Kale with Bacon and Cherries

I gather you have figured out that I’m not exactly a health nut at this point. I get about 50% of my “nutrition” from Tex Mex and chocolate chip cookies. But this is a lay-up, if you will excuse the artifact of a basket-ball reference.

Kale has been “hot” this year. I hate trends. Have you seen the way I dress? Perhaps not. Blue jeans…white t-shirts…tennis shoes…boots if I’m feeling it. What goes up must come down. What comes in must go out. I hate it when something I have liked for 20 years becomes “in” to style because I have to put it away for 5 years, lest someone think I’m attempting to be current with my choices. Imagine my horror when I heard that pie was the new black.

Anyway, kale has been quite the “in” vegetable with the food crowd this year. And I had never eaten it and I’ve been avoiding it like the plague, so now that it is 5 minutes away from going out of season, I bought some. I recently ate at our neighborhood home-style restaurant, Celebration, which makes a concerted effort to highlight seasonal vegetables and fruits, and they had a kale dish that was stupendous. I had to try to make something similar.

This is great. It is basically a cabbage cousin, and a collard green cousin. And, little did I know, it is so packed with vitamins as to almost be comical. You need to try this if you have not already. Apparently steaming is optimal for retaining the health benefits of the plant. I boiled it. Next time I will steam it. Some people cook kale into absolute submission, like collards. I actually like for it to remain slightly firm so I only boiled it for 4 to 5 minutes. You will have to make that call on your own. This is a vegetable that you should try, and if you like it, put it into heavy rotation in your kitchen. As I said, it is a lay-up, a free dummy, a gimmee.

A tip on kale, much like leeks, these leaves can hold on to dirt like nobody’s business. When you separate them, wash each leaf thoroughly. You will likely find a little river of dirt in each stem crevice.

Kale with Bacon and Cherries
Recipe type: Side
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3
Kale simmered with garlic and dried cherries topped with bacon and a splash of soy sauce.
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and thick stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ⅔ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • sea salt (or kosher salt) to taste
  1. Cook the kale in a pot of simmering water for 4 to 5 minutes, pushing the leaves into the water with a large spoon, as necessary. Drain the kale into a colander and rinse the leaves with cold water to stop further cooking. Leave the kale in the colander to drain.
  2. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the bacon pieces, and the whole garlic cloves. Cook until the bacon is browned and crisp, and then remove the bacon and garlic to a paper towel lined plate. If the garlic is browning too quickly, use a fork to remove it before the bacon. Garlic goes from perfect to awful fairly quickly.
  3. Add the chicken broth to the pot. Pour it carefully into the pot because the bacon grease and hot pan will cause a lot of bubbling. Scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom and return the garlic to the pot to finish cooking, as well as the dried cherries. Cover and allow the broth to simmer with the garlic and the cherries until the garlic is softened. Add more broth, if necessary, to ensure that the pot doesn’t dry out. Your goal is to end up with about a quarter to a half cup of sauce at the bottom of the pot. Once the garlic is softened, mash it with the backside of a fork.
  4. Remove excess water from the kale by pressing on it gently with a paper towel. Place the kale on a chopping board and cut it up into chunks. Add the kale and the soy sauce to the pot. Stir the kale into the soy sauce and the pan sauce. Add the chopped bacon and stir it to combine. Season as needed with sea salt.

Notes: The sea salt I used in this dish has a lovely maroon pink color. It is from Hawaii. Whole Foods carries it in their bulk foods aisle.



  1. says

    What do you know?! I just bought some fresh baby kale this morning from Signora Rita who sells veggies out of her garden. We’ll have this dish tomorrow evening. Welcome to the healthy side of eating, Kelly.

  2. says

    Looks yummy to me! Such a unique combination I love dried cherries and anything with bacon – can’t wait to try this one! If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, try their Applewood Smoked Bacon – deeeeeeelicious!

  3. Rhonda says

    Can’t believe it took me this long to come across your blog! And can’t wait to try the kale dish; me too, never tried it, felt a little intimidated I think. Now. I know something to do with it . . . and it sounds so good! Love your entire site. (I generally cook for one – so, of course, I started with your CrockPot brisket, cooking right now :-) guess I’ll feed the office gang on Monday.)

  4. Kelly says

    Hi Rhonda! I’m glad you found me. Let me know how you like the kale if you try it. You will not be disappointed in the brisket either. It is a consistent winner. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you return often.

  5. Kathy says

    Bought Toscano kale at the Coppell Farmer’s Market last Saturday. Made your recipe, but without the soy sauce and substituting cherry-essence dried cranberries. Yummy!

  6. Karen Mertens says

    I discovered kale from an International student from Zambia. I like it. Olive Garden has a great soup, zuppa toscana, that has kale in it. When I try to duplicate the soup I add more kale than OG so I can feel there is something healthy happening in the cream based soup. I also find that Oreo, the pet rabbit, has a great appreciation for kale.

  7. Charlene says

    This sounds good and I just bought a 4-lb. bag of dried cherries from Amazon. (WHAT was I thinking???) Anyway, I don’t blanche or steam kale before sauteing and it is delicious. I just wish I had grown some this fall.


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