If you're anything like me, and have had a lifelong love/hate relationship with salads (to be honest, mostly hate), this kale Greek salad with garlic tahini dressing just might be a game changer. Growing up, salads consisted of pale, iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing and sometimes, nothing more. It's not that it was bad, it was just bleh. I could think of 8,000 things I'd rather eat more than cold, bleh, iceberg lettuce. But fortunately, over time (I'm talking major realizations about health, diet changes, two kids and two postpartums later) salad and I have moved past an obligatory relationship to being good friends.
This kale Greek salad is the opposite of bleh. It's sort of like a chop salad, with small bits of fresh vegetables on a bed of finely-chopped cabbage and kale. Don't skimp on the chopping because there's nothing that will make a salad feel like rabbit food more than chewing on large, rough kale leaves.
what MAKES this kale Greek salad
- Crispy chicken. IMO, what every noteworthy salad needs. I seasoned it with a store-bought shawarma spice rub, but I've also used this easy shawarma spice recipe to make it at home.
- Tender kale. You'll want to tenderize the kale, which makes a world of difference. More on that below.
- Flavor add-ins like chopped red onion, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes or peppercinis.
- A low-carb, cruciferous vegetable blend of kale, cabbage and radish make this a power blend of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- A bomb garlic tahini dressing made with roasted garlic. The more dressing, the better. And a kale salad always needs extra dressing.
pro tips for kale Greek salad
- You don't have to roast the garlic but I highly suggest it. Plus, it's an easy step to do while you're prepping everything else.
- To tenderize the kale, cut the rib out of each leaf (the stem that goes all the way up through the leaf), chop the kale leaves small, and then drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lemon over the kale. Use your hands to massage the oil/lemon into the kale for about five minutes, then let it sit in the fridge as you prep the rest of the salad.
- Pan-fry the seasoned chicken thighs in coconut oil (alternatives are ghee or olive oil) until they're browned and crispy, then slice and serve on top. I prefer using chicken thighs because they're super flavorful and tender. More keto fat macros if you can find chicken thighs with skin, but if they're not skinless, they're usually not boneless so just factor in a longer cook time.
fat sources in kale Greek salad
Salad is often labeled a "low-fat meal," obviously not ideal if you're following a keto diet. That's not the case with this kale Greek salad. The vegetables are low-carb, the roasted garlic tahini dressing is high in healthy fat, and the chicken adds a few grams of fat. Olives are mostly fat, so they're a great addition to any salad. Plus, you can always top this with avocado, a drizzle of olive oil or MCT oil to really increase your fat macronutrients.
I know it's the holidays, but this kale Greek salad is a nice break from all the comfort food and treats! You'll want to back-pocket this roasted garlic tahini recipe because it's a great dip, dressing and sauce for so many things. Merry, merry!
you might also love...
- This comforting, no-bean, keto chili. An easy dinner, and YES to all the leftovers.
- Cranberry curd bars, my very favorite keto holiday dessert! So delicious and the prettiest shade of red there is.
kale Greek salad + garlic tahini dressingCourse: main course, saladCuisine: keto, gluten-free, low-carb, dairy-freeDifficulty: easy
A kale Greek salad with a smooth and flavorful garlic tahini dressing. Crispy, pan-fried and shawarma-seasoned chicken is served on a bed of chopped kale, cabbage, and other crunchy veggies, then topped with a garlic tahini dressing to make this the ultimate keto salad.
- Kale Greek Salad
2 tablespoons coconut oil (ghee or olive oil works too)
1-2 pounds chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
1 head kale (curly kale or Red Russian kale)
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a lemon
¼ red onion, diced
⅓ head cabbage, finely chopped
2 large radishes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1, 10-ounce package grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
toppings like kalamata olives (pitted), avocado or peppercinis
- Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing
1 head garlic* + 1 tablespoon olive oil (for roasting)
⅓ cup tahini
½ cup warm water
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
- Kale Greek Salad
- Roast the garlic while you cook the chicken (jump to Step 1 of Roasted Garlic Tahini instructions below). In a large frying pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Rinse and pat dry the chicken thighs, then season each side generously with the shawarma rub. Place the chicken in the pan and cook each side for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. Set aside to cool.
- While the chicken is cooking, rinse and dry the kale. Remove the stem and rib, then chop the kale small. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the kale and use your hands to gently massage it into the leaves. Massage for about five minutes to tenderize the kale, then place it in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Chop the rest of the vegetables, then assemble them on top of the bed of kale.
- Slice the cooled chicken and place on the salad. Top with olives and other add-ons, then drizzle on a generous serving of the roasted garlic tahini dressing.
- Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the top off the head of garlic, slightly exposing the garlic cloves. Remove any of the loose outer garlic skin. Place the garlic head flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet* (cut-side up) and drizzle the olive oil on the garlic head. You want the olive oil to seep into the garlic head, evenly dispersed around the cloves. Roast for about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let the garlic cool.
- In a blender (I use a bullet blender), combine the tahini, warm water, lemon juice and 6 cloves of roasted garlic (you can easily press them out of the cooled garlic head and use a fork if needed). Process until smooth and then add more garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- You can roast the entire head of garlic but you'll only need about 6 (medium-sized) cloves. Add more or less based on preference. Roast the garlic while you're cooking the chicken and preparing the salad.
- I have also roasted garlic in a muffin tin, which helps to contain the olive oil.
- This kale Greek salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days (without the dressing on it). The garlic tahini dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.