Creamy kale and grapefruit salad with garlic tahini dressing

Since many of us are making resolutions to commit to a healthier lifestyle, I thought I’d share a tasty way to put a little more kick in your kale salad.

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Last year, something clicked and I determined that I absolutely loved kale. Prior to that, it was only a fibrous and bitter leaf and the butt of my jokes. “No one actually likes kale. They just eat it out of a sense of responsibility to their body or the clean eating culture or whatever cause it may possibly represent.” I was one of them. I even blogged about kale chips! I still stand by them, but let’s face it, it’s not the same as a carb-loaded potato chip.

What changed? I’m not sure. It’s likely I was eating it wrong many years. Being stubborn without cause, I kept chewing through it and eventually found a few ways to make kale a lot more enjoyable.

  • Massage it – Before I tried massaging the leaves, I didn’t think it would really make that much of a difference, but it does! If your kale is too tough, throw a few drops of olive oil into the leaves and massage it for a few minutes with your hands.
  • Dress it – With kale, you can’t dip your fork into a side of dressing before eating the leaf. This kind of goes along with massaging it, but the kale leaf needs to be sufficiently covered with a dressing, even if it’s just balsamic vinegar. It helps soften and moisturize the leaves while making it more palatable.
  • Dry it – My salads improved immensely when I bought a salad spinner. It’s hard to get all of the water out of the curly kale leaves, but the spinner leaves them crisp and dry.
  • Top it – I’ve found that the toppings make all the difference. First, add fruit. Fruit isn’t too common in the traditional iceberg and romaine salads, which are usually filled with cheeses and vegetables. But I think fruit is definitely a “must” when it comes to kale. It’s soft and adds a bit of juice. Additionally, it adds sweetness to offset some of kale’s bitterness. I also like to add nuts in my salads to give it a crunch. Adding anything to change the way the salad feels in your mouth will enhance its flavor.
  • Go for something different – Don’t be afraid to try something that you wouldn’t ordinarily add in a salad. I hesitantly added a raw egg yolk in this recipe (my favorite!) and it was amazing! I experienced reluctance with the grapefruit and fennel in this recipe and was pleasantly surprised.

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I first tried this salad over the Thanksgiving holiday. Ryan’s sister prepared it for us and I have to say, I was reluctant. While I’m usually pretty enthusiastic about kale, I’m definitely less so about grapefruit and fennel. You know how I said I used to joke that no one likes kale? Well, I strongly believe that no one can possibly like grapefruit.

But the flavors really come together in this salad. The grapefruit bursts with juice as you bite down, but it’s mellowed out by the creamy tahini. There’s definitely a lot of bitterness in this salad, but it’s not overwhelming and very pleasant to eat.

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Creamy Kale and Grapefruit Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes enough dressing for one bunch of kale and serves 4 – 6
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Yields: 4 - 6
Ingredients
For the Dressing
  • 1 – 2 Cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of water
For the Salad
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 bulb of fennel or small red onion
  • 1 bunch of kale (lactino or curly)
  • Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Instructions
For the Dressing
  1. Create the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the oil by slowly drizzling it into your tahini mixture as you continue to whisk.
  3. Whisk in a tablespoon or two of water to thin out your mixture. You can do this as needed, if you find the mixture is too thick to cover completely cover the salad.
For the Salad
  1. Wash the kale and remove the ribs. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. If you’re using lactino kale, consider slicing them a little thinner.
  2. Peel and slice the grapefruit into chunks removing any seeds or pith.
  3. Thinly slice the fennel bulb or red onion.
  4. Combine all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. Pour the dressing over the kale salad, making sure to cover all of the leaves.
  6. Serve with toasted pine nuts.

 

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I had to use a red onion because I didn’t have any fennel on hand, but they are both delicious. I promise this will not disappoint!

So what about you? Do you like kale? What’s one food that you can’t believe people eat?

3 thoughts on “Creamy kale and grapefruit salad with garlic tahini dressing

  1. haha! I used to think the same thing about grapefruit — especially the juice. that shit is nasty! I really like a juicy pink grapefruit sprinkled with salt, though. Bret introduced me to that. sugar doesn’t help cut the bitterness; it only attempts to mask it. salt, though…. try it!

    good tip about the salad spinner! i’ve been meaning to add one to my amazon wishlist for years.

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