This is, hands-down, my favorite kale recipe, and it is one of my all-time favorite cauliflower recipes (which is saying something, because I. Love. Cauliflower.) Dare I say, in fact, that this may be the best salad ever? I do. I really do. Even if you don’t like kale, trust me – you will love this salad. And through this salad, you might even learn to like kale, like I did.
I came very late to the kale bandwagon. Yes, I know, it’s THE superfood of superfoods; it fights cancer, promotes detoxification, extends your life, yada yada. But I just didn’t love its tough, fibrous leaves when raw, and found them strangely chewy when cooked. And yet it kept coming to me, weekly, in my farm share. I vowed to find a way, any way, to eat the leafy green.
A friend turned me on to kale salads with lemon dressing – the acidity in the lemon helps break down the tough leaves, but because the leaves are so hardy, I could actually dress the salad and store it for days in the fridge. I was on to something, but I still wasn’t sold. And then I discovered The Recipe in an issue of Real Simple. It combined kale (The Leaf That Shall be Eaten) with a lemon dressing (a must, as I had discovered) with my favorite veggie (cauliflower)! Since that fateful day I have made this recipe at least a dozen times – a true rarity in my kitchen, where a dish should count itself lucky if it even gets made twice. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Kale Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Tahini-Lemon Dressing
adapted from this Real Simple recipe
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into florets (or just chopped any which way, like I do it)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 T olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3 T fresh lemon juice
- 10 cups stemmed and chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
(The original recipe also calls for pine nuts and raisins, which I’m sure would be delicious, but I never have them on hand and don’t think the salad misses them much.)
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Toss the cauliflower with the cayenne, 1.5 T of the oil, and a sprinkle of salt, and spread in a rimmed baking sheet or 9X13 pyrex.
Roast, stirring once, until there are some lovely golden bits on each piece, about 40 minutes.
While the cauliflower works its magic in the oven, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, the remaining 1.5 T of oil, ¾ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl. If it’s too thick, add more water – you definitely want to be able to pour it.
Combine the kale and onion in a large bowl; toss it with the dressing. Add the cauliflower when it is done and toss some more, until everything is coated nicely. The heat from the cauliflower will also help the dressing to spread, and wilt the kale just a little bit.
You can store the salad in the fridge for a few days, but I recommend eating at room temperature. The flavor only gets better each day… if you can keep from eating it all in one sitting, that is!