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How to Make Sautéed Shitake, Kale, and Leeks

Sautéed kale with mushrooms and leeks

This easy recipe was my end of Dark Days / welcome back to fresh greens meal.

Sautéed Shitake, Kale, and Leeks
Makes 2-4 servings


Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
(* Union Sq. Greenmarket)
1 bunch Dinosaur or Tuscan kale If necessary due to thickness, trim or remove stems Norwich Meadows *
4 large Shitake mushrooms Stems removed and sliced Bulich Mushrooms *
1 – 2 Leeks Thinly sliced Paffenroth Gardens *
1 bunch Fresh chives Chopped Paffenroth Gardens *
1- 2 TBsp Unsalted butter Use 1 TBsp if you want it a little healthier Ronnybrook Farm Dairy *
1 tsp Soy sauce I used Nama Shoyu, but any will do
0.25 tsp Sesame oil Either toasted or not
0.25 tsp Kosher salt



  1. If necessary, trim the stems on the kale. On this bunch the stems weren’t too thick so I left them in, but they did extend beyond the leaves enough that I decided to trim them back. It’s easy when there is a rubber band around them! One trick is to wash them by filling a salad spinner with water and then swish the greens around in it. Then let them float on top for a minute or two to let any loose dirt sink. Lift the basket full of greens out of the spinner and pour out the dirty water. Put the basket back in, place the top on, and spin dry. We’ve found this to be the fastest way to wash a small amount of greens without wasting a lot of water (e.g., by filling the whole sink or washing them under running water).

    Cut-off kale stemsWashing the kale in the salad spinner

  2. Once your greens are washed and spun, chop the fresh chives and slice the leeks. Be sure to wash the leeks very thoroughly. There is usually soil in every nook and cranny; it’s often necessary to peel them apart and clean the layers one by one.

    Kale, spun and driedFresh chivesDirty leeks that need a thorough cleaningSliced leeks

  3. Slice the mushrooms. I usually brush visible dirt off of shitake or Portobello mushrooms, but I don’t wash them unless absolutely necessary because it impacts the texture.

    Four shitake mushroomsSliced mushrooms

  4. Put the pan on medium-low heat. I included a picture here because I often have difficulty judging medium-low. Melt the butter.

    Medium-low flameMelting the butter

  5. Add the mushrooms, chives, leeks, and salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are shrunken and look cooked and the leeks and chives are softened.

    Mushrooms, leeks, and chivesMushrooms, leeks, and chivesMushrooms, leeks, and chivesMushrooms, leeks, and chives

  6. Add the kale and the soy sauce. Let the kale wilt down, but just barely; don’t overcook it. I always wind up with a pile of greens that overflows the pan (see the picture below). When this happens, I let the bottom layer cook down for a minute, and then I use tongs to grab and “flip” everything. I give it another minute and then repeat, always making sure that a fresh bunch of greens is on the pan. It will cook down very quickly this way. The volume won’t be a problem for long.

    Overflowing kaleStarting to shrink down...Sautéed down to fit in the pan

  7. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the sesame oil before serving.

    Sautéed kale with mushrooms and leeks

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