Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad Wraps – let the salads begin!

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(Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad Wraps – recipe in post)

I love salad. I’m not sure I can say this enough, but for all my fondness of fancy plates and pastries, I always find myself going back to greens, greens, greens. I cannot turn down fresh veggies, simple as that.

I could go on for days declaring my adoration of salads, expounding upon the varieties, and elucidating the finer points of preparation. But I won’t… today. I’ve got plenty of time to give my dissertation on dressings, because from June 1st – June 30th I’ll be eating salads every single day.

One of my all-time favorite foodies, Angela (of Oh She Glows fame) has proposed to her readers a month long salad-a-day challenge… and I’m in! The weather is hot, the veggies are fresh, and I’ve got no excuses!

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Kale is such a wonderful green – one of my favorites, really. Dark, leafy, and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Most would agree it’s perfect for wilting, cooked down like spinach or collards, but few would consider eating it raw. Sadly, they don’t know what they’re missing out on! The key is in the dressing.

The fat in salad dressings can very quickly break down the naturally waxy exterior of leafy greens, causing them to turn dark and soggy. When it comes to dressing a typical salad, it is imperative that it be served right away, lest the greens begin to wilt.
Kale, on the other hand, is very strong and sturdy – not so weak and prissy-pants as those other greens – so by dressing the salad ahead of time the hardy leafs soften slightly, turning from fibrous to fabulous without the need for heat.

Because this salad holds up so well (lasting up to a week or more in a refrigerated airtight container) it’s perfect for make-ahead lunches, or to bring to potlucks or other gatherings. Eat it straight out of the bowl as a salad, or serve in a wrap, or between bread. Add cooked quinoa, beans, or other protein to make it a quick and easy meal.

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So what about you – will you take on the salad-a-day challenge? Let me know in the comments!

Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad
(Vegan, gluten-free, and easily made raw)

Dressing
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste) raw or toasted
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1 TBSP olive oil
4-5 TBSP water, or to desired consistency
1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/8th tsp. powdered ginger

Salad
2 large bunches green or purple kale (about 24 oz.)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 carrots, shredded or ribboned
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or sliced almonds, raw or toasted (optional)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw or roasted (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other fruit (optional)

For serving (optional)
Tortilla wraps
Fresh sliced avocado
Other fresh veggies
Quinoa/beans/other protien

Method
For the dressing.
In the bowl of a blender or food processor, add all ingredients except herbs/seasonings. Blend until smooth, adding water one TBSP at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the herbs and pulse to combine. Set aside.

For the salad.
Wash and dry the kale, and cut or tear the large leafy parts away from the thick stems. Discard the stems.
Tear the kale into medium-small pieces, and place in a very large bowl. The kale will wilt down with the dressing, so don’t worry if it fills the bowl at this point.
Pour the dressing over the kale and mix very thoroughly. Add in the bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and any other add-ins, and toss to combine.
Let sit in a lidded container or baggie in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but note that the longer it sits the more moisture the dressing will lose – to perk up the salad, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top and mix to combine.

  

_________________________________________________________
In other news…

This past week I was nominated for not one, but two awards – and I find myself reiterating once again the great appreciation I have for this community I’ve found myself a part of. I have to send a big thank-you and shout-out to my friends Nashanne, from Oishii Treats, and Abby of Seaweed and Sassafras, for passing along these incredible awards. Thank you both!
(One Lovely Blog Award, nominated by Oishii Treats)

(Excellence in Storytelling Award, nominated by Seaweed and Sassafras)


The rules for both are fairly simple – share a few things about yourself your readers don’t already know, and pass the award on to some of your favorite bloggers. For the Excellence in Storytelling award, nominees must visit the Food Stories Award Site and enter their nomination to be a part of the official judging/giveaway.
Some facts about me:
  • At fourteen years old, I vowed to run away to L.A. and become a movie star (spoiler alert: I am not a movie star).
  • Besides recipes and the blog, I enjoy writing fiction/short stories/poetry. When I was five or six years old I created my first ‘book’, with pages stapled into a cut-up cereal box for binding. It was an epic six-page tale, fully illustrated, of ‘Stripes’ and ‘Dots’, the shy and lonely dinosaurs. Go figure.
  • I’ve never eaten banana cream pie… this has recently been brought to my attention.
  • I once lit my microwave on fire (accidentally, of course). Incredibly, it continues to work fine.
  • When I was little, there was a big tree in my front yard that I would climb. I frequently sat in the lower branches, singing at the top of my lungs. Every time a person/vehicle/biker went by, I would stop abruptly, certain that I was invisible and that no one would know I was there.
And the nominees are…
For the One Lovely Blog Award:
Courtney @ The Fig Tree
For the Food Stories Award (don’t forget to visit http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/ to become an official nominee):
Congrats to each of you – keep doing what you do!
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39 Responses to Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad Wraps – let the salads begin!

  1. Courtney J June 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Awe!!!!!! Thank you so much Willow! You made my week 🙂 hugggs!!!! Much appreciated – especially coming from someone as talented as you! Your photos are always gorgeous and recipes so inspiring.

    The salad looks great! Yummmm! I’m excited to try kale in a salad. Believe it or not, I’m scared to try kale. I have had a hatred for cooked spinach since I was a kid that I cannot shake. Lol. Your salad has convinced me to try raw kale in a salad tho!

    The salad a day challenge a day sounds fun! Do you have to make a new salad every day for a month? And do you have to post about it? Or is it just the point of eating any salad for a whole month? I eat lots of veggies, but more salads would be good! 🙂

    Hugs! Have a great weekend! Xoxo

    • Willow June 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      You absolutely desserve the award! So happy to pass it on to you.

      And the salad-a-day challenge is to *eat* a salad every day. It doesn’t have to be different, or fancy… this salad will last me quite a while with left-overs, for sure. I’ll be posting a lot of salad recipes this month (all my favorites, for sure) but certainly not every day. Making a new one every day would be quite a commitment, and hard to keep up with eating them all before they go to waste!

      Also, I hope you like the kale – it is similar to spinach, but definitely different in a lot of ways. Let me know what you think! 🙂

  2. glutenfreehappytummy.com June 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Congrats on your awards! how exciting! and your wrap looks incredible! the colors! oh my gosh! just beautiful! thanks for sharing!

  3. Lindsay June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    This looks so delicious!

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

      Indeed – I’ve been enjoying the leftovers! 🙂

  4. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes June 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Willow you are the best – THANK YOU for the mention, girl you inspire me everyday with your lovely blog 🙂

    I think I might be jumping on board with this challenge – what a perfect time of year with all the farmstands jus opening up around me 🙂

    Loving this salad, I would totally make it into a wrap too!

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      Aw, thanks! And that wonderful to hear – I’ve already got so many ideas for salads this month, I’m really looking forward to each one. 😀

  5. Eileen June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Kale, avocado, and tahini–what a perfect combination! Salad for all! 🙂

  6. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina June 2, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Oooooh, a salad a day? Are you going to blog all of them? Because I’m a salad lovah myself, and I’m hoping you introduce me to some new yummies!!!

    Congrats on the awards!!

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

      I intend to feature many of my favorites, but I won’t necessarily eat a *different* salad every day… I usually have plenty for leftovers and what-not. Will probably post quite a few, though! 🙂

  7. Oishii Treats June 2, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Kristy June 2, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Those wraps look stellar! You put kale in anything and I’m all over it. Great pics too!

  9. Oishii Treats June 2, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Yum! I love me a good salad and even better its wrapped in a tortilla. love it! I will be making this one for lunch soon =)

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Great, I hope you like it! Thanks again for the award. 😀

  10. Grubarazzi June 2, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Absolutely my kind of salad wrap. Lovely.

  11. Foodie Stuntman June 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Congratulations on your awards! Salads every day for a month? I admire your commitment.

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

      Thanks! It shouldn’t be too hard… I’m a fiend for greens!

  12. Kels @ K and K Test Kitchen June 3, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    This salad sounds amazing! That dressing alone would be great on anything. Congrats on your awards.

  13. Caitlin June 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    i die for kale salads. this one looks amazing and i love that you put it into a wrap! looks soooo good!

    • Willow June 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      Haha, yes! Kale is the best. And wrapping it up had the added bonus of making it portable – hellloooooo, lunch! 🙂

  14. From Valeries Kitchen June 4, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    These pictures are just gorgeous Willow! The first time I tried kale was in my a vegan salad my sis made and it was delish! I love the idea of including them into a wrap.

  15. Stefanie June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I just wanted to say that I made he dressing and kale salad yesterday and it is so amazingly delicious! The dressing is so good on everything and it will definitely be my new summer salad dressing this year! Thanks!

    • Willow June 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you liked it. 😀

  16. Terri Cole June 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    My husband and I eat a salad most every day as part of our plant-strong diet. I will definitely be making this gorgeous kale salad at some point this week!

    • Willow June 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      Very cool! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

  17. Richa June 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    i love everything about this wrap! its so fresh and the pictures so gorgeous!
    i dont even remember what my dreams and plans were when i was 14.:) i was busy painting large things on my room walls all summer!

    • Willow June 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

      Thanks! And I had a lot of random aspirations that never went anywhere, I can only recall a few of them… 🙂

  18. Kat June 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for the award Willow (sorry to comment so belatedly)!!

    Ooh, and I love kale (it’s my favorite green and sometimes I make a salad just to have an excuse to have it).

    • Willow June 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      Hehe – you’re welcome, it’s well deserved!

  19. shannon @ a periodic table June 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    first i should say thank you so much for my award! are you sure you don’t want to retract that since it took me so long to comment? sheesh…my fault. stupid, pesky things to do around here kept me from getting my act together. 🙂
    but thank you! and i need to pass this one and a few others along, so it also serves as a nice reminder to get going on that. this salad has everything i want in it…i LOVE avocado, especially in the summer, and am always looking for new ways to use it. lovely!

    • Willow June 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      Haha, no worries! And thanks, I really liked the avocado in the dressing. 🙂

  20. Cut `n Clean Greens September 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Love this! So simple, yet nutritious and perfectly easy for any lunch or dinner. Great tip about kale salads holding up so well as leftovers that they make superior wrap fillings. We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you made it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, escarole, dandelion and other green leafies. https://www.facebook.com/Cut.n.Clean.Greens

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens
    https://www.facebook.com/Cut.n.Clean.Greens

  21. Feisty at Fifty March 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    That salad looks wonderous! I must try it! This is the first time I’ve come across your blog. I will return! — Cara O’Sullivan

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