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Braised Cavolo Nero with Shallots

Braised cavolo nero or Italian black kale cooked with butter, shallots & sherry before being finished with sweet peas, a fantastic side dish.

This recipe strips out the tough and woody stalk and uses just the leaves meaning that it cooks in under 30 minutes.

Overhead Braised cavolo nero with peas and shallots.

Braised Italian Black Kale

This delicious quickly braised cavolo nero side dish is wonderfully diverse and easy to make.

It is similar in some ways to dishes like my miso Brussel sprouts and petit pois a la Francaise.

The addition of a few ingredients elevates a simple dish from being good to being exceptional.

It features sweet shallots coloured up in butter before being braised in sherry and vegetable stock.

Sweet garden peas added for the last couple of minutes round out a wonderful side dish.

Braised cavolo nero with peas and shallots served with veggie crumble.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cavolo nero?

Cavolo nero is a type of kale that hales from Tuscany. It is a little sweeter than both cabbage and kale and is really versatile.

You can steam it, fry it, braise it, boil it, roast it and even eat it raw!

Do I have to remove the stems?

To cook this recipe yes! You can, in theory, eat the stems but they take an awfully long time to tenderise.

This means that the leaves have been seriously overcooked by the time they are ready!

Can I use onions instead of shallots?

Yes, just do not go too big! Peel them, and cut them into wedges making sure you leave on enough of the root to hold the onion together.

They will not be as sweet as the shallots but still very tasty.

Do I have to use sherry?

Not but it does add a wonderful flavour.

Substitutes that also work well are, vermouth, marsala, or Madiera, although you should make sure you use the dry variety.

A nice dry white wine also works pretty well.

Braised cavolo nero with peas and shallots.

Serving Suggestions

Braised cavolo nero makes for a wonderfully versatile side dish that will sit comfortably alongside a host of dishes.

In these pictures, it is shown with my vegetarian vegetable crumble.

But it would be equally good served with my pork chops with pears, chermoula chicken thighs, Lancashire hotpot or my minted lamb shanks.

Don’t forget Sunday lunch either!

Ditch the cabbage and serve this kale with roast chicken, roast pork or roast beef at the weekend.

It even works with fish and it is particularly good with cod mornay!

Braised cavolo nero kale with peas and shallots in a black bowl.

Equipment Used

I only name-check specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Large 28cm or 11″ (minimum) skillet or frying pan with a lid.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Sieve or colander, if you are using frozen peas.
Overhead Braised cavolo nero kale with peas and shallots in a black bowl.
Yield: 2 Servings

Braised Cavolo Nero Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This delicious and simple side dish features braised cavolo nero kale cooked in stock and sherry with seared shallots and sweet garden peas.


  • 400g (14oz) Cavolo Nero
  • 5 Small Shallots
  • 100g (¾ Cup) Peas
  • 50g (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Butter
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Dry Sherry
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Vegetable Stock
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper


  1. Strip the tough stalks from the cavolo nero, then shred the leaves into 1cm (½") thick strips.
  2. Cut the shallots in half lengthways, then peel them and set them aside.
  3. If you are using frozen peas, defrost them by running them under cold water for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Heat a wide 28cm or 11" frying pan (not non-stick) over a medium heat.
  5. Add the butter and when it begins to foam add the shallots, cut side down and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they get a nice colour.
  6. Flip the shallots, and turn the heat up to high.
  7. Pour in the dry sherry and allow it to reduce by two thirds which will take 5 minutes or so.
  8. Add the cavolo nero, season with salt and pepper then pour in the vegetable stock.
  9. Stir everything to combine, reduce the heat to low and add a lid, then cook for 5-7 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid, add the peas, stir and cook without a lid for a final 2 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 13gProtein: 7g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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