Tahini Kale Salad

Kale is one of my all-time favorite greens and the best part is, it’s usually fairly inexpensive! I’ve always cooked my kale, even if just slightly, to make it more tender and easier to eat. But this time, I wanted to experiment with eating it raw.

I’ve seen several recipes for tahini dressing and decided to combine my favorite parts of all of them. If you’re unfamiliar with tahini, it’s like peanut butter but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts. It has an interestingly smooth, yet slightly bitter flavor. Tahini is what makes hummus taste like hummus, rather than just chickpea paste. Tahini can be expensive, but luckily, you only need to use it in small amounts. You can find tahini either in the peanut butter aisle or near other mediterranean ingredients (olives, oil, vinegar, etc.).

This salad comes together in just a few minutes and, thanks to kale’s hearty texture, it stays good in the refrigerator for quite a few days. Add a hard boiled egg, some tomato, cucumber, or avocado and you’ve made it into a meal!

Also, I made two batches of this, the first with a clove of garlic mixed into the dressing. While the garlic was awesome, it wasn’t convenient. Don’t add garlic unless you plan on not being around other human beings for at least 24 hours after eating the salad. Just a fair warning.

Tahini Kale Salad

Tahini Kale Salad

4.34 from 6 votes

Tahini Kale Salad

Tahini kale salad is a hearty mix of fresh kale greens, tahini, lemon, and garlic.

Total Cost $2.09 recipe / $0.52 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 bunch kale $0.99
  • 3 Tbsp tahini $0.61
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.11
  • 1 tsp honey $0.04
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 medium lemon $0.30


  1. Pull the kale leaves from the stems, place them in a colander and rinse with cool water. Let the leaves drain while you prepare the dressing.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tahini, olive oil, honey, salt, cayenne pepper, and juice from half a lemon. Stir until smooth and thick. The tahini might clump up but if you keep stirring, it should smooth out. If it won’t get completely smooth, it will not effect the salad in the end.
  3. Cut the kale leaves into thin ribbons. To do this, take one handful of leaves at a time, compress them together on the cutting board and then cut into thin strips.
  4. Combine the kale ribbons and tahini dressing in a bowl and stir until all of the leaves are coated. Serve immediately.


Tahini Kale Salad
I sprinkled a few sesame seeds on top for garnish, but this is not needed for flavor.

Step By Step Photos

kale bunch
If you’re unfamiliar with kale, this is what it looks like in the grocery store. The bunch looks pretty small but once you take the leaves off, it seems to expand. It’s a lot of greens.

de-stem kale
The leaves pull away from the tough kale stems easily. You can do this with your hands and it will only take a minute or so. Don’t worry about the leaves tearing into strange shapes. It won’t matter once it’s all cut up. Rinse the kale leaves well.

make dressing
Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk together (tahini, olive oil, honey, salt, cayenne, lemon juice).

clumpy tahini
When you stir any watery liquid into tahini (be it lemon juice or water itself) it will kind of clump up and look curdled. Don’t let this worry you. It doesn’t affect the flavor and if you keep stirring…

smooth tahini
It will eventually smooth out. It is a very strange effect. Tahini by itself is thin and almost runny… add some water and it seizes up into a thick paste. Anyway, if you can’t get your tahini dressing smooth, don’t worry. It will still taste the same.

kale ribbons
Now it’s time to cut the kale into ribbons. Cutting the kale into really thin strips makes it easy to eat, which is important because it is very hearty and fibrous when raw. Take a big handful of kale, compress it into a little ball on the cutting board and then carefully move your fingers a little bit at a time as you slice it into thin strips. I just find it easier to control and cut into thin strips when I have it “compressed” under my hand.

kale and tahini
Combine the kale and tahini dressing in a large bowl. Stir and stir and stir until the kale is well coated in the thick dressing.

finished tahini kale salad
And then it looks like this and taste like heaven.

tahini kale salad