This flavorful, crunchy Greek kale salad with tahini dressing is as delicious as it is hearty and healthy. Loaded with crisp romaine and kale, crunchy radishes, creamy feta cheese, and drizzled with a creamy tahini Caesar dressing it is wonderfully tasty without being too heavy. Try it for lunch, as a side salad, or even as a satisfying vegetarian dinner salad!
During the heat of summer, it can be a challenge to come up with ideas for no-cook meals. Of course, grilling and Blackstone recipes are great options, because they keep the heat out of your kitchen. But not everyone enjoys outdoor cooking.
This is where a main dish salad like this one comes to the rescue! It’s delicious, healthy and light, but still filling, so it keeps even the big eaters satisfied.
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Reasons to Make Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing for Dinner
- Hearty enough to be a main dish.
This meal has the perfect blend of crispy romaine and kale greens, plus veggies and protein-packed chickpeas. The salad is sprinkled with feta cheese, and drizzled with a luscious and tangy tahini Caesar dressing.
- Easy to customize.
This Greek kale salad is easy to customize with whatever produce you have in your fridge. You’ll have a unique and delicious twist every time you make the salad.
We like to toss in roasted acorn squash or sweet potatoes in the fall, and Blackstone vegetables in the summer. And, pomegranate seeds are fun to add year round, for a burst of tart and sweet goodness.
Our Chicken Cobb with Green Goddess Dressing is another delicious main dish salad. It’s dairy-free and gluten-free, too.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
For the base of the kale salad
- Kale – This healthy green has a slight bitter flavor. Massaging helps reduce the bitterness (see our tips below), or you can use baby kale, which has a milder flavor.
- Romaine lettuce – Because kale is soft and doesn’t have much crunch factor, we include romaine too. You can substitute it with any salad greens you enjoy. Iceberg and butter lettuce are good options.
- Feta cheese – Feta is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean salads, but you can leave it out. Or, use a different variety of crumbled cheese. like Stilton.
- Purple cabbage – The reddish-purple color adds a nice visual pop, but green cabbage would be fine.
Tahini Dressing Ingredients
- Avocado oil – any mild flavor cooking oil is fine.
- Tahini paste
Tahini is made by grinding roasted sesame seeds into a paste. Good quality tahini paste has a subtly-sweet and nutty flavor, with a well-balanced hint of bitterness on the finish.
Although it has a similar taste to peanut butter, tahini is thinner in consistency than nut butter. Not only is it tasty, but two tablespoons of tahini provides 8 grams of protein. That makes it ideal as a salad dressing ingredient.
- Lime and/or lemon juice – We like the sweet-tart combo of lemon and lime juice together. You can use one or the other.
- Maple syrup – Honey is a great substitute
How to Massage Kale
Kale is often overlooked as a salad green because it can be a bit tough and chewy. This simple trick shows you how to soften the greens so they’re as tender as romaine lettuce. Massaging also eliminates some of the bitter flavor.
After chopping the leaves, add them to a salad bowl.
Using your clean hands as a scoop, pick up the kale and slide your hands in opposite directions to massage the leaves. This simple massaging action bruises the surface of the leaves.
Another benefit of this quick extra step is that the soft leaves will absorb the tahini dressing better.
Video – Massaging Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
Watch this video to see how easy it is to massage the greens for your Greek salad:
Pro Tip for Assembling Greek Kale Salad
If you’re preparing this salad ahead of time, it’s best to leave the salad unassembled until you’re ready to serve. You can prepare the veggies and other ingredients, but keep them in separate from the greens until it’s time to toss them with the dressing.
Making the Tahini Dressing
Combine all ingredients, except for the water, and whisk or mix until well blended. Add the water and blend again to completely emulsify the dressing. The dressing should be creamy and pourable.
Toss the kale salad with tahini dressing just before serving.
Serve your Greek salad with a pan-seared chicken breast, chicken piccata, or smoked shrimp for a healthy, low-calorie, keto-friendly dinner. Or, it would be the ideal side for this penne al Salmone dinner.
If you’re serving it as a main dish, it’s great with slices of pita bread or old fashioned yeast rolls.
Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing FAQ
Suitable substitutions for tahini paste are sunflower seed butter, almond or cashew butter, or peanut butter.
For a nice tang, add more lemon or lime juice, or to keep the flavor the same, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water.
Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
- large serving bowl
- 4 cups chopped kale (I prefer the lacinato or flat leafed kale)
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup purple (red) cabbage shredded
- 3 radishes scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup sweet potato cubes roasted
- ½ cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2 tablespoons French fried onions
Tahini Dressing Ingredients
- ¼ cup avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil, or vegetable oil
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- 2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt or more/less, to your taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more/less, to your taste
- Add kale to salad bowl and massage the leaves (see video and instructions "how to soften kale" in notes). Top with romaine lettuce and toss to combine the greens together. Layer remaining salad ingredients, including optional garnishes.
- As a make-ahead salad, leave out the optional sweet potatoes and onions until serving. Store in a sealed container for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
- I use a small blender or emersion blender to mix the salad dressing, but you can use a whisk and small bowl.
- Mix together oil, tahini, lime juice, mustard, and syrup then whisk or blend until they are well blended. Then add the cold water and blend together until emulsified. The mixture should be creamy, but pourable.
- Covered dressing will keep for about 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
This post, first published in May 2021, was updated with new content in April 2023.