Kale Fried Rice


Kale Fried Rice is one of my favorite fake-out take-out meals to ever come out of my kitchen! 

I’m sad I used up my “Best-Ever” claim for the week already. I mean, Best-Ever Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Lime Rice definitely deserves the title, but OMG so does Kale Fried Rice!

The recipe is from my sister-in-law, Kerry, whose 3 year old son, Finn, is obsessed with kale. Like, throws out a request for it when she asks everybody what they want from the grocery store each week. (PS could you just nearly throw your computer out the window in reaction to how adorable they are?!)

Anyway, kale chips, one of his favorite preparations of kale, can get old so she’s always on the lookout for new recipes that incorporate the vitamin-packed green, and stumbled upon this recipe for Kale Fried Rice months ago. It was such a hit with her, my brother, AND Finn, that she now makes it regularly for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Except now she doubles the recipe. And now I know why.

I literally inhaled this plate of kale fried rice – it is the BEST! There. I said it. It almost has a sesame chicken flavor, from a secret ingredient I’ll divulge below. The kale is nice and chewy-crisp and, gosh, it’s just so much win on one plate. Which is exactly what I texted her after making this.

Kale Fried Rice = SO MUCH WIN!

As I was making the fried rice I thought it’d be nice to pump it up with egg, edamame, or broccoli, but seriously, it is perfect as is. Try it once as written then add whatever it is your heart desires to the next batch. Which there WILL be!

Start the Kale Fried Rice by making the delicious, sesame-chicken-esque sauce. You’ll need 2 Tablespoons each mirin (available in the Asian foods aisle at the grocery store) and gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce) as well as 2 teaspoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon maple syrup.

I was real, I mean REAL skeptical about adding maple syrup to the sauce, but it is ace. You can’t pick out the flavor, but it adds an awesome, slightly-sweet contrast to the salty soy sauce. MMM! Ok, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, then set it aside.

Next, get 3/4 cup long grain brown rice (I used jasmine) cooking in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth on the stove. Unpictured because I forgot, and well, you know what cooking rice looks like!

While that’s cooking away, strip 1/2 bunch kale from the stems then tear into bite-sized pieces. You’ll need 4 cups packed kale total. I was jazzed to see kale in this recipe because it’s so healthy, and I really do love its flavor and texture. Kale is totally the new spinach!

Finally, wash and dry the kale. I was also jazzed to try out my new salad spinner I got from IKEA last weekend. $2 for this baby!!

K. Calming down, we now bring 4 cups water plus 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a big wok or skillet. Add the kale then boil for 4-5 minutes or until it’s tender. Drain the kale then, when it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze the excess moisture out with your hands and set it aside.

Return the same wok to the stove then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 small minced onion then saute until golden brown and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Then add 4 cloves – yes, 4 CLOVES – minced garlic and saute for 1 more minute. I LOVED how garlicky this fried rice was!

Add the cooked/drained kale back to the wok then saute for 2 minutes. BTW – this Curtis Stone Wok would make an excellent holiday gift for the foodie in your life. Nothing sticks to it, and the sides have the perfect curvature for flipping ingredients like a professional chef. Fan-cay!

Add the cooked rice into the skillet then toss to combine.

Then add the pre-made sauce and toss again.

That’s it!

Scoop onto plates, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, which add a nice PoP on top!

Kale Fried Rice

Serves 2


Kale Fried Rice is one of my favorite fake-out take-out meals to ever come out of my kitchen! 


  • 3/4 cup long grain brown rice, like jasmine or basmati (I used jasmine)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups packed kale, removed from stems and chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • For the sauce:
    • 2 Tablespoons mirin, or other sweet cooking wine
    • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon maple syrup


  1. Stir together sauce ingredients in a small bowl then set aside. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan then add rice, place a lid on top, and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook rice until tender, about 30-40 minutes (or according to package directions.)
  2. When rice has 15 minutes left to cook, boil water and salt in a large wok or skillet. Add kale then cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then when kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze excess water out with hands. Set kale aside.
  3. Return skillet to stove then turn heat down to medium-high. Add oil then onion and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Add garlic then saute, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add drained kale then saute for 2 minutes. Add cooked rice to the wok then toss to combine. Add sauce to the wok then toss to combine. Serve topped with sesame seeds.


Slightly adapted from My Wise Mom

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Salty, garlicky, and just a touch sweet, the textures and flavors in the dish were top. Notch!

Plus, if a 3 year old loves it, how bad could it be?! ;)

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  1. I love kale AND I love fried rice – GOODNESS! Looks like this recipe is going on the menu soon :)

  2. Jenna 12.06.2012

    This looks SO good! It’s cracking me up that he requests kale- so adorable!

  3. You might just start me to eat kale…

  4. Trisha 12.06.2012

    Just picked up a bunch of kale. I’ve been dying to try Luann’s kale salad since you posted it, but then when Kerry made that Christmas wreath out of it, I just HAD to try it! Now maybe I’ll try this rice too!

  5. Lori H 12.06.2012

    Just bought a lot of kale yesterday. so making this!

  6. I like that trick where you boil the kale! I do love kale, but I don’t like how rubbery it can get when it’s undercooked! Also, any recipe that involves soy sauce + sesame oil is A-OK in my book- my roomie and I have several bottles of that TJ’s sesame oil haha.

    P.S. That family pic is TOO cute!!

  7. This looks and sounds amazing! I have been wanting to try kale and I think this just may be the recipe to do it with!

  8. Bek @ Crave 12.06.2012

    Yum- this looks soo good! I wish Kale was more popular over here :(

  9. Michelle 12.06.2012

    This is a great recipe. My kids love kale and rice so I anticipate this will be a hit! I also love the photos-the red tea pot is a great background with this dish.

  10. Michelle 12.06.2012

    This is a great recipe. My kids love kale and rice so I anticipate this will be a hit!

  11. Michelle 12.06.2012

    Can’t wait to try this. Since my kids love both kale and rice I anticipate this will be a hit!

  12. Jess S 12.07.2012

    Oh my gosh – best family picture ever! I love it. Ideas for the future… (our little one’s only seven months) :-)

    We’re going to have to try this. We’re trying to get on board with kale but just haven’t been able to do it yet. I’ve made a few kale recipes and we just haven’t been able to get past the bitter taste. Even kale chips didn’t do it for us! And we love spinach. And roasted anything – brussel sprouts, you name it. So kale fried rice, I see you in my weekend menu!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.07.2012

      The boiling definitely takes out the “earthy” kale taste. I bet you guys would really like it! :)

  13. Jill 12.07.2012

    I love all your recipes… thanks! Would you ever consider posting nutritional value with them?

  14. Katherine 12.07.2012

    Oh.My.Gosh. You seriously didn’t take this from a magazine? Every SINGLE one of them is adorable *throws computer*

  15. Amber 12.07.2012

    Your family is just too cute :) SUPER excited about this recipe too; do you think it would be good with swiss chard too? I have some STILL growing in my garden from the fall and need to use it up before it all dies. I recently added some to a beef stew and it was great.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.07.2012

      I have actually never tried swiss chard, but I know it’s similar to kale, so I bet it would be good!

  16. Noelle 12.07.2012

    Are the chopsticks for aesthetic purposes, or did you really use them? If so, I am thoroughly impressed ;) I look like a class-A moron trying to eat rice with chopsticks. Or let’s be honest: trying to use them at all.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.07.2012

      I used the chopsticks for the first couple of bites, then switched to a spoon because it was so good I needed something to shovel it in faster. True story.

  17. Courtney F 12.07.2012

    YUM! My toddler like Kale too! I’m not complaining!

  18. Brittany Ray 12.07.2012

    Amy, you probably won’t see this but, that is such a thoughtful gift! I have been in a long distance relationship going on 3 years now and I would absolutely love anyone that did that for us. You are such a sweet sister! Congrats on winning!

    That fried rice looks delicious!!

  19. Martha 12.07.2012

    Replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock for an easy vegan dish. thanks!

  20. Ed 12.07.2012

    That is a super awesome family photo!

  21. Manon 12.07.2012

    I’m so glad I saw this while I was in the middle of trying to plan meals for next week. Serious noms.

  22. Nina 12.08.2012

    Holy crap this was SO good! My husband the carnivor didn’t even complain about the lack of meat and my preteen didn’t pay any attention to the abundance of kale. I’m keeping this in my pocket for sure.

  23. Hillary 12.08.2012

    Yum! I want to try this soon!

    Quick question- I was recently having a conversation about power food like kale (I know, food nerd, sigh)… and someone I was talking to seemed to believe that any cooking process removed ALL the good out of veggies. I know you give food stats sometimes! What’s your take on the best way to cook and keep nutrients, or is that part-myth? Obviously raw is best, but who wants that when you can have kale fried rice?! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.11.2012

      According to my research, cooking certain vegetables causes them to lose vitamins, but in other vegetables, cooking (esp boiling) can actually increase antioxidant levels. My thought is, any vegetable – whether boiled or raw – is better than no vegetable at all!

  24. Looking forward to making this!

  25. Christy 12.17.2012

    Just tried this and it’s so good!! It IS very salty and garlicy, so I think next time I’ll add some more veggies or some chicken.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  26. […] Kale fried rice From Iowa Girl Eats […]

  27. gyen 01.02.2013

    I made this for lunch today and everybody loved it (that would be me, my husband, and our eight kids). Of course I made more of it, but it was a hit. When they looked dubious about the kale, I said, “It’s from the lady where we got those crunchy peanut butter chocolate things and *she* says it’s really good!” That worked for the first bite and they didn’t need any convincing after that!

  28. Cindy 01.15.2013

    I made this tonight, and it was amazing! I added egg to it for the added protein and I have enough left over for dinner tomorrow. Thanks!

  29. […] Tuesday: Kale Fried Rice […]

  30. Chris 01.27.2013

    Finally picked up some mirin so I could make this. Instant LOVE! The sauce is amazingly good.

    Another option for prepping the kale – I removed it from the cooking water in bunches with tongs, squeezing each bunch a bit over the pan, then moved them to a colander in the sink. A couple of presses against the sides of the colander with the tongs was all I needed to rid the kale of excess moisture.

  31. Traci from TN 02.04.2013

    I have made this at least 5 times. I am in love with this dish. Your pictures and directions make it so easy to follow. I have been adding slivered almonds at the end. Awesome recipe! Great job!

  32. Danielle K 02.04.2013

    I just made this tonight and it was epically awesome!!! My husband was trying to pour the last little rice bits from the bowl into his mouth :)

  33. […] to be creative or make anything fancy, I just needed a little kitchen therapy, so I opted for Kale Fried Rice from Iowa Girl […]

  34. Amanda 02.13.2013

    Hey Kristin!

    I made this tonight and it was AWESOME!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  35. Victoria L 02.27.2013

    I’ve had this recipe on my counter waiting to be made and finally did it last night. I added some baby bok choy that I also had on hand and it came out soooooo good! I brought the leftovers for lunch today and all I could think about all morning was those leftovers for lunch. This will be added to “my favorites” list for regular rotation.

  36. Rachel 03.13.2013

    I was very tasty! I wold go a little lighter on the sauce though, or perhaps some sodium-reduced soya sauce as I thought it was a tad too salty. I too added eggs. I couldn’t help myself, the recipe was just beggin’ for some fried eggs.

  37. […] 3. Kale Fried Rice […]

  38. […] last year and am now on a constant hunt for tasty new recipes to try with it. So when I saw this Kale Fried Rice recipe from iowagirleats come through my pinterest feed, I was pumped. It’s easy, delicious, gives you the flavorful […]

  39. Hey Kristin, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and always inspired by your recipes. I attempted the kale fried rice last night and it turned out great :) the whole family loooved it. I’ll be sure to try out another one of your kale recipes next time. Keep up the awesome work you do on this blog :)

  40. […] must say, I was a bit skeptical when I first saw this recipe posted on Kristin’s blog. I mean, fried rice is great and so is kale, but the two together? […]

  41. […] to make a recipe that I had bookmarked all the way back in December.  I made Kristin’s Kale Fried Rice and absolutely loved it!  This is definitely a “must make” superfood […]

  42. Ally 06.18.2013

    I made this today with leftover rice, added about an inch worth of finely diced ginger with the garlic, and it was amazing!

  43. […] status, I swooped up a truck-load of kale from one of my favorite vendors to make a double batch of Kale Fried Rice later this week. I’ve been whipping it up a lot lately as Ben and I both adore it, and […]

  44. Lisa 09.17.2013

    I made this for dinner tnite – both of my kids LOVED it!!!

  45. […] a sucker for most fried things (no shame!) and fried rice is no different. However, this recipe for kale fried rice is packed with Kale and a little bit healthier than the other version I was eyeing (it had bacon […]

  46. […] Kale Fried Rice  […]

  47. Whitney 11.03.2013

    Yummy yummy yummy! I made this last night for my husband and I, and added chicken. So delicious! We both had multiple plates. Definitely a keeper!

  48. Alyssa 11.05.2013

    Just made this for lunch! So amazing and original.
    I substituted some rice vinegar for the mirin, because we didn’t have any, and it turned out fine! I also took a leap of faith and added some black beans which got me some kind of Mexican/Asian fusion dish. It was amazing, and I’m actually pretty upset with myself for having cleaned the kitchen already. I want more!! Haha, thanks for the awesome recipe.

  49. Isabelle 12.22.2013

    Really tasty! Didn’t have any mirin left, so replaced it with some rice vinegar and a little more maple syrup. I added twice the amount of kale required, and i also fried a pack of mushrooms along with the onion. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe, i didn’t know what to make for supper, turned out to be amazing!

  50. Terry 12.27.2013

    A few suggestions – If you don’t have rice wine, a dry sherry is a good substitute – If you use cold cooked rice, rather than freshly cooked rice, it’s less likely to clump together when you stir fry it.

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