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Plate with pan fried black kale, crispy capers, chilli, garlic and lemon.
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5 from 1 vote

Cavolo Nero with Chilli, Garlic and Crispy Capers

This stir fried cavolo nero recipe is quick, easy and out of this world delicious. With some chilli, garlic, touch of lemon and crispy capers it makes perfect side for any occasion.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine British, International
Keyword cavolo nero recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 as a side dish
Calories 109kcal
Author Jo Allison


  • 400 g cavolo nero weight before taking leaves off the stems
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped/minced
  • 1 fresh red chilli deseeded (if you want) and finely chopped
  • ½ lemon (juice and zest) or to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon capers drained
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling, or oil of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Start with preparing cavolo nero - take leaves off the stalks, wash and roughly chop them.
  • Next, chop chilli and garlic and drain capers in a small sieve over a bowl.
    To help capers get super crispy when you fry them, pop them on a paper towel once you've drained them in a sieve to soak up any remaining brine and dry them even more.
  • Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry drained and dried capers until lightly golden and crispy. Move them onto a plate lined with paper towel to soak up some of the oil as you get on with the rest of the recipe.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil or extra virgin olive oil to the same pan and add finely chopped/minced garlic. Fry for a minute or two giving it a stir so that it doesn't burn as it would make it bitter.
  • Add chopped chilli and fry for another minute or so.
  • Add prepared cavolo nero to the pan with chilli and garlic and give it all a good stir.
  • Sautée for 5-8 minutes until slightly wilted and cooked but not mushy and still with some "bite" to it.
  • Add lemon juice and zest to taste and follow with crispy pan fried capers.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as required and perhaps a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (based on 4 servings) and should be treated as a rough guideline only. 
  • Leftovers can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge or frozen for up to a month. 
  • Feel free to use any oil you like for frying here. I sometimes use cold-pressed rapeseed oil for frying my capers but EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) for everything else.  As we don't fry for long EVOO is absolutely fine to use here. 
  • On tips how to prepare your cavolo nero for cooking see my guide on  "How to cook Cavolo Nero".
  1. Don't be tempted to use cavolo nero stalks in this dish, they're simply too tough for this quick stir fry. Leaves are all you want!
  2. Make sure your cavolo nero leaves are well dried after washing (salad spinner is great for that) so that it fries instead of steaming in the pan.
  3. When cooking garlic make sure the pan is not on high heat but slow and low to prevent garlic from burning and becoming bitter. Turn the heat up after adding cavolo nero and mixing it with chilli and garlic.


Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 10108IU | Vitamin C: 117mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 2mg