Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale – How to Cook Kale Greens in an Instant Pot

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Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.

Instant Pot Kale Recipe

A multi-functional pressure cooker or Instant Pot is the perfect appliance to quickly make this easy kale side dish. Tomato Braised Kale will become your new favorite side dish and a healthy addition to your table.

Canned, stewed tomatoes and vegetable (or chicken) broth are the base of the liquid that will braise the kale.  A pressure cooker makes this a quick side dish while freeing up the stove for your main dish.

Braising the kale makes it perfectly tender, so tender that I find myself eating way too much of this at a time.

Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale Ingredient List

Olive Oil

Onions, sliced or diced

Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth)

Garlic, minced

Canned, Stewed Tomatoes, do not drain

Salt

Black Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes, optional

Kale, washed and chopped (thick veins or stems removed)

Italian Kale Recipe

It can be tricky to get your kids to eat kale. As this Italian kale was braising in the Instant Pot, Barbara’s 5-year-old came into the kitchen asking what that yummy smell was.

Once it was finished, she begged for a bowl, and then she licked it clean. We’ll chalk it up to the sweet Italian flavor of the tomatoes and the tender texture that braising gives the kale.

Love Kale? Try our Tangy Wilted Kale and Simple Mango Farro Kale Salad.

Notes about This Tomato Braised Kale Recipe

  • We buy our kale pre-washed and cut in the refrigerator section. You could buy a bunch of kale. If so, be sure to wash away any sand and then removed the woody stems.
  • You can use whatever kind of broth you have on hand.  We used vegetable broth, but chicken would be perfect. Whatever you use, get the low sodium version.
  • For smaller chunks of tomatoes, use a tool like this meat grinder to break them up.
  • Stewed tomatoes are found in the canned food aisle. If you have regular canned diced tomatoes on hand, those will work too. Do not drain.
  • You can use fresh minced garlic or canned minced garlic.
  • If you are sensitive to spicy foods, leave out the red pepper flakes. Or add more if you like it spicier.
  • The pressure cooker insert will seem really full.  Just push down the kale. It will cook down a lot.
  • Use the natural pressure release method for this recipe.

How to Make Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale

Instructions

  1. Turn your multi-function pressure cooker to sauté mode. Add olive oil until hot.
  2. Add sliced onions and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Do not brown the onions.
  3. To the softened onions, add chicken broth, garlic, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, undrained stewed tomatoes and chopped kale.
  4. Cover and seal lid, locking into place. Turn on to high pressure and set cook time to 1 minute.
  5. Once cooking is completed, use the natural release method.

For the full ingredient amounts and steps for how to make kale greens in the instant pot, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

What is the natural pressure release method?

When using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, many recipes call to use the natural pressure release method.  When the recipe is finished with the cook time, the pressure is still built up inside the pot, and the lid is locked in place until that pressure releases.

Natural pressure release is the process of letting the pressure cooker release pressure slowly on its own. You don’t have to do anything except patiently wait.  After a number of minutes (sometimes 20 minutes or so), enough pressure will be released that the lid turns and unlocks.

Alternatively, other recipes call to manually release the pressure from the cooker.  To do this, turn the valve on top from sealing to venting.  Watch out for the hot hot steam that comes from the top.  As that hot steam releases from the top, the pressure inside goes down, allowing the lid to unlock.

Simple Ways to Use Kale

Sauteed Kale with Apples

Looking to try kale but aren't sure how to prepare it? Try this deliciously easy Sauteed Kale with Apples.  With only a handful of ingredients, you'll have a new healthy side dish to add to your menu. 

Low Carb Tuscan Kale Soup 

Low Carb Tuscan Kale Soup is a copy cat recipe for keto zuppa toscana made with sausage, riced cauliflower and kale. 

Sauteed Baby Kale and Mushrooms

Sauteed Baby Kale and Mushrooms is packed with flavor and nutritious ingredients. Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil perfectly compliment wilted baby kale with a surprise addition of kidney beans for added protein. Serve this along side grilled chicken or make it meatless by eating it over a cooked sweet potato or quinoa. 

Tangy Wilted Kale and Bacon

This Tangy Wilted Kale and Bacon recipe is easy to make and delicious to eat.

Sesame Kale

Sauteed Sesame Kale is a great alternative to regular wilted kale.  The combination of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds packs a powerful punch of flavor that will keep you begging for more.

Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale - How to Cook Kale Greens in an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time16 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: braised kale with tomatoes, how to cook kale greens in an instant pot, instant pot tomato braised kale, italian kale
Servings: 6
Calories: 106kcal
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup broth, vegetable or chicken
  • 14.5 oz. stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb, kale washed and chopped

Instructions

  • In an electric pressure cooker or instant pot, heat olive oil on saute mode. Add sliced onions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until they begin to soften but not brown.
    Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.
  • Add all remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker insert.
    Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.
  • Cover and seal the lid to lock position.
  • Set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 1 minute cook time.
  • Let pressure release using the natural release method. 
    Instant Pot Tomato Braised Kale is a healthy side dish that takes just minutes to make. Braising the kale with tomatoes and onions gives it a tender texture. Follow these simple instructions for how to cook kale greens in an instant pot.

Notes

  • We buy our kale pre-washed and cut in the refrigerator section. You could buy a bunch of kale. If so, be sure to wash away any sand and then removed the woody stems.
  • You can use whatever kind of broth you have on hand.  We used vegetable broth, but chicken would be perfect. Whatever you use, get the low sodium version.
  • For smaller chunks of tomatoes, use a tool like this meat grinder to break them up. 
  • Stewed tomatoes are found in the canned food aisle. If you have regular canned diced tomatoes on hand, those will work too. Do not drain.
  • You can use fresh minced garlic or canned minced garlic.
  • If you are sensitive to spicy foods, leave out the red pepper flakes. Or add more if you like it spicier.
  • The pressure cooker insert will seem really full.  Just push down the kale. It will cook down a lot.
  • Use the natural pressure release method for this recipe.
  • Love kale? Try Kale with Mushrooms!

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7754IU | Vitamin C: 98mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 2mg

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks! This is a very versatile recipe. I was looking for pressure-cooking times to use up some kale and an overabundance of canned tomatoes, so I don’t offer these changes as an improvement but as another twist on braised kale and tomatoes, showing how easy this is to adjust if needed: I used two 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes, half a pound (1/2 a large bag) of chopped kale – that I picked through as it had lots of stem pieces that were starting to yellow, and half a large white onion. I sauteed a few Tb of concentrated tomato paste and a few tsp of smoked paprika with my onions. This makes tomato-based dishes a little more complex, and since I picked it up from a comment on another tomato-based stew recipe months ago, I’ve seen this in Instant Pot gumbo recipes. I smashed and coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves and stirred those in to my onion, tomato paste, paprika slurry just as I turned off the saute function. I find my IP stays hot long enough to saute the garlic without burning it this way. You do need to be sure to deglaze with the liquid or tomato juice and use a wooden spoon to stir well to avoid anything sticking to the bottom of the pan if you saute your tomato paste and paprika. I didn’t have liquid broth on hand but had chicken bone broth from cooking a whole chicken 2 weeks ago that I wanted to polish off so added about a cup – a big “glop” – of that, then stirred in the 2 cans of diced tomatoes. After dumping in the big bowl of chopped kale and pressing it down into the tomatoes and juice lightly, I also added about 1/2 tsp each of oregano, salt, cumin, and Tuscany Spice Blend (Spice & Tea Exchange), which has red pepper, lime sea salt, garlic, basil, coriander, thyme, and lots of other spices. I added another sprinkle of red pepper flakes for good measure then followed your time of 1 min pressure plus 10 minute NPR. This was not at all spicy but had very good, rich flavor. The kale looked under-braised when I opened the pot, but after stirring it into the tomatoes and broth, it was just right: Not mushy but tender with no tough pieces. This is now going on my list of favorites! It makes what I would consider 4 generous servings as a side – or 2 bowls of stewed vegetables for a warm lunch with a piece of crusty bread.

  2. The only reason I buy kale is to make Zuppa Toscano, which doesn’t require the whole bunch. Never could find something to do with the rest of it that suited my taste until now. I didn’t change a thing from your recipe. It is delicious and I couldn’t stop eating it. Now I’ll probably just buy kale to make this recipe. Definitely don’t leave out the red pepper flakes. Thank you for this yummy recipe!

  3. This was so easy and so flavorful. I tossed it with al denté rigatoni and let it cook down a bit. Delicious. Next time I will add cannellini beans.

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