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This post appears in the Thanksgiving Traditions challenge.


Can you believe it’s Thanksgiving already? I don’t think time could move any faster!

I’m in full pie mode right now and debating on what to do for our vegetable side dishes. So many choices, so little time.

I’ve never been into creamy vegetables like creamed spinach. It’s not that I don’t like creamy. I do. I just tend to prefer a “cleaner” preparation of my veggies.

However gratins are different. Yes, some are swimming in cream, but I tend to look for those that aren’t. A little dairy goes a long way!

As I was flipping through a cook book at the library, this kale gratin totally caught my attention and I knew I had to make a similar version. It’s not super creamy like creamed spinach, but definitely has some richness to it. Plus, I had the most amazing uncured thick cut bacon in my fridge from Coscto and it was just starting at me, waiting to be incorporated in moderation into some delicious recipe.


I added onions and garlic to the recipe because you can’t lose when you do that!

I also used low sodium vegetable broth and half & half instead of chicken broth and cream, two changes I know did not hurt the dish in the slightest.

Lacinato kale is one of my favorites and luckily I get it in my CSA box a lot. Lacinato kale (aka Dinosaur kale) is darker in color and a bit sweeter than curly kale. The stems aren’t as thick as curly kale either. I just love it!


The smokey bacon paired with the rich cheesy kale is a perfect side for a vegetarian plate, salmon or steak. Or just straight off the plate like I had it! If you see lacinato kale, make sure to give it a try. Or any type of kale for that matter!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I don’t think there will be a whole lot of blogging happening the rest of this week. Enjoy your families and food! XO

P.S. One more day to enter the Nourish Snacks giveaway!

Kale and Bacon Gratin- a smokey and rich side dish for any occasion! via @nutritiouseats
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Kale and Bacon Gratin
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
45 mins
a delicious smokey bacon and kale side dish goes perfect on a vegetarian plate or with your favorite protein, like salmon or steak.
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4-6
  • 6 cups (packed) lacinato kale (~1¼ lb), rinsed, dried and cut into thin strips (aka ribbons)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 slices thick cut smoky bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion diced (~1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into tiny cubes
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmigiano-Regianno
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, add the bacon and cook for ~5 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and sauté for another 5 minute or until bacon is crisp. Add the kale, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Take the lid off the pot and cook kale for a few more minutes or until no liquid remains on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, add the flour and stir until no white remains. Spray a medium gratin dish or pie plate with cooking spray or rub with butter. Check kale for seasoning and then transfer to the dish in an even layer. Sprinkle the butter over the top of the kale, sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Drizzle half and half over the kale and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is browned. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Pike's Place Market Recipes


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Nutritious Eats, Melanie Flinn

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Registered Dietitian and mother of 4 young children, sharing healthy recipes, nutrition and fitness tips at Nutritious Eats.