Spicy Seared Kale — A Recipe, Sort Of

Spicy Seared Kale Banner

I know, I know. It’s the Beatles vs the Stones all over again. Broccoli vs. brussel sprouts. Life vs. Art (No, wait, that’s wrong.) Kale vs. Not-kale. Here’s a smoky, spicy dish I make several times a week for lunch.

Superfood or Not Superfood? Don’t care. I just like kale. I came to it late in life—what a shock, just like everything else—at the bottom of a Heartwood Bowl in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

heartwood bowls

If you agree that kale is yummy and if you like spicy food, this is your jam, so to speak.


  • Canola cooking spray
  • 3 cups raw, clean kale
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (less is you’re a wuss)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet balsamic vinegar. In my effort to avoid salt, I’ve become an aficionado of sweet balsamic vinegars as a flavory replacement. If you have a access to a Costco, Kirkwood balsamic is great. Where we are, I use Roland balsamic.
  • As much Sriracha as you can stand
  • You’ll also need a skillet you don’t mind getting hot.

Making Spicy Seared Kale, AKA The Doorway to Hell (You’ll see what I mean.)

Note that this is really more guidance than precise instruction.

  1. Spray your skillet with cooking oil.
  2. Pack in the kale. (3 cups is about what I get into my skillet.)
  3. Spray some more canola vapor on top.
  4. Turn the skillet to High (This is how you know I’m not a real cook.)
  5. Turn on the fan to avoid family complaints.
  6. Sprinkle garlic powder over the kale as it sears.
  7. Get your vinegar handy.
  8. Stir the kale—some of the garlic makes contact with the skillet bottom.
  9. Stand back— it’s going to get smoky and sizzle up in here
  10. Distribute the vinegar over the kale. The vintage starts to caramelize.
  11. Remove the skillet from the hot burner.
  12. Add as much Sriracha as you think you can handle.
  13. Stir.
  14. Eat.