Kale with Garlic and Cranberries (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to see what that means.

Jump to Recipe

cooked kale with garlic and cranberries, served on a white plate

“Kale is my best friend.”
~ Alanis Morissette

I Didn’t Start Out Loving Kale

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.

Ad: Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – Buy Now


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 30 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):

adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Kale with Garlic and Cranberries

Kale with Garlic and Cranberries (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale (de-stemmed & chopped)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 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.
  5. Add cranberries & water. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add salt & pepper last, toss to coat, and enjoy!


  1. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try cooking the leftover kale stems instead of throwing them away. Here's a recipe: Smoky Sautéed Kale Stems.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop

You May Also Be Interested In

Do You Have My Books?

31 comments on “Kale with Garlic and Cranberries (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)”

  1. 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?

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. Hi Em. This is what I buy: Tierra Farm Organic Dried Cranberries. They have 3 ingredients: cranberries, apple juice as a sweetener, and sunflower oil. The sunflower oil isn’t ideal, but I don’t react to it, and I like the taste of these – they’re neither too sweet nor too sour. However, you can make your own honey-sweetened dried cranberries and avoid the oil altogether. Here’s a recipe: http://www.consciouseatery.com/2013/01/healthy-dried-cranberries.html

  4. 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! 🙂

  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. 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/

  7. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

  8. 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!

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Scroll to Top