Kale with Garlic and Cranberries

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(Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls)

Kale with Cranberries | Phoenix Helix

“Kale is my best friend.” ~ Alanis Morissette


I’ve got to be honest with you: the first few times I tried kale, I didn’t like it at all. I thought it was tough, bitter, and I wanted no part of it. Then I discovered Lacinato Kale: a variety that holds all of the nutrition without all the bitterness. Throw in a little garlic and a handful of dried cranberries, and I’m in love. I make this recipe every week.


Dr. Terry Wahls says, “When in doubt, choose kale.” Once you see the nutritional profile for this amazing green, you’ll understand why it comes so highly recommended.

1 cup of raw, chopped kale contains:

  • 864% of your daily need for Vitamin K (works together with Vitamin D to promote bone strength and a healthy heart). If you’re thinking, ‘Whoa! That’s a lot.’ Rest assured that unless you are taking prescription blood thinners, there’s no risk of eating too much Vitamin K. Most people don’t eat enough.
  • 206% of your daily need for Vitamin A (works together with Vitamin D to regulate the immune system, especially important for those with autoimmune disorders).
  • 134% of your daily need for Vitamin C (needed for the growth & repair of every tissue in your body).
  • A blend of B Vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, b6 and folate); all B vitamins are essential to mitochondrial function, which is the focus of the Wahls Diet.
  • A blend of minerals: (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese).
  • Glucosinolates (which are linked to cancer prevention).
  • Over 45 different flavonoids (which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects).

Garlic is medicinal as well, offering all of the following benefits:

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • And it also supports iron metabolism, helping to prevent and treat anemia, a condition that often coincides with autoimmune disease.


As kale’s popularity has grown, more varieties are showing up in grocery stores and farmers markets. The two most common are Curly Kale and Lacinato Kale. Curly Kale tends to be a little more bitter. Lacinato Kale has a bunch of alternate names just to confuse shoppers keep us on our toes: Cavolo Nero, Tuscan, Black, and Dinosaur Kale. So, instead of going by name, a picture might be helpful (photos courtesy of the Territorial Seed Company):

photo of curly kalePhoto of lacinato kale (aka the rest)


Recipe: Kale with Cranberries
adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large bunch of lacinato kale (de-stemmed & chopped)
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup water
sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste (optional – omit for AIP)


  1. Mince your garlic first and allow it to rest while you prepare the other ingredients. This allows it to release the medicinal compound – allicin.
  2. If you’ve never had kale before, you’ll notice the stems are quite hard. Peel the leaves off the stems, and throw the stems away. Then chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or soup pot over medium heat. (I use a soup pot to keep the kale from flying around the kitchen during the “tossing” part of the next step.)
  4. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add kale and toss to coat evenly with the oil. Sauté a few minutes, just until leaves start to wilt.
  5. Add cranberries & water. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add salt & pepper last, toss to coat, and enjoy!

Looking for another delicious way to cook nutritious greens? Try:
Coconut Creamed Collard Greens

Coconut Creamed Collard Greens

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Kale Activism

I’ll end with a story of a man who is fighting Chik-Fil-A for the right to sell “Eat More Kale” T-shirts out of his garage. Chik-Fil-A claims it’s too close to their “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign. Seriously? (You gotta love a David & Goliath story).

This post is linked to the following blog carnivals:
Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Whole Food Friday, Weekend Whatever Link-Up, What Am I Eating?, Sunday School, Make Your Own Monday, Natural Living Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday, Healthy Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simply Lives Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Wellness Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Eating Inside the Box,

Kale with Cranberries | Phoenix Helix
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35 thoughts on “Kale with Garlic and Cranberries

  1. Hi,
    I love the story and I had lots of kale in my garden which I use during winter seasons Please keep sending interest story which I share with my friends and family and they loved your story and now they are trying to follow the diet.

    • I disliked all veggies as a kid, and now I can’t get enough (making up for lost time)! It’s wild what a difference the brightness of the dried cranberries makes. I hope your children love it as much as we do.

  2. Yum! This looks delicious! And something I will be making this week since I have a ton of kale in my fridge at the moment…and dried cranberries in the cupboard! Thank you for sharing at what i am eating!

    • Hi Becca. Definitely grow some! It tastes nothing like spinach. Spinach is sweeter; kale can be a little bitter, but cooked this way it’s delicious (no bitterness at all.) The texture is also different. Spinach has a higher water content, which makes it softer. Kale is chewier. It’s become one of my favorite vegetables.

  3. Great post, Eileen! We love kale in our house, too. We have it steamed, in salads, marinated, in soup, as chips, in green juice… and your salad looks wonderful!

    Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday. I’ve pinned it 🙂

  4. I LOVE kale! It’s my favorite food 🙂 I also love the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook and love that you shared an adaptation! Great recipe, and thanks for sharing it on Wildcrafting Wednesday! I make a massaged kale salad you might be interested in, where you massage the kale with salt and it eliminates the bitterness while retaining more of the nutrients. It’s really tasty and has cranberries in it too. http://www.sustaincreateandflow.com/massaged-kale-salad/

  5. I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!!!! I only had curly kale but don’t I mind it. I also used coconut oil instead. I tasted it and fell in love… 🙂 After I had tasted it, the only other change I made was I added 1TBS nutrional yeast, it was still very yummy!!! I’ll definetly be making this again. Thank you for the recipe.

  6. Yum!! I have a huge bag of baby kale to use up right now. I know I’ll have to use a shorter cooking time, but I’m going to try it out. We’ve been using the vitamix to bled it into eggs and soups. Tomorrow I’m using it in lentil stew.

    Thanks for linking up to Wellness Wednesday, I’ll be featuring you again this week! 🙂

  7. I have not been able to find dried cranberries without sugar. Have you?
    When I made my own in my dehydrator, it took several days and they turned out too astringent to eat.
    I’ve heard that organic dried cranberries coated with honey exist, but haven’t found them.

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  9. Made a double batch of this as a side for Thanksgiving! My family was a bit afraid of it so I had a big bunch of it left over. My better half decided it would be a good idea to eat it cold with a can of smoked oysters thrown in… let me tell you something this dish is excellent with smoked oysters which makes it an even bigger nutrient boost with all the zinc! Thanks for sharing all these great recipes with us!

  10. I’ve been sautéing kale in coconut oil with chopped cranberries, garlic salt and a few chopped walnuts. What difference would adding the water make?

    • It’s called a saute-steam technique, and I’ve used it with many vegetables. It cooks them faster. Your variation sounds delicious, apelila.

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