Braised Kale with Pancetta

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Braised Kale with pancetta, garlic, and onion, a healthy side dish to pair with any protein, is a tasty way to eat your greens!

Braised Kale with PancettaBraised Kale with Pancetta
Braised Kale with Pancetta

This simple kale recipe with seven ingredients is so delicious. Pancetta gives the kale flavor, while a splash of vinegar adds a touch of acid that works so well with leafy greens like kale. And did I mention that kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet? If you want more kale ideas, try it raw in a salad, like this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Parmesan and Pecans or Harvest Kale Salad with Roasted Winter Squash.

Braised Kale with PancettaBraised Kale with Pancetta

What is the difference between bacon and pancetta?

Bacon and pancetta are cured meats made from pork belly, but bacon is smoked, while pancetta is not. They are very similar and can often be substituted interchangeably.

Braised Kale Ingredients

  • Pancetta: Dice two ounces of pancetta.
  • Onion: Chop one white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Mince two garlic cloves.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Omit if you prefer milder food.
  • Chicken Broth: Choose reduced-sodium broth. Vegetable broth would also work.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: If you’re out of red wine vinegar, swap it with apple cider or white wine vinegar.
  • Kale: You’ll need three bunches of flat kale, like lacinato kale. Remove the stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

How to Braise Kale

  • Cook Pancetta: Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and cook the pancetta for about eight minutes until it’s crisp. Transfer the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • Cook the Vegetables: Add the onion and salt to the pancetta fat and sauté for five minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Pour in the broth to deglaze the pan, and stir in the kale, vinegar, and more salt.
  • Cover and simmer the greens on medium-low until it’s tender but not mushy. If the broth evaporates, pour in a little water to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn. Top it with pancetta and serve.


pancettasauteed onionssauteed onionskalekaleBraised KaleBraised Kale

More Kale Recipes You’ll Love:

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Braised Kale with Pancetta 


115 Cals 6.5 Protein 12 Carbs 5.5 Fats

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 35 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Braised Kale with Pancetta, garlic, and onion, a healthy side dish to pair with any protein, is a tasty way to eat your greens!

  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 bunches flat kale, stemmed and torn (14 oz/17 cups total)
  • Heat a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven over medium-low heat, add the pancetta and cook until it’s crisp, about 8 minutes.

  • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon reserving the fat.

  • To the same pot, add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned and fragrant.

  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for just 20 to 30 seconds, before the garlic scorches.

  • Add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, and stir in the kale.

  • Add a splash of red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer on medium-low stirring occasionally until the kale becomes tender, but not mushy, about 18 to 20 minutes.

  • If the broth evaporates, add a little more water to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

  • Serve topped with pancetta.

Serving: 11/4 cups, Calories: 115kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 6.5g, Fat: 5.5g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 176mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5.5g

Keywords: braised kale, pancetta, vegetable side dishes

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