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Southern Braised Kale

Easy Southern Braised Kale with Turkey Bacon

This super easy and delicious recipe for Southern Braised Kale with turkey bacon is the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal. If you're looking for a healthy alternative or simply a break from the normal greens or cabbage, I highlight suggest adding these super greens to your menu! I like to add turkey bacon and beef sausage to this recipe to kick the flavors up a notch, but feel free to omit for a vegetarian side dish!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Kale Soak Time 1 hr
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 cups


  • 5 Bushels Fresh Kale (yields about 8 cups) Removed from stem, washed, and chopped
  • 2 Cups Kale Stems, chopped
  • 1 cup Chopped Turkey Bacon omit for vegetarian option
  • 1 cup Chopped Beef Sausage omit for vegetarian option
  • 3 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 Lemon Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Tony Chachere Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cups Water chicken or veggie broth may be used here


Prepping Your Kale

  • Tear the kale leaves off the stem and then tear them into smaller pieces. Add your prepared kale to your sink and fill it with hot water.   Give the leaves a good massage with your fingers and really shake through the leaves. Drain the water and refill at least 3 times. During the final wash, I like to add a cap full of ACV and salt and allow the kale to soak for an hour or so. This helps soften the kale and cuts down on stovetop cook time.

Kale Base

  • Cook your turkey bacon and beef sausage until brown and crispy. Rendering all the fat from the meat. Given that both of these meats contain little to no fat the coconut oil really helps add more flavor to the base. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon ensuring that the drippings from the meat remain in the pot.
  • Add 2 tbs of coconut oil to a stockpot. Brown chopped onion, garlic, and seasonings in the stockpot until onions are translucent and soft. Ensuring the vegetables absorb the flavors of the meat renderings.
  • Add chopped kale stems to the pot and cover with 2 cups of water (or chicken broth) and boil until soft. about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Should water get low, add more.
  • Add kale and continue to cook until soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow simmering for 1 hour.
  • Once cooked down add meat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Keyword healthy side dish, Holiday Side Dish, Roasted quinoa skillet with spinach and kale, Sauteed Kale, Southern Braised Kale, thanksgiving side dish, vegan side dish, vegetarian friendly