Does anybody else have a friend who amends their lunch order so heavily that they start with a chicken ciabatta sandwich and end up with a bowl of raw, plain kale? Like—hold the chicken and the sandwich please, and could you just take the lettuce that was in there, multiply it, and put it in a bowl? One of my best best friends is like that. But not necessarily for health reasons (one of her other main food groups is sour patch kids). It’s because she just likes her food that way: plain and raw.
I recently got to visit her in Chicago and we had lunch at a cute little restaurant next to her apartment. She ordered the tahini kale salad, and of course held the good stuff—bacon, and parmesan cheese. I ordered the salad as-is* and it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had.
She was happily munching on her salad, so I tried her version, sans bacon and cheese. Ya know what?! It was just as good. Why? How?! The dressing. It’s magic. Just trust me. This salad can be amended to accommodate any dietary restriction or preference without losing its goodness. Just don't skimp on the dressing.
*I can be just as picky, but in different ways—don’t be afraid to order what you want in a restaurant!
Food La La Recipe: Best Friend Kale Tahini Salad
- 2.5 cups Brussels sprouts (about 7 oz)
- 1 bunch dinosaur kale
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 package of (nitrite free) bacon
- Optional: parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 TBS rice vinegar
- 4 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup water – until thin
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Next, with the flat edge down on the cutting board, finely slice lengthwise to “shred” the Brussels sprout into long thin pieces. Reserve in a large salad bowl.
- Wash the kale then tear leaves away from the rib. Discard the rib and place the kale in a colander. Pour the boiling water over top. Let cool then squeeze out extra moisture.
- Chop kale into smaller pieces and add to the salad bowl. Set aside
- Warm a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the bacon in a single layer (cook two batches if you’re crowding the pan). Crumble bacon and add to salad bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, rice vinegar, and maple syrup. If the dressing is too thick, and a bit of water to thin it out.
- Toss dressing with the greens and add the toasted almonds (and parmesan if you’re using!) and serve.