Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

5 from 2 votes
20 minutes
Jump To Recipe

Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing combines a variety of tastes and textures for a salad that’s got it all! Tender Tuscan kale and tahini bring an earthy element perfectly complimented by tangy goat cheese and salty pistachios for a standout side dish or light lunch!

Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

For a standout salad, it’s essential to have a wide array of flavors and textures. This easy kale salad is the perfect example of one with different elements brought together harmoniously with a delicious creamy dressing.

Tuscan kale, also known as dinosaur (dino) or lacinato kale, is used in this easy kale salad recipe because it has a mild flavor and is more tender than curly kale. The key is to first massage the kale with olive oil and salt until it softens and wilts a little.

Tangy crumbled goat cheese plays off avocado’s nutty, sweet flavor, and the creamy tahini kale salad dressing adds earthy richness accented with fresh lemon juice, which makes all the other ingredients pop!

This salad is simple and fast to assemble since there are no cooked components. The homemade kale salad dressing is whisked together quickly and uses mainly pantry staple ingredients. Goat cheese and tahini add a bit of protein, which means this salad works great as both a side dish and a satisfying light lunch!

This Tuscan Kale Salad recipe is:

  • Delicious! A wide array of tastes and textures make this salad perfectly balanced!
  • Quick! 
  • Healthy! This Tuscan kale recipe is packed with fresh and wholesome ingredients.
  • Versatile! It is super easy to customize this Tuscan kale recipe to your personal preference! Change out the nuts for almonds, walnuts, or macadamias, and use spinach or arugula instead of kale. Add a pop of sweetness with chopped Medjool dates.
Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon scooping some up.

How to Make Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Tuscan kale salad recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Kale: This salad used Tuscan kale, also known as lacinato or dinosaur (dino) kale. The leaves are a deep blue-green. It’s more tender and mild than curly kale and is a staple in Italian, specifically Tuscan, cuisine.
  • Avocado: Any variety of avocado will work in this salad. The most popular are Hass avocados.
  • Pistachios: Look for the pre-shelled roasted and salted pistachios.
  • Goat Cheese: This Tuscan kale recipe uses plain goat cheese, but varieties with different herbs or flavorings can also add more flavor.
  • Tahini: Tahini is a nut butter made from ground sesame seeds. The flavor is rich and has a slight bitterness or earthiness to it that works great in this salad.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh is always best! The amount required is from about one medium-sized lemon.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Make the dressing: Whisk together water, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and garlic until smooth. Add a pinch of cayenne and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Set aside or refrigerate if not using right away.
Lemon Tahini Dressing in glass bowl.
  • Remove the stems from the kale, then slice into 1-inch strips. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Sliced raw Tuscan kale in glass bowl.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the kale and add a pinch or two of salt.
  • With your hands, “massage” the kale for 3 to 4 minutes or until it softens and wilts by approximately 1/4th.
Tuscan kale in glass bowl after being massaged.
  • Transfer to serving plates and top with avocado, pistachios and goat cheese.
  • Or, combine in a bowl and gently combine, being careful not to mash the avocado.
Ingredients for Tuscan Kale Salad in glass bowl.
  • Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon.
  • Enjoy this Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing!

Chef Tip:

  • As mentioned above, “massaging” kale or working it with your hands for a few minutes is the key to making the kale tender. A pinch of salt brings out more flavor and helps further break down the tough fibers. The Tuscan kale should become glossy and slightly reduced in volume after it has been massaged.
Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can this Tuscan Kale Salad recipe be made ahead of time?

If you’re thinking of making this salad in advance or want to pack it for lunch, you can make the dressing and add all the components together except for the avocado. It’s best not to add the avocado until right before serving so it doesn’t turn brown. Tuscan kale and kale, in general, are sturdier than lettuce or spinach and will be fine in the dressing for up to a few hours. If you prepare this salad any further in advance than a few hours, wait to add the dressing.

Do I have to use Tuscan kale?

Tuscan kale works best for this salad because of its mild flavor and tender texture. However, regular or “curly” kale can be used instead. You may need to massage the regular kale for a bit longer.

Does this Tuscan Kale Salad hold up in the refrigerator?

If you’ve added all of the components and have leftovers, this salad can be stored in the fridge and is best enjoyed within one day. Keep in mind the avocado won’t look very pretty but discolored avocado is still safe to eat. If you leave the avocado out or remove it before storing, the salad can last up to two days.

Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon.

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Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing in beige bowl with serving spoon.

Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

5 from 2 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing combines a variety of tastes and textures for a salad that’s got it all! Tender Tuscan kale and tahini bring an earthy element perfectly complimented by tangy goat cheese and salty pistachios for a standout side dish or light lunch!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Salads
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4
Calories 438 kcal

Ingredients
  

Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey - to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Kale Salad

  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale - also called lacinato or dino kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large avocado - pitted and cubed
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions
 

Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • Whisk together water, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and garlic until smooth. Add a pinch of cayenne and salt and black pepper to taste.

Kale Salad

  • Remove the stems from the kale, then slice into 1-inch strips. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the kale and add a pinch or two of salt. With your hands, "massage" the kale for 3-4 minutes or until it softens and wilts by approximately 1/4th.
  • Transfer to serving plates and top with avocado, pistachios and goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 676mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 7163IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 253mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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