Garlic Lovers Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

My entire family loves garlic. It’s flavorful and so good for you. Our seasonal produce lets me blend some fun ingredients together to make a salad with layers of garlic flavor. Tahini, an essential ingredient in hummus, makes a great salad dressing. Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale) is the sweet one of the bunch for salads once you remove the bitter center rib, and I give you an easy tip below. Garlic scapes taste like roasted garlic when sautéed — yum! And what about these salad turnips I spied? Tayne at Fiddlehead Farm said they taste like radishes but less astringent. She also told me how they can be sautéed to make them sweeter, and that’s when I got an idea…

A bowl of garlic-lovers kale salad.

Serves 4


  • 1 large bunch of lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale*
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes*
  • 1 bunch of salad turnips*
  • 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)

* available at the market


Wash the kale. Take a leaf and fold it in half lengthwise with the back side up and center rib exposed. Use a knife to slice off the thick rib and compost it. Repeat with remaining leaves. Shred leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. With clean hands, massage the kale really well to break down the fibers. Set aside.

Trim the garlic scapes and cut the rest into 1-inch pieces. Trim the salad turnips. Cut the small ones in half and the larger ones into small wedges. Smash one clove of garlic with the side of a knife and remove the husk. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic scapes and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds – keep the scapes moving in the pan so they don’t brown. Remove from oil and place in a bowl. Drop the smashed garlic clove in the oil and turn the heat down to medium low. You want the clove to shimmer but not brown. Once the oil is infused (about 1 minute), remove the clove (discard) and toss in the salad turnips. Cook on low for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Keep them tender crisp. Remove and cool in the same bowl as the scapes.

In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup tahini (stir it together in the jar until smooth if the oil has separated) and 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. It will become a paste. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of water (or more as needed for a creamy dressing consistency) and a pinch of salt. Mince the remaining clove of garlic and incorporate into the dressing. Add a bit more lemon or salt to taste as necessary, but remember there’s already some salt on the kale. Mix the dressing well into the kale, then toss in the garlic scapes and salad turnips.

Note: This salad holds up well and can be made and refrigerated a day in advance but be advised, the garlic intensifies overnight.

Written by KJ Fields. She writes about people, projects and health from her place in Woodstock.

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