Salads are one of those food categories best enjoyed seasonally.
Not just because the ingredients will be at their freshest and most nutritious, but because our bodies crave certain foods and ingredients at different times of the year.
Salads made with delicate lettuces, summer fruits — like peaches, melons, and berries — and light vinaigrettes are what we crave during hot summer weather when lighter fare won’t weigh us down. During winter, we crave salads with more substance, like those made with hearty greens, protein sources like nuts, beans and cheese, and thicker, creamier dressings.
Speaking of dressing, tahini, or ground sesame seed paste, is the perfect foundation ingredient for clinging to hearty, dark, leafy greens. It’s thick and creamy with a rich nutty taste while being dairy-free.
With winter right around the corner, you’ll make this versatile Kale and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing time and time again. It’s simple enough for weekday meals yet beautiful for featuring on your holiday table.
¼ cup (60 ml) Brandless apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) water
1¼ teaspoons Brandless coconut sugar
2 ounces (¼ medium) red onion, very thinly sliced
¼ cup (36g) pine nuts
3 bunches lacinato kale leaves, stems discarded, washed and cut into strips
1 large well scrubbed lemon, zested and juiced, divided
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (40 ml) Brandless extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons (90g) Brandless tahini
1 small clove garlic, minced or grated
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml) tamari
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Brandless maple syrup
1 teaspoons ground sumac, plus more for garnish if desired
Generous pinch cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 Persian or Kirby cucumber, sliced into rounds or half moons
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
4 ounces crumbled sheep’s milk feta
- Pickle the onion: Combine vinegar, water, coconut sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Turn off heat, add onion, and let stand at room temperature while you proceed.
- Toast the pine nuts: Add nuts to a small skillet over medium heat, and toast, tossing frequently, until golden and fragrant. Set aside.
- Massage the kale: Add kale to a large bowl with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Toss to combine, and massage firmly for 2 minutes, working the leaves though your fingers. The kale will turn a deeper, more vivid shade of green and begin to shrink in size and change in texture. Once the leaves feel silky and tender, set aside.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with remaining lemon juice, tahini, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, dill, tamari, maple syrup, sumac, cayenne, and several grinds black pepper. If dressing seems very thick, whisk in warm water to thin to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Assemble the salad: Drain the onions and add them to the kale, along with the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and pine nuts. Pour the dressing over the salad and fold everything together. Serve immediately.