Give Thanks To Kale With These Holiday Side Dishes

In addition to an impressive roster of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K, kale is packed with dietary fiber, which helps you feel full. That's always a nice perk, but on Thanksgiving or at other holiday meals, eating a big portion of kale salad or sautéed kale before starting on the not-so-good-for-you sides like sweet potato pie and cranberry sauce will help you eat smaller portions of those indulgent treats without feeling deprived. Plus, the nicely bitter flavor of kale helps cut through the rich, sweet flavors on the holiday table and won't leave you with that overstuffed feeling afterwards.

Butternut Squash, Kale & Corn Sauté

Kale has a natural affinity to both butternut squash and corn, and this attractive combo is perfect for the holiday table.

Serves 6


  • 1/2 bunch kale, stripped from stalk, chopped into bite-size pieces, and rinsed (4 to 5 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 – to 3/4-inch dice (3 to 4 cups)
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • black pepper
  • 1 lime, quartered


1. In a large skillet with a lid, bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the kale. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until tender, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the kale. Drain in a colander, shaking a few times, to release steam and stop the cooking.

2. Dry the skillet and add the olive oil and butter over medium heat. (The pan should be large enough to fit squash in a single layer.) Add the butternut squash and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked without falling apart, about 15 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt while cooking. Add the corn, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper and cook 4 to 5 additional minutes, until corn is cooked. When ready to serve, add the kale (squeeze out any excess moisture from the kale if necessary) back into the pan and stir gently to warm. Add another pinch of salt for the kale. Squeeze a little lime juice into the dish or pass lime wedges around for people to squeeze their own.

Shredded Brussels Sprout & Kale Salad With Oranges, Dates & Feta

Serves 6

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, stripped from stalk, chopped into bite-size pieces, rinsed and dried (about 6 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded raw Brussels sprouts (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 2 oranges, outside peel removed with a serrated knife, orange thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • handful of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • crumbled feta

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons regular or white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Add the kale to a large bowl, drizzle with 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil and two pinches of salt. With your hands, massage the salt and oil into the kale is reduced and glistening, about 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Toss together the kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, orange slices and dates.

3. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, paprika and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss the desired amount of dressing with the salad. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and crumbled feta.

Sautéed Kale with Apples, Cranberries & Walnuts

Serves 6

This is a recipe your whole family can enjoy – it's so simple to make and it goes especially well with roast turkey on the holiday table. Shallots, quicker cooking than onions, cook along with sautéed diced apples. That hint of sweetness is just what kale often needs.


  • 1 bunch kale, stripped from stalk, chopped into bite-size pieces and rinsed (about 6 to 8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium-size shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 crisp apples such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


1. Place about 4 cups of water in a 10- or 12-inch skillet or soup pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil and add the kale. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until tender, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the kale. Transfer to a colander to drain. Shake a few times to release steam and stop the cooking.

2. Dry the skillet and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and apples and sauté until the apples are nicely colored and nearly soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cranberries and sauté a few minutes more.

3. Add the cooked kale (squeeze out excess moisture if there is any), a pinch or two of salt, the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and mix well. Top with chopped walnuts, and serve hot.

Excerpted from Kale, Glorious Kale © 2014 by Catherine Walthers. Photographs © 2014 by Alison Shaw. Reproduced by permission of Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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