Monday 19 March 2018

Forkful's easy suppers: Kale and Tahini Salad

Kale and Tahini Salad. Photo: Mark Duggan
Kale and Tahini Salad. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Something I learned about myself over the holidays (or perhaps something I was reminded of) was my almost pathological lack of self control around crackers.

It's not just as a pairing with cheese that I love them - I'm happy with the crackers on their own, and can easily eat an entire box as if they were peanuts (I've done it before), and the holiday season means I don't have to feel too guilty about my lack of willpower.

I'm not here to feel bad or to make anyone else feel bad about their holiday treats. I am all about comfort eating and giving in to guilty pleasures, as long as it runs parallel with a sensibly healthy diet. Those endless cheeseboards, jars of pâté and plates of cake were 100pc worth it! But this week, after a fortnight of blissfully slothful indulgence, I am genuinely craving greens.

For me, kale and carrots are the perfect winter salad combination. I've roasted the carrots in my favourite combination of honey and cumin seeds, while the kale only needs a bit of a massage with the citrus dressing to prepare it for eating.

The tahini yogurt dressing makes use of garlic roasted alongside the carrots to make a truly scrumptious dressing, and adds a hearty dollop of soul to this wintery salad. You don't want to shock your system too much by being stingy on your dressing. The tahini and yogurt combination is a rich and savoury treat that makes even the greenest of salads very palatable.

I've gone vegetarian this week but a piece of grilled chicken, spiced with some sumac or za'atar, would be delicious if sliced and added to the salad. Serve with a few toasted flatbreads smeared with hummus on the  side.

Kale and Tahini Salad

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


For the carrots:

5 carrots

1 head of garlic

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the kale:

250g bag of kale leaves

3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the tahini dressing:

3 tablespoons of natural yogurt

1 tablespoon of tahini paste

About 3 tablespoons of cold water

To serve:

Handful of flaked almonds

Pomegranate seeds

Feta cheese


1. Start by peeling the carrots and slicing them, lengthways, in half and then half again. Place the carrots into a roasting dish. Slice the head of garlic in half and place around the carrots in the roasting dish. Drizzle the carrots with honey and rapeseed oil, and sprinkle with cumin seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 for 25 minutes, or until carrots are just tender but still have a nice bite.

2. Meanwhile, wash the kale and remove any stalks. Use your hands to tear up any larger leaves. Place the kale in a large serving bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the rapeseed oil, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pour half of this dressing onto the kale and use your hands to massage it into the kale leaves. Set aside the rest of the dressing for serving.

3. Make the tahini dressing by mixing together the tahini paste, yogurt and the cold water. You want the consistency to be nice and runny. At this point, your carrots should be ready. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the roasted garlic head and pick out three well-roasted cloves. Use a knife to crush or finely slice the roasted garlic cloves and add them to the tahini dressing.

4. Add the roasted carrots to the dressed kale leaves. Top with a sprinkle of flaked almonds, fresh pomegranate seeds, a crumble of feta cheese and a drizzle of tahini dressing.

This week's storecupboard essential

Tahini: This isn't the first time I've suggested you get on the tahini train, but it's worth reminding you again, especially as this sesame seed paste can transform a dull salad to a delicious dinner in the form of a tasty dressing. It's a key ingredient for hummus, and is widely available in health shops and well-stocked supermarkets.

Irish Independent

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