Raw Kale Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Vegan)

“Spring is here but I find my daily cooking is still lingering on the winter side of things.  Seattle weather has been warm these past few days and a sunny 71 degree forecast in April is a nice little gift . . . that is until I stepped on the scale this morning and realized all my summer clothes were a size smaller than I knew I’d fit into.  So, it’s time to lighten things up in the kitchen.  I have been carb loading these past few months so I knew my first line of defense was to increase my greens.  More veggies and fruits, less carb-o-licious foods.  I regularly make a kale salad several times a week but the dressing, although delicious, is a little more fuller fat and calorie laden than what I need right now.  So I browsed a few of my favorite blogs, looked over some of my saved pinterest favorites and found this recipe for a lightened up cabbage salad with lemon-tahini dressing on OhSheGlows.com.  I have  4 heads of kale in my refrigerator so I decided to substitute kale for cabbage.  I also didn’t have celery nor did I desire to put it in the salad so I ended up with a simple salad with julienned carrots, red bell peppers, toasted sunflower seeds and the most delicious lemon tahini dressing made with less oil and boasting vitamin packed nutritional yeast and lots of garlic. It might be simple to make, but it tastes absolutely divine and gives you that twist from the same old, same old type of salad. Don’t let the simple look of it steer you away, it’s all in the dressing and this one is uniquely different with the garlic and “cheesy” tasting nutritional yeast. You can easily change it up to include your favorite veggies, too.  I just bought my first julienne peeler so I had to give it a whirl on this recipe and now I am hooked!  If you don’t have one, it’s worth the $10 you might spend on it.  It cuts nice long strips of carrots that I cut down in length to make perfect little matchsticks.  This recipe below makes much more dressing than you need so you can cut extra veggies, pop them in the refrigerator then make another salad the next day in even less time.”

-Inspired by OhSheGlows


  • 1/4 cup no salt tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • dash or two of pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 garlic cloves (more if you like it real garlicy – I use about 8-10)
  • 6 cups of kale, destemmed and torn into small bite size pieces
  • 2 carrots, julienned (a julienne peeler works best)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced or cut into matchsticks
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds, dry roasted


  1. In a small bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, water, oil, salt and pepper.  Add in nutritional yeast and garlic.  Add more water as needed 1 tbsp at a time until you have desired consistency.  It should be on the thicker side but not so thick that you can’t pour it on the salad.  Taste for salt, pepper and garlic and add more as desired.
  2. Put the kale in a large salad bowl and mix about 1/2 the dressing into it.  (I found it best to use my hands to do this as you are able to “massage” the dressing into the leaves which can start off to be somewhat stiff.  This helps to soften the kale a little to make it more palatable while eating it raw.)
  3. Toss in the carrots, red pepper and sunflower seeds and coat.  Add more dressing if desired and serve.
  4. Refrigerate extra dressing and use the next day for another delicious salad.
Footnotes: Kale is a stiff so if you don’t finish eating all the salad, this is one of the only varieties of “lettuce” that will keep overnight in the refrigerator, with dressing on it, and not be soggy the next day.  It’s always better fresh, but if you must, you can refrigerate and eat later for a healthy midnight snack.

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Categories: Salads, Side Dishes, Vegan


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11 Comments on “Raw Kale Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Vegan)”

  1. April 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    I want this salad! I just put nutritional yeast on my shopping list, a lighter lemon-tahini dressing sounds like just what my summer needs.

    • April 25, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      I love the cheesy aspect that nutritional yeast provides. You’ll have to let me know how you end up making your salad (because I know you will experiment 🙂 )

  2. April 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    This looks ridiculously tasty! 🙂

    • April 25, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      It’s tasty and easy. Experiment with the dressing ratios. The next day it will thicken so you may need to add more water but the flavor is vibrant enough it won’t water it down. Super easy stuff!

  3. April 25, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I’m always looking for new ways to serve raw kale, and we just happen to have a huge jar of tahini. Trying this soon!

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      My favorite is still my tahini-garlic Kale Salad that you can find here https://voguevegetarian.com/2011/11/04/tahini-garlic-kale-salad/ You might want to give this one a try too if you have tons of tahini. Enjoy!

      • April 26, 2012 at 11:28 am #

        Excellent, thank you! Do you think sesame seeds would be a good alternative to sunflower seeds? My husband is allergic to sunflower.

      • April 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

        Lauren, yes, I think sesame seeds would work just fine. Sunflower seeds give it a nice texture and light nutty flavor but since tahini is ground up sesame seeds, the sesame should be a nice substitute. Let me know what you think.

      • April 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

        Will do!

  4. Heather Givens
    April 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    This looks so good!!! A lot of times when I want to make something new I read yours and others recipes, just for a place to start. Sometimes I will just use the ideas and make variations of my own, but this is one I think I would make exactly as is. You have had several that are like that for me. Good job, my dear!

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Oh, wow! I think you’ll like it. If you save the dressing overnight, it will be a little thicker so you may need to add a little more water. Salads like this sometimes are better if you just get in with your hands and massage it into the leaves a bit. Enjoy!

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