer the garlic and pepper in oil about 2 minutes then add the chopped kale. Stir to coat with seasoned oil.
  3. Add chicken stock and vinegar and bring to a low boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 18-25 minutes, stirring often to avoid scorching the bottom greens.
  4. Season with kosher salt. Top with toasted pine nuts, Parmesan and serve.

*Kale can be blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes, if desired. This makes it initially easier to fit the greens into the pan and reduces the cooking time.

Active Time: 10 minutes

Simmer Time: 20 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4 side dish or main course servings when served with pasta

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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