Killer Kale Gratin

kale gratin-2

Killer Kale Gratin

I used purple kale in the picture but any kale or leafy green will work.

This is my idea of a perfect one pot meal, although if you’re cooking for a particularly hungry carnivore you may need to serve it as a side to a roast chicken or juicy steak.

takes: 30 minutes
makes: enough for 2-3

1 onion, chopped
6 rashers bacon, chopped
1 large bunch kale, sliced
300ml (1 1/4 cups) double cream
2 large handfuls grated cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F).

2. Heat a little oil in an oven proof pot and add bacon and onion. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add kale and cook, covered for about 5 minutes, or until it is wilted down and tender. Add cream and stir well.

4. Sprinkle over the cheese and pop uncovered in the oven 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve hot.


vegetarian – replace bacon with sliced smoked tofu, red peppers (capsicum) or semi dried tomatoes or skip the bacon and serve gratin sprinkled to smoked or roasted nuts. Pine nuts or almonds are especially good.

different greens – most greens will work here. Cavolo nero is great or curly kale, English spinach, silverbeet (chard) or even chinese broccoli or broccoli rabe.

dairy-free / vegan – replace cream with coconut milk and sprinkle with pinenuts or almonds instead of the cheese.

different cheese – I used a combo of emmental, gruyere and parmesan but any melting cheese will work including cheddar.

carb lovers / more substantial – toss in some cooked short pasta before adding the cheese.

more substantial (low carb) – more bacon. Almonds.

can’t find double cream? – just use whipping cream or heavy cream instead.

carnivore – serve as a side to a steak.

paleo (gluten, grain + dairy-free) – skip the cream and cheese and serve onion, bacon and kale with a steak and lemon. OR with a roast chicken.

short on time – skip the onion and serve kale and bacon with cream and cheese drizzled over. Skip the cheese melting.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

onion – pantry.

bacon – freeze it.

kale – can be sliced and frozen.

cream – OK to freeze.

cheese – hard cheeses will keep in the fridge in a container or plastic bag for weeks if not months. Can be frozen.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 250C (480F).

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  • It was awesome! I barely left anything to the family 😀

    I’ve used coconut milk and no cheese,mixed it with beluga lentils to make a warm sallad. OMG! so good!

  • Oh my goodness! I made this today for hot lunches this week and it is absolutely sensational!! It barely made it into the lunchbox, I kept digging a spoon in!

  • Delicious! We made this last night and loved it! One comment I have about this recipe is that I wonder if it’s necessary to start with oil in the pan/pot if bacon is the first ingredient you start cooking. (Of course it’s a different story if you substitute tofu or skip the bacon; the onions would need some help.) Also, if anyone wonders if it needs to be salted, I’d say it probably doesn’t, between the bacon and the cheese.

    Anyway, delicious. We will be adding this to our kale-season rotation!

    • So glad you liked it Natalie!
      You probably could get away with no oil if your bacon is fatty enough…
      And yes it won’t need much (if any) salt with the cheese and the bacon but the only real way to tell is to taste and ask yourself if it tastes good? If it does no need for salt but if not, try adding some salt.

  • Just made it. It is great! We will eat this more often. I hope the kale will not leave the shops here very soon (it is here a real wintervegetable). Thanks!

  • Just pulled up the rest of my kale plants today as they were looking decidedly moth eaten. This recipe was all I could think of while I was working in the garden!

    • Follow up, after having made the gratin. Killer is right! What a power house. I served it with an amazing piece of steak and the awesome was almost too much! I wimped out and only used half the cream and it still nearly put me in a coma, so might cut down to a lower fat content version next time.

      • Glad you liked it Matilda!
        I can imagine with a steak it would have been pretty intense…
        I eat it as a main course on its own.
        And if you found it too rich, I’d just use less cream rather than using a lower fat cream as lower fat creams can curdle when cooked like this. Still yummy but a bit chunky if you know what I mean 🙂

  • Can’t wait to try this one! And continue to be annoyed that no one in the US has apparently caught on to the idea of double cream. Jules, what would you do without it? just use heavy cream in same amount? would that be too watery/runny? Maybe sub part heavy cream and part butter? thank you….

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