Kale Greens w/ Brown Butter Sauce

Life is all about balance.

If you stuff your face with gallons of ice cream, you run an extra mile the next day.
If you eat some spicy hot wings, you cool ’em down with blue cheese.
If you forget your friend’s birthday, you buy them something really awesome to make up for it.
If you spend a whole night partying, you spend the next morning studying.

Haha I’m totally kidding about the last one. But the others hold true. As humans, we are constantly partaking in a complicated balancing act. We hover between one extreme and the other, and when we fall too far one way, we dive head first into the other to bring us back. Just as our daily lives require balance between things like having fun and working hard or being selfless and taking care of ourselves, food requires the same kind of  equilibrium.

Take sweet and salty food for example. You start with something supremely salty like nuts then balance them out with something sweet like chocolate. It might be hard to believe that balancing your life with a little bit of partying and a little bit of work could be better than just doing a whole lot of partying, but it’s clearly evident how beneficial the art of balance is when you look at food. Whether you’re talking texture, taste, or color, harmony is the key to deliciousness.

Now, let’s talk about a perfect illustration of balance at its best: Kale with Brown Butter Sauce. We start with something so incredibly good for you, fresh leafy kale, and we coat it in luscious brown butter. It’s a little bit of nutritious meets a little bit of sinfully delicious. If you’re going to be consuming something as healthy as kale, why not reward yourself with a bit of decadent brown butter sauce?

The pairing is extraordinary. The general rule is that anything with brown butter will be delicious, and this dish only further proves that so. That fresh, slightly crisp kale with the smooth, nutty brown butter is a pairing like no other. Toss in some sweet, tangy onions, and you’ve got more flavor than a lonely old lady has cats.

If you’re in need of a side dish that’s simple yet sophisticated, then these decadent greens are for you.The deep, nutty flavor of the brown butter seeps into your soul and warms you from the inside out. You won’t be able to put your fork down.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Kale not your thing? Try Escarole or Swiss Chard instead. Honestly, this brown butter sauce with onions would be delicious on any green veggie, broccoli rabe for example.
  2. Garlic is always welcome.
  3. You can use grated Parmesan instead of shredded.
  4. Watch the brown butter! It goes from browned to burnt quickly.

Kale Greens w/ Brown Butter Sauce
By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter.Let butter melt completely. It will begin to foam as it heats up. Let the butter turn golden and continue to cook, whisking every now and then. Watch for the butter to turn a deep golden brown. Flecks will begin to form in the bottom of the pan and it will smell nutty. Remove from heat immediately; it turns burnt quickly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the kale and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer until kale is wilted, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the brown butter sauce over top and stir to coat. Serve immediately with cheese on top.

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Colleen Bierstine


  1. Oh Colleen, I am sure you know my obsession with brown butter by now, so this recipe is after my own heart! Yes, a little brown butter makes EVERYTHING better. Everything. Great wonderful recipe. And I like your lead in about moderation. Perfect justification for adding a little brown butter to everything. 😉

  2. Yes, kale is the perfect follow up after that rich bunny cake. It does have the best nutritional value out of all the leafy veggies. No doubt the brown butter does amazing things to the overall taste of this dish, not to mention the cheese! Delicious and healthy post-well done!

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