Kale and Bacon, Caribbean Style

Kale is growing like crazy in our backyard garden, I’m always trying to come up with new recipes, like Crispy Baked Kale. A friend told me that adding raw kale leaves to our morning fruit smoothie is a great way to stuff some more nutrients into breakfast. She guaranteed me that my kids wouldn’t be able to detect the taste.

Unfortunately, she didn’t mention that the smoothie would turn the color of sad, sad green in the otherwise zippy peach-mango smoothie.

It took me 2 weeks to get the kids to enjoy fruit smoothies again.

No more kale in smoothies, unless someone invents pink kale.

In the meantime, we’ll keep kale at the dinner table, and a recipe that we tried last week was a total winner. It’s an adaptation of a Caribbean dish called Callaloo, and I say adaptation because the dish is normally made with okra or spinach. Sunny Anderson calls this dish Kale-llaloo, as she substitutes in kale.

A dish can never go wrong when you start off with sauteed bacon and onions. Then the whole thing is simmered briefly in a sauce of coconut milk with vegetable broth.

We made slight changes to Sunny’s original recipe for Kale-llaloo, opting to keep the greens bright with a slight crunch by shortening the cooking time.


Kale and Bacon Recipe, Caribbean Style

Servings: serves 4 Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 18

Callaloo, sometimes calaloo or kallaloo, is a Caribbean dish that is most popular and originally from Trinidad and Tobago, but is also served in Guyana and Jamaica. Callaloo is sometimes made with okra or water spinach. In this case Sunny Anderson made it with Kale, thus the name Kale-llaloo.


4-6 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 Vidalia onion, diced
8 cups chopped kale
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup broth (chicken, vegetable or beef)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until just begins to crisp. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the kale and saute until wilted, tossing with the onion and bacon, about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in the coconut milk and broth and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Comments 42

  1. SocialKim

    This is very similar to the way I make kale and bacon, except that I haven’t tried coconut milk. Definitely going to give this recipe a whirl!

    My recipe is fairly similar except that once the bacon and onion is done, sometimes with a bit of diced garlic thrown in, I add the kale, saute until it starts to wilt then add 1 1/2 cup chicken stock and 3/4 cup dried cranberries. Cook down a little further to soften the kale and rehydrate the cranberries, adjust your seasonings and serve. The kids love it, the husband loves it and I love it!

  2. Lyndsey

    I saw Sunny make this one too! The first time I had kale was from your Crispy Baked Kale post, and we all loved it. I am trying to incorporate more greens into our diet, beside spinach, which I already use all the time. With the bacon and coconut milk this sounds like another winner! Yahoo!

  3. DessertForTwo

    This looks delicious! I think it will be a great way to get my picky eater to like coconut milk.

    Your story about scaring your kids away from smoothies cracked me up πŸ™‚

  4. Alta

    I love kale, but this sounds great! Especially with the coconut milk…I am partial to coconut milk. On the smoothie thing, I wonder if you could sneak a bit of kale in a chocolate smoothie? It it was chocolatey enough, I doubt it would turn colors! Maybe a choco-cherry smoothie – kale, chocolate/cocoa powder, cherries, milk or almond milk or coconut milk (or yogurt even)? Just thoughts!

    1. steamykitchen

      LOL i’ll def try the chocolate ‘n kale — if they spit it out will ya come help me clean!? πŸ˜‰

  5. Joanna Dyckhoff

    I am so going to try this! We’ve been making green smoothies every day using Kale to get all the great nutrients! Thankfully I don’t care that my drinks turn green and sometimes brown, lol. I just close my eyes and slurp fast, hahaha! hope you are doing well =)

  6. Kiki

    Definitely a nice change – here we traditionally eat kale (boerenkool, in Dutch) boiled and mashed with potatoes in a dish called stamppot. For boerenkool stamppot most people will mix in some crisp fried bacon, and serve it with smoked sausage or baseball-sized meatballs. It’s great winter fare. This sounds more warm-weather, though, and I’m dying to try it! It might even get my oldest, who hates boerenkool with a passion, to eat the stuff.

  7. sensiblecooking

    This is different that how we cook kale. We usually saute them with lots of garlic and chilli with chicken stock. This will be a nice change . I wouldn’t mind it in dinner table but defiantly not in breakfast smoothie.

  8. elaine

    Wow.. this is great. I actually did a post for Callaloo on my site. I had no idea what this was. it was quite tasty. I made it like my friend Katherine suggested. Maybe you can do the same with your kale? http://anabsolutecookingobsession.blogspot.com/2010/05/katherines-callaloo-reicpe.html

    (just dont judge my blog please .. i am a technotard and have no idea why i have these crazy double pics with white boarders. I dont remember ordering them but they are there regardless)

  9. To Kiss the Cook

    There is a fabulous restaurant in my neighborhood that serves street food as a fusion of Asian/Latin cusine. This is the closest recipe I’ve seen to Belly Shack’s Mixed Greens with chorizo. The broth is definitely kicked up coconut milk but with some curry I think. Either way- divine and I’m so happy to have your recipe to try a version at home!

  10. Wei-Wei

    Yum – bacon! My mom shredded cabbage the other day and stir-fried it with bacon; there was SO much extra flavour and I loved it πŸ˜€ I still like greens on their own, though. πŸ™‚


  11. Tickled Red

    As you know living in the south salads are pretty much a entree’ all summer long. That salad kicks the Waldorf’s bum all week long. Gorgeous!! I can’t wait to make it for my surfer πŸ™‚

  12. cando

    I’m looking forward to trying your Kale and Bacon dish, I’m thinking this upcoming weekend to go with some bbq, I mean anything with bacon has to be good! Your new site design is awesome as well.

  13. Kim in MD

    I love kale! It is so good for you, and I am always trying to incorporate it into recipes (usually soups) for my family. This looks so good, Jaden! This is on my list as a “must try”! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  14. Lynn

    I haven’t ever tried kale cooked. With bacon, I just might be able to pass that off as edible to my kids. We have done kale in smoothies. Our new kick right now is “Shrek Shakes.” Into the blender goes a bag of baby spinach (plus kale, if desired), 2 bananas, a handful of ice cubes, and 1 to 2 cups of apples juice. Easiest way ever to get them to eat their greens.

  15. Stephanie

    My green smoothie is made with kale and retains a lovely bright green color (I call it an emerald smoothie when I make it for the kids). I think the secret is the pineapple juice. Those enzymes must react w/the kale. Also, I put the kale in raw, just smoosh it all in there. The pineapple coconut juice is so sweet, the kids won’t taste the kale.

    Here’s the recipe:


    Let me know what you think!

  16. Eileen

    This looks incredibly good! I agree that a dish cannot go wrong with bacon. I can usually say that about coconut milk too. I gotta try this!

  17. Leslie

    I have young kale (when I can get it) in my morning green smoothies all the time! It is awesome. I mix whatever is available…..usually something like..two big handfuls of kale (de-ribbed), a small handful of almonds, a banana and an apple…sometimes add some frozen berries or green tea powder!
    If you use older kale, you just need to blend longer to get those tougher edges smoothed out!

  18. Kari

    I recently made this dish and it is amazing, leaves nothing to desire πŸ™‚ I made it as instructed only substituting turkey bacon for pork and adding a little of olive oil to ensure the onions wouldn’t stick. I absolutely love it and it will surely become one of my regulars. Unfortunately, because my husband is used to Indian food, I didn’t think he’d will enjoy it as much because it’s not spicy; with that in mind, the next time around I will try to make it appealing to him by adding garlic and ginger to onion, and adding a couple teaspoons of red curry powder once the coconut milk and broth go in. I had no idea kale could be so versatile!

  19. Daniel Munk

    Thanks for this recipe! I’m trying it tonight!! As for the Smoothie thing……. if it ain’t St Paddy’s Day and it ain’t minty, then there is just something so wrong about green smoothies!

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