5 Minute Creamy Kale (Vegan, Whole30)

This simple creamy kale is going to become one of your go-to side dishes for busy nights! The creamy lemon sauce makes this kale go from boring to exciting without a ton of extra work! I promise this recipe will actually make you love kale!

White bowl of creamy kale with a lemon in the background
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Why this recipe works?

  • Ready in just 5 minutes, this vegan creamy kale pairs well with almost any meal and is a great way to add more veggies to any meal!
  • The creamy lemon sauce is just 5 ingredients and is so easy to make!
  • Never suffer through eating boring kale again! Once you try this creamed kale recipe, you will be hooked! Great for fancy dinners, weeknight meals or even serving at the holidays! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, Whole30 and low carb friendly so is sure to please anyone at the table!

Tips for cooking with kale:

Kale needs acid to taste better. For raw kale salads, it’s best to massage the kale in a little vinegar or lemon juice and olive oil or avocado oil before adding the rest of the ingredients. This starts breaking down the kale and changes the taste and texture so that it’s less earthy and more delicious. Creamy dressings work well too since the kale can stand up to the weight of the dressing.

When cooking kale, the same basic principles are true. Add vinegar or lemon juice to cut through the bitter taste. Kale can handle creamy sauces or just a drizzle of olive oil or avocado oil (good fats are important for absorbing those vitamins and minerals)! The creamy sauce is my secret weapon to making kale crave-able!

How to make 5 Minute Creamy Kale?

  • Step 1: Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ½ tbsp. olive oil to the skillet and add the kale to start wilting down.
  • Step 2: Add the creamy lemon sauce ingredients to a small bowl (nut butter, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder and salt).
  • Step 3: Add 2-3 tbsp of water to thin out the sauce as needed, you don’t want the sauce to be too thick or it won’t coat the leaves easily.
  • Step 4: Once the kale has started to wilt down, turn off the stove.
  • Step 5: Add the creamy lemon sauce to the kale and stir well.
  • Step 6: Serve hot!
Steps on how to make creamy kale

How to prepare kale for cooking

  1. Start by de-stemming the kale.
    1. Hold the thick stem in one hand and use your other hand to wrap around the stalk, pulling down the entire kale leaf in one motion, The stem will be left in one hand and the kale leaf will be in the other.
  2. Quickly chop or tear the kale in bite size pieces.

What is the best kale to use?

Dinosaur kale (sometimes called Tuscan or Lacinato kale) is great in this recipe. You can usually find it at most health food stores and even in some regular grocery stores. It does not have the curly edges like traditional kale and it cooks down quickly.

Regular green or red kale would also be great in this recipe. Be sure to remove any thick stalks before cooking, as those will not break down quick enough in 5 minutes.

Time saving tip: you can find washed and chopped kale at most grocery stores in large 3 pound bags. Just be sure that when you are using the pre-chopped kale, that you pick out any large stems before cooking.

Bowl of creamy kale with a wooden spoon to the side


What other greens can you cook this way?

  • Collard greens, thinly sliced
  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Arugula

What nut butters can you use in this recipe?

Bowl of creamy kale with a lemon in background and wooden spoon

Can you use frozen kale?

Yes! However, frozen kale often has a lot of water in it, so you will likely have to cook it for a few more minutes to ensure you have fully defrosted the kale and cooked the excess water out of it before adding the sauce.

How to store leftover creamy kale?

Fridge: Store leftover creamed kale in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight container. Warm it up in the microwave or over low heat on the stove.

Freezer: You can freeze this creamy kale for up to 3 months. After freezing, the texture will be much different though. Since it cooks so quickly, I recommend eating it fresh if possible.

If you love this recipe, you should try

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Large bowl of creamy kale with a juiced lemon and a bottle of olive oil in the background

5 Minute Creamy Kale

$2.24 Recipe/$0.56 Serving
This recipe for 5 minute creamy kale is going to become one of your go-to side dishes for dinner! It’s so simple to make and only has a few ingredients! Vegan, Whole30, paleo, gluten free, grain free, low carb and allergy friendly! 
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy kale, lemony kale
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Guided Recipe Video


  • 1 pound kale, chopped - $1.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced - $0.21
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (almond butter, tahini, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter) - $0.23
  • 1 tbsp olive oil - $0.22
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt - $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder - $0.05
  • 2-3 tbsp water - $0.00


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. 
  • De-stem and chop the kale into bite size pieces.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. 
  • Add the chopped kale to the olive oil and stir well. 
  • While the kale is cooking down, make the sauce by combining the rest of the olive oil, nut butter, lemon juice, salt and 2 tbsp. of water in a small bowl. Stir well until combined. 
  • Pour this mixture over the kale and stir well. Cook 1 minute. Add 1 tbsp. of water if needed. Serve hot. 


What nut butters can you use in this recipe?
  • Almond butter
  • Tahini
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Walnut butter
What other greens can you cook this way?
  • Collard greens, thinly sliced
  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Arugula

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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  1. I added some sautéed mushrooms and it was yummy!
    I used the whole batch of dressing in a smaller head of kale and it was a little too much dressing for the amount kale
    My error!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow, somehow this is sooo good! I don’t LOVE kale but I might now. Great simple recipe, thanks!

    1. Update – I just used the sauce over roasted brussel sprouts and that is just as good. I need more stars to rate this higher then a 5.

  3. I was skeptical how the nut butter would work with the kale. I actually loved it! I used frozen kale and tahini. Definitely requires a repeat performance. It was quick, easy and tasty. Thank you.

  4. That was yummy. I prepared it with slight moderation of adding coconut milk and it was tasty. Thank you for the recipe

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