Sweet and Spicy Grilled Kale with Ginger Steak

Kale is such a powerhouse vegetable that we never get tired of discovering new ways to cook it. We’ve made crispy kale chips, creamed kale, and kale sautéed with olives and though we’ve loved them all, we may have just found a new favorite recipe. Kale marinated in coconut milk then seared on the grill is a side dish that’s sweet, smoky and a bit spicy. This dish manages to taste decadent, which is something not often said about kale. We’re talking about kale with some real character, kale that might even win over those of you who resist this leafy green.

Marinating vegetables is not something we do often. Meat, yes, but vegetables? Not so much. That’s changed now that we’ve tried kale marinated in coconut milk. The coconut milk takes the astringent bite out of the kale and replaces it with a sweet, rich flavor. Marinating the kale in coconut milk is all about flavor; it doesn’t actually change the texture all that much. What does change the texture is throwing the leaves over a hot flame until they wilt and then brown around the edges. Grilled kale is soft in the middle, crispy around the edges and tinged with a smoky flavor that perfectly compliments the sweet coconut milk.

As good as this kale is, man cannot live on kale alone so we’ve paired this side dish with a richly flavored steak. Our ginger marinade may be simple, but it adds tons of flavor to red meat. Just don’t skimp on the ginger, and if a few pieces cling to the steak when you throw it on the grill, all the better.

Marinating the steak and kale takes 4 hours so you have to plan ahead a little, but the actual cooking time for this meal clocks in under 20 minutes. Try it this weekend and let us know what you think… we’re predicting that at least a few of you will finally fall in love with kale, or if you’re like us, fall in love all over again.

Approx 3 servings



  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak (although any type of steak will work with this marinade)
  • 1 large piece of ginger root, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste


Place steak in a bowl or sealed bag and cover with the ginger, garlic, tamari and lemon juice. Marinate for 4 hours in the refrigerator, flipping steak occasionally.

Pull the kale leaves from the stems (they are too chewy). Tear kale leaves in half, or larger leaves into thirds.

Heat the coconut milk on the stove until it is just about to begin simmering, then turn off the heat and add tamari and lemon juice. Pour the coconut milk over the kale leaves. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours, stirring kale occasionally.

Heat the grill to high heat. Grill kale leaves 1-2 minutes on each side, until the leaves are wilted and slightly singed around the edges. Remove from the grill and sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Chop the kale into smaller pieces if you like, as larger pieces of kale can sometimes be a bit chewy even after grilling.

Grill the steak 6-8 minutes a side. Let the steak rest 5 minutes before cutting into it.

Serve with kale leaves on the side.

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48 thoughts on “Sweet and Spicy Grilled Kale with Ginger Steak”

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  1. This looks absolutely fabulous and I am loving the idea of marinating Kale in coconut milk. We have a fresh batch of kale so I may make this dish right away – possibly tomorrow. If not, its definitely going to be made very soon. I have tons of coconut milk that I bought on Amazon and always have steak so all I need is some Kale!

    I loved this line: “As good as this kale is, man cannot live on kale alone so we’ve paired this side dish with a richly flavored steak.”

  2. Grilled kale leaves? Hmm now that is something different. I definitely have to check that out. Super simple and straight forward.

    As for the steak – no brainer. Love it! 🙂

    ~ JW

  3. Looks good but seems like a waste of two cans of coconut milk. Any other uses for the coconut milk after it has been used as a marina?

      1. Two cans of coconut milk at $2.50 a can, to be used as a marina for four hours, then you pour the marina down the drain. Hence my question on if there is anything to do with the used marina.

    1. Well the nice thing about marinating vegetables is you don’t need to throw out the marinade after for fear of bacteria (at least not immediately). My recommendation would be to marinade more kale!

      Or how about using it in a shrimp stir-fry … mmm … coconut shrimp …

    2. Heat up the milk again and add in curry spices. Throw in some onions, scallions and whatever meat and you have another quick dish if you’re still hungry after all of that steak….

  4. Very interesting, I will have to try this. As part of an Organic Co-op, I receive kale from time to time. I am always at a loss as to what to do with it! Thanks!

  5. For those that like kale, I made this the other night and it turned out to be phenomenal so I thought I would share.

    What you will need:
    Two chicken breasts
    1 Lemon
    Fresh Kale
    Black pepper
    Virgin coconut oil

    I put two chicken breasts in the slow cooker and surrounded it with fresh organic kale (but didn’t cover the chicken, just surrounded it).

    I then added a little water (maybe about 1/4 cup) and squeezed the juice of one lemon over everything.

    After that I added a generous amount of black pepper and a dash of salt (I used Himalayan Pink Salt).

    I followed this with a little garlic, about a clove, crushed. Then I sprinkled a little basil on top. (Although next time I will probably make it with fresh basil, but I didn’t have any at the time).

    Then, I added about a tbsp of organic vrigin coconut oil. I put a little dallop on top of each chicken breast and a little dallop in the pot in between the two pieces of chicken.

    I put the lid on the slow cooker, turned it on high for about 4 1/2 hours and the finished product was delicious!

    For any one who wants to try this recipe, I will say because of the kale when it started cooking it smelled really awful. I was afraid it was going to be a bad combination and taste terrible but as it cooked more it started to smell less like garbage and more like broccoli. And the finished product turned out to be delicious!

    1. Hmmm… combining this idea with the marinated kale, what about replacing the water in this recipe with coconut milk, and the spices with some thai curry paste?

  6. Kale is my favorite leafy green without a doubt, and a good cut of beef is by far my favorite type of meat too! Add some mushrooms to this and I would be in Heaven.

  7. I just got the kale in the fridge to marinate for the rest of the day. It sure looks like it’s going to be good!

  8. Yum. I would probably end up making a super rich sauce out of all the coconut milk marinade. I also have issues just dumping out pricey marinades. I haven’t had steak in awhile though, maybe this will be the perfect dish to start eating lots of steak again.

  9. Made this last night and it was fantastic! Didn’t have much marinade leftover. I used a curlier kale than the dinosaur kale pictured here; it may have trapped more of the marinade on the leaves. If you have lots of marinade leftover, it could easily be boiled then refrigerated for the next day’s meal or frozen for use with the next batch of kale.
    It’s great to have another delicious way to prepare kale!

  10. I made it also and it was SO good. The only problem is I ate half of the first batch before the second batch was done! It was a hit even with an 8 and 10 year old. There wasn’t much marinade left over at all, it pretty much all stuck to the leaves.

  11. Hi there Mike!

    This is a fantastic recipe and something that I can already taste when you described each and every step!

    I love the idea of marinating the kale in coconut milk! Great idea and normally I marinate what we call a “veggie pack” and throw that onto a BBQ for 20 mins or so. But this does top it for me and you are right, I will try it this weekend.

    I also love the idea of the steak with the ginger. Plenty of flavours there and also on the healthy side! Thank you for sharing this dish!

    May we all try it sooner then later!


  12. Never would have thought of marinating kale in coconut milk but it sounds great. Will definitely give it a go.

  13. Awesome ideas! I love Kale and this recipe and the others listed look awesome. I can’t wait to try them!!

  14. Those pictures are not actually of kale… maybe collard greens?

    1. Looks like Lacinato Kale, sometimes called dinosaur or black kale. I suspect any would work, some even better as it might hold marinade in folds not present in Lacinato.

  15. Marinate sea bass in EVOO, Crushed Garlic, Lemon Rind, Pepperocino, Sea Salt.

    Boil water, blanch Kale leaves, cool.

    Wrap sea bass in kale leave, bake 350 for 30 minutes.

    Prepare Sicilian Citrus Salsa:

    Blood Oranges delicately cur with the grain of the pulp in triangles. Repeat with seedless lemons, Add chopped hot italian pepper (fresh), chopped mint, diced red onion, white wine vinegar and salt

    eat and make hot sicilian love all night long

  16. This was NOT good. I am still trying to get the smell out of the house. Maybe Kale is an acquired taste, but the coconut milk did nothing to change the kale’s bitterness. (A waste of good coconut milk!) And ginger on steaks does not work — when ginger burns it has an odd flavor. I use it sparingly in stir fry for this reason. I will stick with my regular soy & Vietnamese chili paste marinade for steaks, and spinach sauteed with a little garlic and balsamic vinegar on the side of the grill!

  17. can we make it without kale? because I don’t really like kale

  18. I think the recipe instructions forgot to mention the red pepper flakes in the steak marinade as there is some pictured and the steak in the marinade does seem to show some in there. Dunno. I’m trying the steak recipe today, see how it goes.

  19. There are actually loads of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a great