Creamy Kale Gratin With A Buttery Crumb Topping

This gratin is a symphony of textures: crispy breadcrumbs and kale-chippy top and sturdy greens, all blanketed in a rich, creamy sauce. And best of all, skipping the heavy cream doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor — this recipe uses a creamy, nutmeggy, miso-spiked bechamel sauce instead. This gratin is perfect with all of your winter holiday meals, but it’s great as an anytime-side dish to accompany your favorite roasted protein. Note: Skim milk is not the right choice for this dish — please don’t go any lighter than 2% milk for the best results! If you want to skip the miso, add another ½ teaspoon of salt.
25 min
8 Servings


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 bunches kale
  • ¼ c minced shallots
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup milk (whole or 2%), heated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Ground white pepper, to taste
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 2 cups day-old baguette, cut into croutons
  • ½ cup mild alpine-type cheese like Swiss
  • Instructions

    1. Use 1 tablespoon of butter to grease a 8” x 11” baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350o.
    2. Tear the ribs out of the kale and chop the leaves coarsely. Steam the kale for 2 minutes, and when it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Pat it dry with paper towels and set aside.
    3. Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the shallots and garlic for a minute until translucent. Add the flour and stir to coat evenly. Turn off the heat.
    4. Whisk in the milk until fully blended (don’t worry if there are a few lumps — they won’t be noticeable in the final dish). Turn the burner back on to medium-low, add the salt and pepper, and whisk in the miso.
    5. Simmer the bechamel sauce for 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken up. Stir in the kale, turning to coat evenly, and then scrape the creamed kale into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the baguette croutons and cheese and bake for 45 -50 minutes, or until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.