Does kale or spinach taste better?

Kale and spinach are two of the most nutritious leafy green vegetables around. Both are packed with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that provide a range of health benefits. When it comes to taste, kale and spinach appeal to different palates. Kale has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, while spinach is more mild tasting. Whether you prefer kale or spinach comes down to personal taste preferences.

Nutrition Profile

Kale and spinach have very similar nutrition profiles. Both are excellent sources of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and potassium. They also contain some calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E. Here’s a comparison of some key nutrients in 1 cup (30 grams) of raw, chopped kale and spinach:

Nutrient Kale Spinach
Calories 8 7
Fiber 0.6g 0.7g
Vitamin K 113% DV 145% DV
Vitamin A 10% DV 56% DV
Vitamin C 134% DV 14% DV
Manganese 7% DV 9% DV
Folate 5% DV 9% DV

As you can see, both vegetables provide significant amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese. Spinach contains more vitamin A and folate, while kale provides more vitamin C. Overall, their nutrition profiles are quite similar.

Phytonutrients and Antioxidants

In addition to vitamins and minerals, kale and spinach contain beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids and flavonoids. These phytonutrients give kale and spinach their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids found in both greens. They help protect eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (1).

Spinach is very high in carotenoids, providing over 9,000 mcg per cup. Kale contains over 4,000 mcg per cup (2).

Flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin, are antioxidants found in both kale and spinach that protect cells from damage and help reduce inflammation (3).

These plant compounds are likely responsible for many of the beneficial effects that kale and spinach have on health.

Potential Health Benefits

Eating kale and spinach provides many impressive health benefits:

May Reduce Cancer Risk

The carotenoids, flavonoids, and fiber in kale and spinach may help prevent the development of certain cancers. Folate has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer (4).

One study found that eating spinach more than twice a week was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (5).

Supports Heart Health

Kale and spinach contain many nutrients that support heart health, including:

  • Vitamin K helps prevent calcium buildup in arteries (6).
  • Folate helps reduce homocysteine levels, a risk factor for heart disease (7).
  • Nitrates help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure (8).
  • Magnesium and potassium support healthy blood pressure (9).

May Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is linked to many illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune conditions. The antioxidants in kale and spinach help reduce inflammation in the body (10).

Supports Bone Health

Kale and spinach provide calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and phosphorus — all nutrients required for building and maintaining strong bones (11).

One study showed that people with the highest intakes of green leafy vegetables like spinach had a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis (12).

May Protect Vision Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina of the eye and protect against sunlight damage. They help prevent disorders like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (13).

Boosts Immunity

Kale and spinach are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that may strengthen the immune system, such as vitamins A, C, and K (14).

Kale vs Spinach: Flavor and Texture

Kale and spinach differ most when it comes to their flavor and texture:

  • Kale has a stronger, earthier flavor and fibrous texture. It can be slightly bitter when raw.
  • Spinach has a milder, subtly sweet taste and is more tender and delicate.

Kale’s hardy leaves are green or purple and have a tough central stalk. The leaves are curly or bumpy. Spinach has smooth, tender triangular or oval-shaped leaves.

Kale maintains its texture better when cooked, while spinach becomes more soft and wilted. Kale chips have become popular as a snack, and kale is great sautéed or blended into smoothies.

Spinach has a more delicate flavor that’s perfect raw in salads but also stands up nicely to cooking. It works well in pastas, soups, and stir-fries.

How to Choose and Store

When buying kale and spinach, look for deeply colored leaves that are firm and crisp, not wilted or slimy.

Avoid spinach or kale with yellowing or browning leaves. The smaller the leaves of kale, the more tender they will be.

Baby spinach is a popular choice since the leaves are small, tender, and milder tasting. For kale, lacinato or dinosaur kale is a bit more tender than curly kale.

Store both greens unwashed and dry in plastic bags in the refrigerator for 3–5 days.

Wash them just before using to prevent the leaves from getting soggy. Cut or tear kale leaves off their tough stems before using.

Quick Ideas for Using Kale and Spinach

Here are some simple ways to enjoy kale and spinach:


  • Sauté with garlic and olive oil
  • Add to soups, stews, and casseroles
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Massage with lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic for salads
  • Bake into kale chips


  • Add raw baby spinach to salads
  • Sauté and add to omelets, pastas, and stir-fries
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Add to soups, lasagnas, and curries


Kale and spinach are both powerhouse vegetables loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds. They provide an array of health benefits and can easily be added to your diet.

While their nutrition profiles are fairly similar, kale and spinach differ in their flavor and texture. Kale has an earthier, more robust flavor, while spinach is more delicate and neutral tasting.

Which one you prefer comes down to personal taste. Both are excellent choices that can boost your nutritional intake and promote good health.

To enjoy their benefits, eat kale and spinach regularly as part of a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins and fats, and dairy or fortified non-dairy milks.

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