This easy kale and bean salad is packed with good for you ingredients, is crave-worthy and can be made in advance. Thanks to a creamy tahini dressing, the salad is plant-based, vegan and ultra-satisfying. Jump to the Kale and Bean Salad Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
The base is perfectly prepped raw kale — see below to see how we turn tough to digest raw kale into a tender, delicious salad base. Next comes protein-packed and satisfying white beans — one of our favorite meatless ingredients. Last, but not least, we toss the whole salad in our dreamy tahini dressing and top with omega-3 rich walnuts.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: If you love pesto, give our Kale and Almond Pesto Pasta a try. Instead of using basil, we use kale. The pasta is quick, easy and delicious! See the Kale and Almond Pesto Pasta Recipe.
How to Make the Best Raw Kale Salad
We love using kale in salad, but prepping the kale properly is a must.
Since kale is such a hearty green, it can sometimes be too much when served raw. Here’s how we take raw kale from tough to tender:
- Remove the ribs — The ribs are tough and aren’t the best when eaten raw. Use your fingers to pull the leaves away from the stems. Save the ribs for cooking later on or adding to stocks.
- Rinse clean — Run the kale leaves under cool water to remove any dirt then pat or spin dry.
- Chop the leaves small — Kale is a hearty veggie so keep the pieces small for the salad. Sometimes we shred the kale, which looks really nice in a bowl. For this kale and bean salad recipe, we simple chop into bite-size pieces.
- Massage the kale — Here’s the real secret to the best kale salad. Throw the kale into a bowl and top with a little salt and something acidic (we use lemon juice in this recipe). Then use your fingers to massage the salt and acid into the kale leaves. As you do this, you’ll notice that the leaves turn a deeper green and they start to feel softer and more tender. The salt, acid and massaging helps to break the kale down — similar to what happens when you cook it. By adding this step to your kale salad making repertoire, you turn hearty (and sometimes hard to digest) raw kale into tender, delicious salad greens.
Finish the Salad with Beans, Tahini Dressing and Walnuts
When the kale is prepped, it’s time to build the salad. In goes some beans — we use chickpeas and cannellini beans, but any kind of bean will work. To make things easy, reach for canned or cook your own beans from scratch.
On to the dressing. We have a version of this tahini sauce in our fridge at all times. It’s lemony, garlicky and works wonders when drizzled or tossed with veggies. We especially love it drizzled over these honey roasted carrots. To make it, start with tahini — use store-bought or try our homemade tahini — then whisk in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, spices and water. It’s a total winner.
For the dressing, we use our Dreamy Tahini Sauce recipe. It’s very simple to make. To get the full recipe, click here or the photo to the right.
Last, but not least, we throw in walnuts — you could use any nut in its place. We do love the walnuts, though. They add richness and crunch.
Once the salad is done, it should last quite a while in your fridge. This is the perfect make-ahead lunch. It will be good for at least a day, if not two or three.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, review it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #inspiredtaste on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Kale and Bean Salad Recipe with Tahini Dressing and Walnuts
Since kale is such a hearty green, it can be hard to digest when served raw. To prevent this, we massage the kale leaves with a little salt and lemon juice. By rubbing the salt and lemon into the leaves, some of the structure of the kale breaks down. This makes the kale a deeper color of green and much more tender than if left raw.
For the dressing, we use our Dreamy Tahini Sauce recipe. It’s very simple to make. To get the full recipe, click here or the link in the ingredients list below.
You Will Need
1 bunch kale, about 7 cups leaves
3 ounces walnut halves, about 3/4 cup, lightly toasted
2 (15-ounce) cans beans such as chickpeas or cannellini beans, about 3 cups
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup dreamy tahini sauce, see the recipe for our tahini sauce here
Juice of half a lemon
Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Lemon slices, optional
Strip the leaves from hearty kale stems and chop or tear apart (save the stems for another recipe). Rinse the leaves under cool water then pat or spin dry.
Add the kale to a large bowl then use your fingers to massage the leaves with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the juice from half a lemon. After about a minute, the kale will be a deeper green and feel more tender in your fingers.
If using canned beans, drain and rinse them. Add the beans, parsley and most of the tahini sauce to the kale. Toss well then adjust with more sauce if the salad seems dry — we like to be generous with the dressing. Toss in the walnuts, some freshly ground black pepper and serve with a few lemon slices as a garnish.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- To toast nuts, add them to a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch the nuts carefully, they can go from toasted to burnt quickly.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.