Vegan Green Kale Pakoras

Two kale leaves, elevated view, close up
Tom Hagen / Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 servings

Usually, Indian vegetable pakoras are made with cauliflower, onions or potatoes, deep-fried in an Indian-spiced batter, but these are made with kale for plenty of nutrients and fiber, and, they're pan-fried rather than deep-fried to reduce the fat. These kale snacks are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

These little kale pakoras came about because I had a half a bag of kale leftover from a Trader Joe's run and some chickpea flour which my housemates didn't know what to do with. My friend's 11-year old picky eater proclaimed it "chewy" and ate only one, but he liked the flavor and ate the whole thing.

One last tip: I tried several variants of this recipe, and found that the spice blend is very forgiving. So, if you don't have all the spices on hand, just use whatever you do have. I promise you won't even notice.


  • 1/2 large onion (chopped small)
  • 1 bunch kale (chopped into 1-inch pieces; about 1 3/4 cups, loosely packed)
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Approximately 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons oil for pan-frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Chop the onion and kale so that they're ready to go.

  2. Combine the chickpea flour, garam masala, ginger powder, crushed red pepper and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the water and 1/2 tsp oil, stirring to combine well. You may need to add a little more or less water. The batter should be thick, somewhat like pancake batter.

  3. Pre-heat oil, preferably in a non-stick pan, over medium-high heat.

  4. Add the kale and onion to the batter and stir to combine well.

  5. Once the oil is hot, drop the kale, about a large spoonful at a time, into the hot oil. Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes, then gently turn over. Bottom should be golden brown and well crisped. Heat another 2-3 minutes.

Pakoras are usually served with a dipping sauce to go along with them. Just about any kind will do. I used mango chutney, but a spicy hot sauce, barbecue sauce, or even ranch dressing would also be delicious.

Like these kale pakoras? Here are more healthy vegetarian Indian food recipes to try: