Cavolo nero is a typical winter vegetable and also known as palm cabbage or palm kale. The season of cavolo nero officially runs from autumn until about the end of February. This cavolo nero recipe with rice is nice and quick and perfect as an easy dinner.

Cavolo nero recipe

Cavolo nero recipe with rice

This recipe is a little on the late side in terms of season, but you can substitute the cavolo nero for kale if you wish. Anyway, cavolo nero is a bit harder to find here in the Netherlands. Nowadays you can find it in the supermarket every now and then, but at the market it is a bit more likely.

Palm kale gets its name from the fact that the plant grows in the shape of a palm. Which you can clearly see in the picture below. The Italian name cavolo nero owes the cabbage to the fact that the leaves are quite dark colored. I wouldn’t call it black but it can be quite dark green.

Originally it is a crop that comes from Tuscany. But of course you can also make a delicious palm kale recipe anywhere you can find this vegetable. The taste is similar to kale but the leaves are a bit more rigid and bitter.

cavolo nero

The palm kale owes its name to its growth form which resembles the shape of a palm

With rice and bacon

This time I made the palm kale recipe with rice and bacon. The saltiness of the smoked bacon is a perfect companion for the dark green vegetable and well, anything with bacon tastes good right?

Palm kale leaves are a bit tougher so it needs a little more time than kale. You can substitute the palm cabbage for kale quite well though. So if you can’t find palm cabbage anymore you can easily turn it into a kale recipe.

Frying the bacon

I made the palm kale recipe in a large wok. I started by cutting the block of bacon smaller and frying it – without added oil – in the wok. I then used the released fat to fry the rest. It definitely adds to the flavor. If you used fairly lean bacon, you may need to add some extra oil.

Next I fried the onion until it was nice and translucent. Don’t do this on too high a heat because it will go too fast. I added garlic and ginger and then the cavolo nero went in.

I let it sauté for about 20 minutes in total. The cabbage does need that to soften up a bit. You cook the rice while the rest is frying. You drain it and add it to the palm cabbage.

Cavolo nero recipe

I then added a little kecap manis, a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper, and the cavolo nero recipe was done.

It really is a nice easy and quick recipe which is also ideal for freezing. You can keep it in the fridge for a day or two or freeze it for later use.

What does cavolo nero taste like?

As mentioned, palm cabbage tastes like kale, but is slightly bitter and a bit harder in texture. But you can substitute palm kale for kale and vice versa.

Can you eat cavolo nero raw?

Like kale, you can also eat palm kale raw. Because the leaves are quite tough, the best way to do this is to cut the palm cabbage in smaller pieces and then massage it with some olive oil and coarse sea salt. You will see when it softens. The leaves will start to shine and shrink a bit. Not everyone tolerates raw cabbage equally well, so keep that in mind.

Is cavolo nero healthy?

Absolutely. Palm cabbage is high in calcium (more than milk!), high in vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A and K, iron and folic acid. So, without a doubt, a good choice for your health.

Can you easily grow cavolo nero yourself?

Yes it is a vegetable ideally suited for your own vegetable garden. It is a hardy vegetable but also does well when planted in spring or summer.

Cavolo nero recipe

What other names does cavolo nero have?

Well many! You might know cavolo nero as dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, palm cabbage or palm kale. Apparently the surface of the kale looks like the skin of a dinosaur..

Cavolo nero recipe
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Cavolo nero recipe with rice and bacon

Simple but tasty palm cabbage recipe with bacon and rice Preparation time: 10 min Preparation time: 20 min Total time: 30 min Diet type lactose free Servings: 2 persons
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people


  • 150 gr rice
  • 150 gr bacon diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 500 gr cavolo nero washed and chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1/2 lime juice


  • Put on a pan of water and cook the rice until tender according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat a wok without oil and fry the bacon in it. Use the fat that comes out of it to fry the rest. If the bacon is very lean add some oil to the wok.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan (but leave the oil in) and now add the onion. Fry this until nice and translucent. Then add the palm cabbage, ginger and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes until the palm cabbage is tender.
  • Add the soy sauce to the pan and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let fry on low heat for a while longer while shaking it occasionally.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lime over the palm cabbage and stir. Add the rice and sauté briefly. Taste for more salt and pepper and serve hot.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Dutch
Keyword: bacon, cavolo nero, onions
Diet: lactose free

Nutrition Information

Calories: 776kcal, Carbohydrates: 96g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 960mg, Potassium: 1212mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 25012IU, Vitamin C: 243mg, Calcium: 681mg, Iron: 5mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @simoneskitchen or tag #simoneskitchen!

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