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Recipe | Citrus Sesame Kale

Citrus Sesame Kale

Citrus Sesame Kale
So tell me, how was your Thanksgiving weekend? Did you eat a lot of food? Are you feeling a little bit sick right now? Need something light and healthy for dinner?

Yeah, me too. As I mentioned on Friday, our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of some semi-Thanksgivingish things from Whole Foods (twice baked potatoes? Why not!), so we just got enough for one meal and we didn’t have any leftovers. I was feeling pretty good about not having days worth of mashed potatoes or pie in the fridge, but then I made brownies. Sugary, buttery super rich Mexican chocolate brownies.

Ugh, you guys, no more brownies. Or sweet potatoes. Or stuffing. No! More! Can we just talk about salads and ice water this week?

Citrus Sesame Kale Ingredients
The good thing about holiday over-indulgence is that when it’s all over, I feel more motivated to eat healthy. There’s nothing like a night spent regretting eating that extra Thanksgiving brownie (and topping it with gelato–oh yeah, that happened) to help get you back on track, right?

So here’s a recipe that’s light and healthy–Citrus Sesame Kale. And it’s also easy, because after Thanksgiving, I bet you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking either. This serves 4 as a side dish, but you can add some baked tofu or marinated tempeh and it could easily serve two as a light main dish.

Citrus Sesame Kale
Kale is definitely my favorite green. There are other greens that I eat because they’re healthy even though I don’t really like them (spinach, I’m looking at you), but kale is a green I will actually look forward to eating. Some people say kale is bitter, but I’ve never found that to be true. (I’m not saying they’re liars, but I think I might be missing a tastebud or something.) To me, it’s earthy and chewy and delightful. Yes, delightful!

There’s nothing creamy in here. Nothing rich. It’s just what you need when you’ve got a post-holiday food hangover.


Citrus Sesame Kale

Citrus Sesame Kale Recipe

A light, easy Asian-inspired side dish made with kale, fresh orange juice, and sesame seeds.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tsp. sesame oil (I used toasted)
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale (about 3/4 lb.), tough stems removed & leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add kale and stir until coated with oil. Stir in soy sauce and orange juice; cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until kale is softened.
  2. Stir in sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (if using) and serve.

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  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I love kale! I’ll have to try this sometime. It sounds delish!

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    November 26, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I hate to admit I’m late to the kale thing. I’ve been working it into recipes about once per week for the past couple of months but so far my favorite use has been smoothies and pesto. I keep wanting to try it as a salad but “massaging” it seems wrong. Maybe a simple saute like this! It looks absolutely fantastic.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      I’m not crazy about raw kale, actually. I like it sauteed a lot more and I feel like that’s easier than massaging–heat a wee bit of oil, throw the kale in, stir it around, and let it steam until wilted. Easy peasy.

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    November 26, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I can’t jump on the kale bandwagon, the Mr and I aren’t fans of the taste BUT I’m betting these flavors would work on spinach just fine! ๐Ÿ™‚ Either way I’ll be checkin’ my teeth. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Yeah, it would definitely work with spinach. Nasty, slimy spinach. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll take my kale, thankyouverymuch!

  • Reply
    Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    November 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I love these flavor combos – sounds like it would be great with the Kale!! Just what I need to be eating this week ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

    LOVE Kale!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    November 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

    After all the heavy food we’ve been eating, this looks so refreshing! And I think I can pretty much eat kale every day, so it’s great to have a new way of preparing it.

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    November 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I’m sad to miss those Mexican chocolate brownies! I had no left overs either and was kinda sad. That’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving! But you’re right, I should definitely be eating salad and ice water this week ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      The brownies were insane. Insaaaane. I think I’m going to make them again for Christmas.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Following In My Shoes
    November 26, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Love it — it’s very similar to something I experimented with a couple of weeks ago, only we served it topped with marinated steak. Kale. Is. The. Bomb.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      I was going to add a protein to this, but the husband and I really just wanted kale. Just leaves, nothing else please. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    suzi fichman
    November 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

    is this toasted sesame oil or raw? i bet raw but want to be sure. i am gonna make this tonite!!! thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      I used toasted, although either would work. I just added a note to the recipe–thanks for pointing that out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Yes, We need some healthy stuff after holiday eating. Kale is one of my favorite leafy green.

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits
    November 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I heart Kale. And I am in seriously need after a very gluttonous past few days.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Love this. Kale is my #1 favorite veggie. I appreciate a new idea for it. What program are you using to may your tryptich photos?

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

      I use Photoshop, although Photoshop Elements works too. I know other bloggers use PicMonkey (which is free), but I haven’t used that one myself…

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    November 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I will have to give this a try too. You can’t never have too much healthy food, you know? I have been eating Brussels sprouts for a week, and my husband commented: you are not normal. I wonder what he will say if I eat kale the whole week next time ;-))

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Ha! I think I could eat Brussels sprouts for a week straight too. ๐Ÿ˜€ I just found a recipe for Brussels sprout chips and now I just have to make those!

  • Reply
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
    November 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    i am in love with anything kale. I am going to try this tonight!

  • Reply
    Jennifer The Quirky Momma
    November 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Kale is a new love for me. I really don’t know what to do with it besides saute in olive oil and garlic. Thanks for giving me a new kale recipe to try. Maybe I can get the kids to try it now?

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Have you tried kale chips? I need to give them a try again because my first time making them didn’t turn out so well, but a lot of people eat kale like that and it’s probably a little more kid-friendly than a saute. Or, at least as kid-friendly as kale can possibly be. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    November 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Why am I so afraid of kale? I love veggies so I don’t know why I hesitate with this one.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

      Do you like other greens? I do, but I like kale a lot more because it’s less bitter and it doesn’t get slimy when you cook it like spinach does. So I think if you like other greens, you’d definitely like kale. And if you don’t like other greens, then you might like kale. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    It’s so funny how the holidays leave us feeling that way. I always feel the same about sweets and avoid them for a long time after. I could your kale recipe year long and never get tired of it. Thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    ugh! if only i wasn’t the only one in my family who liked kale! i’d totally try out this recipe. i may have to try it out anyway and cross my fingers that at least my husband will try it. my daughter is a no on anything but carrots, cucumbers, peas, corn and green beans (she’s 3 is all i can say). but maybe because there is an asian twist on it, i might be able to get them to at least try it. looks good!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Yeah, if it’s the flavor of kale that they don’t like, they might like this because there are a lot of other things going on here–sesame oil, garlic, ginger, orange juice. But if it’s the texture, well, it’s definitely chewy and kale-like. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Cassie | Bake Your Day
    November 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Stunning photos, Kiersten! I think sesame seeds are one of my favorite things. I love kale too. This is my kind of dish!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Thank you! I took time off for Thanksgiving and spent it experimenting with different lighting & set-ups for my photos. I was really happy with how these turned out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    What a lovely way to get your greens!

  • Reply
    Diane (createdbydiane)
    November 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    looks so good, I just love green veggies and sesame seeds are WONDERFUL!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    What an easy, healthy and definitely tasty kale recipe! Need to pick some up on my next co-op trip!

  • Reply
    Sara @my less serious life
    November 27, 2012 at 6:56 am

    haha yes! let’s only talk about salads for a week – i completely agree!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I love how light this recipe is – we could definitely use some lighter fare during this holiday season!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

    YOu and Jeanette both posted sesame kale recipes practically on the same day. Love them both!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

      I know! I guess I wasn’t the only one craving greens after Thanksgiving. ๐Ÿ™‚

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