White bean and kale salad with tahini dressing

So I’m going to do that thing again where I share a salad recipe on a Friday. I know, it’s not as fun as a cocktail, but when you’re staring Monday in the face in a few days (that was cruel of me, I’m sorry), you’ll be grateful to at least have “What can I eat for dinner that won’t make me hate myself?” checked off the list.

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This salad also has a story (don’t they all?). The story goes: a few weeks ago I went to Flex Mussels with my roommate. I used to be an avid mussel eater…then I had a bad mussel and, well, I won’t go into the particulars.

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I don’t think I’m off mussels forever but this dinner at Flex was just a little too soon. Instead, I got a salad. (See where this is going?)

It was a kale salad with trumpet mushrooms, crab meat and crispy sunchokes in a tahini dressing. And it was amazing. So amazing that I suspiciously asked the waiter if there was cheese in it only to find out that tahini has the magic powers to be savory and rich and taste like parmesan.

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Lacinato kale

Aaaaaaaand now I’m a tahini convert.

The sad part of this story is that the salad was a special, and since I can’t get it again I’ve been obsessed with recreating it…sans the crabmeat, trumpet mushrooms and crispy sunchokes. I’m not that fancy.

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Which brings me to this white bean kale salad with tahini dressing from Minimalist Baker. While it’s not an exact duplicate (and my search continues…) it’s pretty satisfying. There are lot of steps, I won’t lie, but the end result is something so good you’ll eat it straight out of the mixing bowl whilst standing in your kitchen.

Perfect Sunday night – or any night – dinner fodder.

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White bean and kale salad with tahini dressing
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker)

Makes enough for 2-3 meal-sized salads. If not eating all at once, only prepare the amount of kale you want to eat right away.

For the croutons:
2 cups bread, cubed (crusty or slightly stale is best)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

For the white beans:
1 15-ounce can white or butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

For the salad:
6 cups kale, removed from stalk and torn into bite-sized pieces*
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced**
Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing:
1/3 cup tahini
1 small clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot water to thin

For croutons, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add bread cubes to a mixing bowl. Toss with oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper until thoroughly coated. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crunchy, flipping/stirring halfway through.

Then, add drained white beans to a bowl and mix in lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Prepare the kale: add to a mixing bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Use your hands to mix it together, “massaging” the liquid into the kale – yes, it sounds stupid but this is a fact of life when eating kale. The acid in the lemon juice and the olive oil help to break it down and make it delicious.

For the dressing, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender and pulse to combine. If it seems to thick, add hot water and pulse again. You can also whisk the dressing together but blending will make it smoother.

For your final step – you’re almost done! – combine kale and white beans, then toss with dressing. Top with croutons and munch forth.

If eating later, store kale, beans and dressing separately, and put the croutons in a well-sealed ziplock bag.

*: A note on kale…you know you have a problem when you have a favorite type of kale, but here I am. My favorite type of kale is lacinato, and I like to slice it vertically in long, narrow strips. I like the texture a lot better and think it yields a nice kale-to-dressing ratio. Be warned that this is more labor intensive then tearing it but I think it’s worth it.

Also, the measurements for the kale are approximate. Figure out how much kale you actually want to eat and go with that.

**: There is a lot of garlic in this salad. If that’s not your thing, feel free to omit or cut down but for the love of all around you, make sure you’re not using the colossal garlic cloves I used the first time I made this.

White bean kale salad with tahini dressing: http://minimalistbaker.com/white-bean-kale-salad-with-tahini-dressing/

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