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Italian Sausage and Kale

Italian sausage transforms the kale, taming the most leathery leaves in a super-quick one-pan dinner.

October 9, 2017

Dinner doesn’t get any easier. Italian sausage transforms the kale that’s been “maturing” in your garden and tames the most leathery leaves in a super-quick one-pan dinner.

Serves four people. 


  • 3/4 to 1 pound hot Italian sausage (3 to 4 sausages)
  • 1 bunch kale (about 1 pound before cleaning)
  • One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans or cannellini beans
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Cooked rice, quinoa or pasta (optional)


Remove sausage from their casings and transfer to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until it begins to brown nicely, breaking up the meat into small chunks.

While the sausage cooks, strip the tough ribs from the kale and roughly chop the leaves into thin strips. Add to the pan with the sausage and cook until leaves are softened and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

While the kale cooks, drain and rinse the beans and add them to the skillet. Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine. Top with the mozzarella and cover skillet with the lid. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Serve alone, or over rice, quinoa or noodles.

Cook’s note: We combined chicken and pork sausage for this dish. Use good-quality Italian sausage, such as Cascioppo or Isernio’s, from the meat counter where you can buy just the amount you need and you won’t need to drain fat from the pan. Although the label says “hot” the sausage is fairly mild, just full of Italian spices that flavor the whole dish. If you use mild sausages, you’ll need to add Italian spices to your preffered taste. We used Italian or dinosaur kale, but any variety will do. If you are truly a kale-hater, try spinach instead. The ingredient amounts are very forgiving — use more (or less) of any ingredient and add your own touches, such as mushrooms or peppers, to the pan.