This vegan tahini kale salad is light and fresh, full of flavour and so healthy too! Enjoy your greens with sweet apple, crunchy seeds and creamy tahini for a tasty lunch or side dish.
Whether it is for summer BBQs and picnics or holiday celebrations, side salads are always a must on my table! Quick and easy ideas such as my kale apple slaw, tropical mango slaw and quinoa arugula salad are such favourites in my home, so I hope they come to be enjoyed by yours too!
Love kale salads? Check out my kale wild rice salad for another lunch idea!
This tahini kale salad has the best creamy tahini dressing, with a hint of spice from the garlic and a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup. It's easy to make, super healthy and tastes great too!
⭐ Why this recipe is so good
Healthy comfort food vibes. Kale as comfort food I hear you ask? Well, I think this recipe with massaged kale in a creamy dressing feels like comfort food!
Uses pantry staples. Apples and kale are always on my shopping list, and the other ingredients are typical pantry staples.
Quick and easy. Don't be put off by the step of massaging kale - it takes just a few minutes! All super simple to do.
All the ingredients and their quantities are set out in the recipe card below.
Some notes on a few of them:
- Kale - I suggest using curly kale, baby kale or Lacinato as they work well in salads.
- Tahini - the light tahini has a better flavour for salad dressings than dark tahini, which can be a bit bitter.
- Apple - I like to use red apples as they are sweeter, but if you like the slightly more sour taste of green apples they work too!
📖 Swaps and variations
Swap apple cider vinegar for lemon juice. If citrus works for you then use a squeeze in the dressing.
Swap apple for salad vegetables. Prefer a more savoury salad? Add sliced radish, English cucumber or beets instead.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Making this tahini kale salad is very simple, and has just a few steps:
Prepare the kale. Remove the hard stems from the kale, then dice finely (image 1).
Massage the kale. Add the kale to a large bowl, then pour on the olive oil and salt. Massage between your fingers for a minute or so. It will soften and wilt (image 2).
Toast the seeds. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds to a dry pan and heat on low for 4-5 minutes until they very slightly brown (image 3). The pumpkin seeds may also start to pop. Stir occasionally to prevent any burning.
Make the tahini dressing. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk or stir until it forms a creamy dressing (image 4).
Assemble the salad. Combine the kale, apple and seeds and then stir through the dressing so it is all coated. Serve immediately and enjoy!
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- Don't skip massaging the kale! If you do it could taste tough and slightly bitter. Just a few minutes of giving the kale some attention makes such a difference and it becomes soft and delicious.
- Adjust the dressing. If you wish to thin the tahini dressing add a touch of extra water. To thicken, add more tahini and stir again.
- Dice the apple last. Apple tends to brown very quickly, so dice just before you serve the salad.
- Love garlic? Add another clove for some extra heat and spice!
📋 Frequently asked questions
I suggest using curly kale, baby kale or Lacinato kale for salads as they have a softer texture once prepared as above.
It's super quick - just a minute or two is all you need to do!
Yes, it's a vegan salad as we don't use mayo or any dairy. It's also gluten free.
🥗 How to serve tahini kale salad
Side salads work just as well for summer as for special occasions in the colder months. Serve this vegan kale salad in a few ways:
- Just as a light lunch! Enjoy by itself, perhaps with some extra seeds, fruit or vegetables.
- As a side for summer BBQs with main dishes such as my coconut spice chicken skewers, turkey herb skewers and my sweet potato burgers.
- For holiday celebrations (whatever the weather!) along with dishes such as my easy cauliflower hummus, beetroot broccoli salad and my creamy vegetable pasta salad.
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Tahini Kale Salad
- Remove the hard stems from the kale, and dice very finely.
- Add the kale to a large bowl, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt and pour in a teaspoon of olive oil. Massage the kale so it softens and wilts, takes just a few minutes.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in a dry skillet (without oil) until they start to slightly brown and pop.
- Make the tahini dressing by combining the ingredients and whisking well. Add more water to thin the dressing if required.
- Add the apple, toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds to the kale and drizzle over the tahini dressing. Toss to combine and coat the kale in the dressing.
- Be sure to remove the hard tough stems from the kale, and to massage it. It will be quite tough if you skip this step.
- To thicken the tahini dressing add a little more tahini. To thin, a little more water. Adjust to preference.
- Move the seeds around in the skillet to prevent any burning as they toast.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate not a guarantee.
- kale is not rated. It is low histamine on other lists.
- sesame (also for tahini), apple cider vinegar and garlic, which all score 1.
- black pepper, which scores 2.