Creamed Kale

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Creamed Kale is a delicious and healthy side dish made with fresh kale, parmesan cheese, milk, butter, and cream cheese. Not only is it loaded with essential nutrients, but this 20-minute dish is full of mouth-watering flavor that the whole family will love.


With the holidays fast approaching, I have been desperate for some quick and easy side dishes that even the pickiest of eaters would love. Alongside these delicious Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes and this Healthy Broccoli Casserole, I have been stocking up on healthier recipes that are guaranteed to have people drooling.

Creamed Kale is a win on so many levels. Not only is it full of iron, calcium, and a boatload of other nutrients, but the creamy sauce makes this veggie side dish taste absolutely indulgent. It’s the perfect twist on a classic.

Much like its popular cousin — this delicious Creamed Spinach dish — Creamed Kale is the perfect, healthy side dish to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner this year. That being said, this dish is way too delicious to limit to only the holiday season.

This tender, creamy kale is a quick and easy side dish that is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Busy moms, you’re gonna love it. This dish pairs beautifully with grilled chicken, slow cooker beef, or lean steak for a crave-worthy, well-balanced dinner that will get your kids to eat their veggies, guaranteed. Try it out for yourself and see!

Kale cooked in cream sauce with crispy Parmesan cheese in a baking dish with two spoons.

What You’ll Need

To make this healthy side dish recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Kale: The star of the show! Kale is one of those superfoods that is packed with essential nutrients and has very few calories. It has a strong and earthy taste that pairs incredibly with this delicious cream sauce.
  • Reduced-fat cream cheese: This will become the base for our delicious, cream sauce, so make sure to find a brand that you love! I prefer to use reduced-fat cream cheese to keep it on the lighter side, but feel free to swap it out for regular.
  • Nonfat milk: Using nonfat milk helps keep the fat content low, but you can also use low-fat milk, whole milk, or a dairy-free substitute like almond milk.
  • Butter: Let’s be honest, butter makes everything better. It enhances flavor and adds a depth of rich creaminess that makes this dish melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Feel free to swap it out for olive oil, if needed.
  • Parmesan cheese: Parmesan is the icing on the cake to this delicious kale recipe. I love melting some into the sauce and sprinkling some on top for an extra dose of cheesiness.

Recipe Tips

Want to make the best kale side dish that your family has ever had? Of course you do! To help with that, here are some of my top tips and tricks:

  • For best results, remove the stems from the kale. You can do this either with a sharp knife or your fingers. If using your hands, start at the bottom and pull upwards, which should pull the leafy greens from the stems. Then, proceed as normal.
  • Swap your cheese. Not a fan of parmesan? No problem! Mozzarella, feta, and manchego cheese all work great as well.
  • Make it ahead. You can make Creamed Kale 1-2 days before serving, which makes it great for meal prepping or making ahead in preparation for Thanksgiving (or really, just any busy weeknight).

How to Serve Creamed Kale

This delicious kale recipe is super versatile, so you really can serve it with just about anything! However, if you need some inspiration, here are some of my favorite ways to serve this dish:

  • With your favorite meats. Pork, chicken, and beef all taste great alongside this creamy kale dish. Personally, I love pairing it with this Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Beef or this Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pork Tenderloin with Pears entrée.
  • With bread. A warm loaf of sourdough or baguette works great for dunking into this creamy kale side dish.
  • With chips. Creamed Kale is essentially your favorite spinach dip, but just a little bit better. Pile it onto some fresh pita chips for a fresh take on this delicious side dish or appetizer.
  • With pasta. A big bowl of Creamed Kale is a great way to jazz up your traditional pasta night. Try serving it as a pasta sauce with some whole-wheat pasta or this Garlic Spaghetti Squash for a lighter, low-carb option.

How to Store This Dish

Creamed Kale is a great dish for making ahead of time. So, whether you’re getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner or just another busy week, storing this delicious kale recipe is a piece of cake.

To store, let the dish cool and seal your leftovers in an airtight storage bag or container. You can then store them in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3 months.

When it comes time to reheat frozen kale, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat it over low heat on the stove.

Creamed parmesan kale with tender kale in a light cream sauce with melted Parmesan cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this low-carb side dish:

Can I use frozen kale?

Absolutely! Although fresh is best, you can definitely use frozen kale if that is what you have on hand. Just make sure you properly steam and drain it before tossing it into the skillet.

Should I blanch my kale?

There’s no need to blanch your kale for this recipe. (Blanching, for reference, refers to placing your uncooked kale in boiling water, taking it out, then placing it in cold water.) Because this dish cooks for 15 minutes, you don’t have to take that extra step.

Is this dish healthy?

Yes! Kale is so good for you in so many different ways. Not only is it full of essential nutrients and vitamins, but kale is incredibly low in calories, making this dish very nutrient-dense. Also, because we are using nonfat milk and reduced-fat cream cheese, this low-carb dish is much healthier than many of its alternatives.

Baked creamed kale with a crispy topping in a baking dish with kale and Parmesan on the side.

More Healthy Side Dish Recipes

If you liked this healthy side dish, try these next:

The Recipe
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Creamed Kale

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  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1.5 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/16 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 16 oz kale

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Microwave, steam, or saute the kale until tender. Drain any excess liquid. You can also use frozen defrosted kale.

Cooked kale in a white bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and when melted, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute until it begins to brown. Whisk the milk in slowly.

Garlic, onion, and butter cooking in a skillet with milk being poured in.

Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cream cheese. Stir gently until melted. Add the kale and stir together.

Kale being added to a cheesy cream sauce.

Pour into a baking dish coated with cooking spray and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

Creamed kale with a crispy parmesan topping in a baking dish.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 123
Calories from Fat 53
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 17mg
Sodium 229mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 3g
Protein 7g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Creamed Kale
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January 7, 2021 - 16:17
Add a Rating:
This is a delicious recipe. I didn't have any cream cheese so I substituted Boursin cheese. It was still very good.
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November 17, 2020 - 16:59
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This was delicious! I subbed sour cream for the cream cheese.
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Jennifer Couse
January 2, 2017 - 05:42
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Made this for a dinner party and it got rave reviews! Thank you, it's delicious. I'm using the leftovers to serve with poached eggs for breakfast. Similar to an eggs florentine.
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