recipe: kale & cheddar gratin

Do you eat kale because it’s a nutritional power house? That’s fine and dandy, but this probably isn’t the kale recipe you’re looking for.

For me, this dish is a lot like mac & cheese without the mac. It makes a delightful side dish.

Kale Gratin

1 pound kale, washed, stemmed, and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (I used all purpose)
1 1/5 cups milk (I used whole)
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a tablespoon of olive oil, for greasing the baking pan

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Wash, stem, and chop up the kale into small pieces. Add a couple tablespoons of water to a large stockpot and add the kale. Cook the kale over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes, or just until it’s started to wilt. Drain the kale through a colander and squeeze out a little bit of the liquid. Let the kale continue to drain as you grate the cheddar cheese.

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat. Stir the flour into the butter, then add the milk a couple tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly until the mixture has formed a thick and smooth sauce. Add salt, pepper, turmeric (if using), and nutmeg. Add in the cheese, stirring constantly until melted.

Grease a baking pan (mine was 8″ x 8″) with olive oil and add the kale. Pour the cheese sauce over the kale and tip the baking pan back and forth to make sure all the kale is covered in cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. If you’d like the gratin to have a nice brown top, add it to the broiler for 3-5 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Originally posted in January 2011

Share your thoughts. Don't be a weenie.
  1. Renee says:

    I need to go buy kale now. That looks so good!

  2. Rose says:

    You’ll love it, Renee!

  3. Eileen says:

    Hey, I eat kale because it’s delicious! We will even put it in mac and cheese–but I never thought to eliminate the mac and just make a completely kale-filled gratin. Thanks for the great idea!

  4. Renee says:

    Just made it…YUM!!!! I think next time I’d add onions because I love them and think everything’s better with them, but holy cow this was good. I’m definitely gonna use the cheese sauce for macaroni the next time I make homemade pasta. Thanks, roseo!