Balsamic Tahini Kale Salad (Vegan + GF)


Hear me out. I know what you’re thinking…why are tahini and balsamic in the same sentence, let alone in the same dressing together?? Well….. I have this weird relationship with foods that have vinegar...or simply any item that has vinegar included in the description. I remember my friend saying and I quote, “Vinegar is the piss of Satan.” We can’t all have the same tastebuds, I mean there are people out there still eating McDonald’s even knowing that there are NINETEEN ingredients in their French fries. Did you read that correctly? Let me say it again, for those of you reading out there grabbing McDonald’s on the way home from work and feeding their kids a Happy (more like hormone-infested) Meal.

*breathes in deep* NINE! TEEN! *breathes out*

Back to topic, I don’t remember exactly how I came about putting balsamic vinegar in my tahini dressing for this kale salad, but I do know that my mom has about 10 different flavors of vinegar and oils scattered around the kitchen, so you can’t really blame me (or my mom).

You can thank us, though, *pats back* or you can hate on us for those vinegar haters out there (sorry not sorry lol).

ONCE AGAIN, back to topic…. (attention span of a squirrel here) Coming into the healthy eating world and furthering that journey by taking a big leap into the *gasps* VEGAN world--OH MY!—this is one of the many recipes I tried out in order to better my lifestyle of eating. Now, I’m going to be completely honest here by saying I one-HUNNIT percent HATED this recipe when I tried it…BUT..and it’s a big “but”..haha…I personalized this recipe to suit MY tastebuds. I mean, why not? I’m the one eating it, why should I have to suffer? If I want to enjoy eating healthy and make it a lifestyle and not a fad diet plan that doesn’t last in the long run, then I should cater to that!


So, I added balsamic vinegar to my dressing, figured out how to massage kale to take away the incredibly bitter taste of it, eliminated excessive effort by picking out the right kale (yes there is a RIGHT kale), and put some *kisses fingers* love into it. Let’s start off with some hacks to this recipe and then I’ll hand you the recipe like a vegan pizza on a platter (no steaks here).



First off, have you ever seen those big inflated bags of kale? Yeah, don’t get those unless you plan on single-handedly finding the needle in the haystack by picking out each small piece of kale that still has the stem on it (which is most of them…so basically finding the needle in the haystack by finding the ones who don’t have the stem on them lol). It took me way too long to realize that Publix (or your local grocery store) has unchopped kale, as well as multiple kinds to boot.


Do yourself a favor? Get the curly, unchopped kale. Save yourself the time and suffering.

Another hack I found, after a few meals of suffering the bitter taste of kale, was that you can *start drum roll* massage your kale *winks in French*. The number of concerned stares I received from my family when I informed them of this hack after trying it out myself, and it succeeding, was something I look back on often in my padded cell. Instead of using oil to massage my kale, I juice half a lemon on my kale and then massage it with two hands, sometimes with one hand when I’m feeling certified in masseuse-ing. During this process, you’ll immediately find that the kale is no longer dry, crispy, or if you taste it, as bitter. It will still have that kale-y flavoring, but not as strong. Now, let’s talk about L-O-V-E love *twitches eye in an awkward and completely failed attempt at winking*. There’s nothing like adding some love to your food, especially since you’re going to be putting in your body as nourishment. Normally, I add in some air-fried chickpeas, garbanzo beans whatever you wanna call them, and when I’m feeling particularly frisky I sauté some good ‘ole potatoes (the ones that have one ingredient in them contrary to NINETEEN). This is all up to y’all and how y’all are feeling (y-y-y-y-y’all) in the moment of making this recipe, but I’m going to add the potatoes as an option for those of y’all afraid of starches (these ones are good for you!) The very un-awkward love talk is over and the ingredients list is here to save this blog post!

Dressing:

1 heaped tablespoon tahini 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground ginger 3 tablespoons water (or more depending on desired consistency) 1 ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salad:

4 oz. fresh kale ½ lemon (juiced) ¼ cucumber (sliced into quarters) ½ cup garbanzo beans (canned or bagged and boiled at home)

Optional:

1/3 cup canned beets (sliced into quarters) ½ potato, quartered (trying out different potatoes is fun, explore your tastebuds!) ***I also like to add some seasoning to my chickpeas before I air fry them. Usually, it’s those seasonings that are local that say like, Seven Spices. You can add these to your potatoes if you choose, or garlic powder.

Directions:

1. Pat dry ½ cups of chickpeas before placing in an air fryer (sprinkled with a seasoning of your choosing beforehand) for 5-10 minutes at max temperature. For my air fryer, that’s at 400 F. 2. For optional potatoes, place in a pan on medium-high with 1/3 cup water. Cover to soften. After about five minutes, uncover and sauté. Add season if desired. 3. Peel kale away from the stem of the kale leaf. After rinsing in a strainer, shred into biteable pieces or cut on cutting board before straining to eliminate a mess of water and kale juices. Squeeze kale in a strainer to eliminate excess water and juices. 4. Place kale in a bowl. Cut a lemon in half, squeezing it over top of the kale. Proceed to massage kale, platonically, for about 30 seconds to a minute. Drain the bowl of excess juices. 5. Add in cucumber, beets (optional), potatoes (optional), and chickpeas (not optional). 6. In a small bowl, add in all dressing ingredients and mix them together. 7. Add dressing to a salad bowl and mix well. 8. Enjoy!

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