Grilling, Side dish
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Grilled Kale with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I like kale. That’s the biggest surprise I’ve had writing this blog. I love all sorts of food; there are few foods I actively dislike. But greens and I have always had a stand-offish relationship. Kale chips changed all that. Suddenly, I was looking forward to those dark greens in my CSA box, and seeking them out at the grocery store.

As you can probably tell from reading this blog, I grill a lot. (I may have a grilling problem. Don’t tell anyone.) I tried to get kale chips to work on the grill, oh how I tried…but I kept failing. I couldn’t get the little chips off the grill quickly enough, and they would be blackened and ruined.

I stumbled across the solution earlier this summer. Don’t try to make chips; instead, grill the whole kale leaf, using the stem as a handle. Now I have the crispy crunch of kale chips with the convenience of a quick grilled side dish. Why didn’t I think of that?

Recipe: Grilled Kale with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Adapted from: Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food

Cooking time: 4 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stems left on
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


1. Coat the kale with the vinaigrette:
In a large bowl, whisk the extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Add the kale to the bowl and toss until coated with vinaigrette. (I start by grabbing the bunch of kale by the stems and using the bunch like a whisk. Then I use my fingers to comb through the leaves and coat them with vinaigrette). Sprinkle the kale evenly with the salt and pepper.

2. Prepare the grill:
Prepare the grill for cooking on medium heat, then clean with a grill brush. For my Weber summit, I preheat the grill with all burners on high for 15 minutes, then turn the burners down to medium and brush the grate clean.

3. Grill the kale:
Put the kale leaves in a single layer on the grill, over direct medium heat. Grill with the lid closed until the kale starts to brown on the edges, about 2 minutes. Flip the leaves and grill on the other side until they leaves turn a dark olive color and get crispy, another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the kale leaves from the grill as they turn olive, or they will burn.


  • Don’t crowd the grill. Depending on the size of your bunch of kale, you may have to grill the kale in batches. Don’t worry – it takes four minutes a batch, so you can do two or three batches in about ten minutes. 
  • Watch out for overcooking – they go from olive (and done) to black (and burnt) in a blink. As each leaf finishes, get it off the grill immediately.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Kale Chips
Kale Chips with Chinese Flavors

Adapted from:

Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food

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Filed under: Grilling, Side dish


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. jeaninaq says

    Thank you so much for this! I’m about to grill Kale for the first time for our Thanksgiving Dinner.
    I just needed the “how to”… it all makes sense now.
    You advice alleviated all my anxieties.

  2. Marcy Holmes says

    This is brilliant. Chips are also my husband’s favorite way to eat kale, and this looks a lot easier than our current method. Thank you!

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