This is a very simple yet sophisticated salad. With only 5 ingredients and so many different add-in options, you can try a different combo each time you make it. This kale salad with tahini dressing is both amazing and amazingly healthy for you.
Is It Good To Eat Kale Everyday?
Eating kale every day is highly beneficial for many people. Kale is high in vitamin K, and also contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, iron, and folate. It is also a staple green vegetable in the Mediterranean diet.
Research of the health benefits of kale show that its high content of antioxidants, carotenoids, glucosinolates, and polyphenols, are extremely beneficial to human health. For example, kale consumption is known to benefits:
- cardiovascular health
So yes, technically you can eat kale every day. However, while kale is a pretty impressive and highly nutritious food, of which many health professionals boast as being a “superfood”, I still highly encourage variety and balance in your overall diet.
Want another kale salad recipe? Try my Best Kale Salad Ever!
Does Kale Effect Blood Pressure?
Research on the benefits and active components of kale show that kale is rich in nitrate. Other vegetables including cabbage, turnips, and beetroot also contain nitrates. These nitrate-rich foods are said to improve blood pressure and endothelial function. Though research studies are conflicting in this area.
In terms of heart disease, consuming a predominantly plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including kale, is associated with a lower incidence of myocardial infarctions, stroke, and fatal coronary heart disease.
Want to know what other things you can do to prevent heart disease? Read 5 Things You Can Do to Support Heart Health NOW
Who Should NOT Eat Kale?
Individuals taking the blood thinning medication, coumadin, may need to limit their intake of kale due to medication interactions. This is because coumadin is prescribed to thin your blood, whereas kale contains high amounts of vitamin K, which contributes to blood clotting.
Additionally, those with thyroid issues should also take caution when eating kale. Raw kale contains two special compounds, glucosinolate and progoitrin, which can interfere with thyroid function and thyroid hormone synthesis. This is specifically applies to those with hypothyroidism.
And finally, kale is very fibrous, so for those who aren’t use to eating much fiber, I suggest you EASE into it to avoid GI issues.
Ingredients for Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
There are only a few ingredients to this kale salad, yet it tastes incredible. Sometimes a few good ingredients is all you need to make a recipe that stands the test of time. This is one of those recipes.
Kale– I use common curly kale in this recipe, which is the type of kale most often found in grocery stores. You can also use other types of kale such as lacinato, dino, or red Russian kale if available near you.
Tahini dressing– this recipe wouldn’t be the same without the tahini dressing for the kale salad. Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and maple syrup combine to form the creamiest dressing you’ve ever had. You can find the instructions in this recipe post or conveniently included in the recipe card below. It only take about three minutes to prepare but you can make it up to a day or two ahead of time if needed.
Red onion– I’m not a huge fan of cutting onions nor am I fond of the strong onion breath that seems to linger for a full day after I eat onions, so if you’re like me, feel free to cut back on the onions. I used half a small red onion, slicing them fairly thin.
Kalamata olives– Unlike onions, I LOVE Kalamata olives, especially in salads. They give the best little salty punch to your salad while adding some healthy fat to this kale salad recipe.
Sun-dried tomatoes– And last but not least are the sun-dried tomatoes. They are so flavorful, contributing a naturally sweet and tangy addition to this salad. I used plain, packaged sun-dried tomatoes however, you can also use jarred varieties packed in olive oil.
Substitutions and Variations
As I mentioned in the intro, there are so many different add-in options and combinations to gussy-up this kale salad recipe even more. Here are a few of my favorite add-ins for you to try:
- Add some roasted chickpeas for some plant-based protein, making this a kale tahini chickpea salad.
- Add some cheese for extra flavor. Fresh parmesan, halloumi, or feta would work so well!
- Nuts and seeds can be included for extra protein, healthy fats, and crunch. Try sliced almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
- Try adding some fruit like dried cranberries or thinly sliced green apples
- Cubes of roasted butternut squash also pair well in a kale salad. If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it.
And here are a few substitutions you could try:
- Instead of curly kale, try lacinato kale or baby kale.
- Try fresh tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil in place of plain sun-dried tomatoes.
- Substitute a variety of olives for more color.
- And of course you can always vary the dressing if you have one you prefer.
Interested in more heart-healthy cooking or baking substitutions? Check out 5 Healthy Recipe Substitutions [Plus Free PDF]
What To Serve With Kale Salad
This is all going to depend on whether you are serving this salad as a side dish or as your main entrée. I’ll try to cover both options for you.
If serving your kale salad as a side dish:
- One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
- Broiled Salmon with Marmalade Dijon Glaze
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Any type of grilled or roasted meat such as chicken, turkey, salmon, or other seafood
- Pasta dishes including lasagna or baked ziti
- Even pizza, like my Sardine Pizza With Spinach and Tomato
If serving your kale salad as a main entrée:
- Roasted Vegetable Medley
- Addicting Garlic Bread with Olive Oil
- Sweet potato fries
- A variety of crackers and cheeses
- Fresh fruit salad
- Some nice, crusty bread like a baguette or Italian bread with butter
I like to massage my kale leaves after pouring on the dressing. This helps to soften up the tough kale leaves and incorporates the dressing throughout the salad. If you aren’t serving the salad immediately, you can also massage the dressing into the salad then refrigerate it for about an hour to soften it more.
It’s best to eat this salad when it nice and freshly made, however it will keep well for about 5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator.
Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
- 1 Salad Spinner optional
For Kale Salad
- 1 head curly kale
- ½ red onion
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
For Tahini Dressing
- 5 Tbsp tahini
- 3 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice from ~1 lemon)
- 1 Tbsp garlic minced
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- First prepare the tahini dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and whisking until emulsified. Set aside for now
- Wash kale, then chop or tear into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
- Add all other salad ingredients to the large bowl with kale.
- Add your dressing and toss or massage until all the kale is coated.
- Try other varieties of kale such as dino, lacinato, or baby kale.
- Slice the onion very thinly so it’s not too strong of an onion taste in each bite.
- Use a variety of olives to add more color and healthy fat.
- You can substitute marinated sun-dried tomatoes or fresh tomatoes as well.
- Try adding a protein source to make this a heartier meal- try grilled chicken, salmon, marinated tofu, tempeh, or garbanzo beans.
💬 Did you try this kale salad with tahini dressing recipe? How did you like it? What changes would you make? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you!
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.