Steamed Kale with Fennel & Orange

Here’s a fun way to brighten up your winter greens: fresh orange juice and zest! The fennel seeds bring out the sweetness of orange. I learned this recipe from my good friend Joseph. I like my kale to have some crunch even when cooked, and the flash-steaming method keeps more nutrients in the dish.


  • 1 bunch of kale (red, black, or lacinato all work fine) rinsed and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 C shallot or onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/3 C fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C toasted cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced


Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chopped onions or shallots and fennel seeds. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 tsp salt, kale and orange zest and stir vigourously while steam rises. Continue to cook,  adding up to 1/2 C water as needed to keep the kale steaming, but without immersing it in water. When the kale is near to your preferred tenderness (about 5 minutes for me), add the orange juice and cook for just a few more seconds, stirring to coat the kale with the orange juice. Remove to a serving dish or plate and garnish with avocado slices, nuts or seeds, and a touch of black pepper. A slice of orange on the side looks great, too.