Kale with Hazelnuts and Orange Zest

Kale with Hazelnuts and Orange Zest

Inspired by Diana Henry

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Kale with hazelnuts and orange zest inspired by Diana Henry. This easy, healthy side dish stands out in a sea of kale options with the addition of fragrant orange zest and the rich crunch of hazelnuts.

Here’s what you need to know about this recipe… It is surprisingly tasty with so few ingredients. The orange zest transforms the flavor profile more than I expected making this feel bright and refreshing, two things I don’t often associate with kale. 

It only takes two pans (a pot and a baking sheet) and doesn’t require multitasking. Each ingredient does its thing without needing your attention so you can prep the next one. 

The only thing about your attention here to note is that you have to keep an eye on the time. Don’t overcook the kale. (“Hey Siri/Alexa/Love, set a timer for two minutes.”) It’ll lose structural integrity. The same applies to the hazelnuts. Use your nose… when you smell them, they are probably done. 

The original recipe has you boil the kale for a little longer (7 minutes) and it ends up going over pasta along with sautéed garlic and fresh red chiles. Each time we made this dish, we ended up tasting so much of the kale from the pan before the pasta got added that I knew I wanted to try it on its own. I also wanted to cut down on the dishes to clean up so I ditched the garlic, chiles, and that pan.


2 bunches kale, about 1 lb

zest from one orange

¼ cup hazelnuts

red pepper flakes (optional)

olive oil

white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar 

salt + pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°f. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Wash the kale, remove the tough ribs, and boil for 2 minutes (set a timer!). Drain well and when cool enough to handle, grab a handful at a time and squeeze out excess water (you’ll end up with baseball/softball sized mounds of kale). Then, slice the balls. 

Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until they start to take on a little color and they smell aromatic. Leave the oven on.

Transfer the hazelnuts to your cutting board and spread out the kale on the now hot and empty baking sheet. Drizzle the kale with a few good glugs of olive oil, add salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) and toss. 

Bake for 5 minutes or until some of the pieces of kale are dark and a bit crispy. 

Meanwhile, chop the hazelnuts

Transfer the kale to a serving dish and drizzle with a little vinegar (amount will vary depending on the punch of your vinegar so start with ½ teaspoon, taste and adjust), top with hazelnuts and orange zest. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.


Keep a watch on the time that kale's cooking. Same applies to the hazelnuts.

You can skip roasting the kale. Finish with the rest of the ingredients.

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Kale with Hazelnuts and Orange Zest
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