Kale Slaw with Tahini Dressing

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A simply tahini dressing tops this vibrant kale salad featuring crunchy walnuts. Perfect to serve as a salad, side dish, or taco topping.

Did the kale trend peak in 2015? Maybe! But to be honest, I love kale and use it frequently.

It’s just different enough from lettuce and has a taste all its own. I find it less bitter than cabbage, and easier to work with!

A bowl of kale salad with a wooden spoon.

We use kale in everything from tortellini soup to stuffed squash to simple breakfast scrambles.

I like this kale slaw both as a side dish, and as a topping for burgers, sandwiches and even tacos.

it’s full of flavor thanks to the garlic tahini dressing that’s so easy to whip together. You’ll love this one!

Ingredients for kale slaw

Full list of ingredients with quantities is located in the recipe card.

You’ll need:

The ingredients for a kale salad are laid out on a table.

Kale – Grab one or two bunches of kale to make this slaw. You’ll need 3 cups chopped, so if you are slightly short, just make up the rest with extra cabbage.

Red cabbage – Also labeled as purple cabbage, this adds a lovely color contrast in the slaw. Look for a firm head of cabbage that is a bit smaller, unless you want to have extra cabbage on hand.

Walnuts – Nuts in slaws and salads are so good! You can always leave the walnuts out if you want to use this slaw for a burger topper.

Olive oil – Used to make the dressing as well as tossing the kale.

Tahini – Tahini is a sauce made from toasted sesame seeds. You might be familiar with it as an ingredient for hummus, but it’s also a great addition to salad dressings.

Make sure to stir the tahini well before measuring it out, as the oil separates as it rests in the jar.

Lemon juice – Lemon lifts the flavor of all the ingredients, and goes so well with the kale.

Tamari – While similar to soy sauce, tamari has a somewhat smoother flavor, and is a little thicker. It is generally gluten free, but check the label in case of cross-contamination.

Garlic – Use one small glove of garlic (unless you love garlic flavor!). This is about ½ to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.

Salt and pepper – For seasoning

Varieties of kale

If you’re unfamiliar with kale, you might not know that there are two main kinds, curly kale and dinosaur kale, which is also called lacinato kale or Tuscan kale.

Curly kale comes in both green and purple varieties. It looks more like leaf lettuce in the shape of the head as well as in the leaves, but the leaves themselves are quite curly and fluffy. Curly kale is what you might see most often at your grocery store, especially if you buy pre-chopped kale or salad kits with kale. 

I prefer dinosaur kale as I think it is much easier to work with in terms of cooking. I love the deep color, and I like the texture of the kale better than curly. You can use whichever you prefer, but I do think the dens or kale works best for this slaw recipe.

Kale is in season for much of the year, but it actually is best in the colder months. This is because the cold helps greens and other winter-hardy vegetables increase their natural sugar content, giving them an even better flavor. Greens grown in the warmer months. don’t have quite as much flavor.

Preparing kale

When buying kale make sure that it is not wilted and the leaves look nice and crisp. It might have some small tears or holes; that’s totally fine! 

Make sure you wash your kale thoroughly before using it any recipe. I find that little little caterpillars like inchworms, or other tiny bugs, hide very easily in kale, even if you buy it at a large supermarket where the vegetables have been washed.

Wash the kale by either rinsing each whole leaf at a time, or submerging the leaves in a sinkful of water and swishing the leaves around to remove the dirt and bugs.

Do not worry about any friendly critters who hitched a ride on your veggies! They are not harmful and it’s completely natural to find them. All you have to do is remove them and carry on with your recipe after washing.

Kale slaw in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

How to make this recipe

First, take your washed kale and remove it from the stems.

You can do this by slicing horizontally right down alongside the stem, or you can just rip it right off then stem. Stack the leaves and thinly slice the kale, then add to a large bowl.

Sprinkle on salt and a the olive oil, then massage the leaves a few minutes, until the leaves soften somewhat.

A white bowl with a red cabbage salad in it.

If you prefer to not use your hands, just use a pair of tongs.

Add in the cabbage and walnuts.

To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, and garlic. It should be smooth and creamy.

A bowl of slaw and a spoon next to it.

Taste and add salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the tamari already adds some saltiness and that we’ve salted the veggies.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage and kale and toss well with tongs or salad servers to coat.

Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.

A bowl of kale salad with lemon slices and a wooden spoon.

Recipe suggestions

If you wanna bump up the flavor on the kale saw, you can add a variety of other ingredients.

Grated carrots are wonderful, and so are chopped celery, red onion, or green onion.

You can also switch up the slaw a little bit by replacing the red cabbage with green cabbage, or a different variety of cabbage, like Savoy or Napa. Or add even more vegetables by adding some chopped broccoli or cauliflower.

You can also add seeds or other nuts like sunflower seeds, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), chopped pecans, sliced almonds, or even pistachios. I love the taste of pistachios along with kale!

For some sweetness, you could add dried cranberries or chopped dried cherries. Make it a kale apple salad with chunks of sweet-tart apples!

Storage tips

You can eat this kale slaw as soon as you make it, or pop it into the fridge for a little while to let the flavors meld. Thirty minutes to 1 hour is enough time to let everything chill together in the bowl.

While this slaw doesn’t have any mayonnaise in it, you shouldn’t leave it out on the table for more than two hours. Any slaw that is left over should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. 

Keep in mind that the longer the slaw rests, the more the kale and cabbage will wilt. To make sure the kale doesn’t get too soft, be sure to store it in an airtight container and serve the slaw within 3 days.

Kale slaw in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

What to serve with kale slaw?

This slaw goes well in any potluck or cookout setting — or wherever you would normally have a traditional cabbage coleslaw.

Since colder temperatures make kale sweeter, you don’t have to worry about waiting for summertime to serve this slaw! 

I like to have it alongside any dish from a turkey tenderloin to pork chops or bison burgers. You can even put it on top of your burger or on a barbecue chicken sandwich

It’s also great inside a taco, especially fish tacos, cauliflower tacos, or butternut squash tacos.

Do you have extra kale left over? Why not make one of my other favorite dishes: roasted sweet potato salad, featuring kale and chickpeas. It’s so flavorful and filling and great for a make-ahead lunch.

Kale salad in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Whip up this vibrant kale slaw for your next meal!

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It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

A bowl of kale salad with a wooden spoon.

Kale Slaw

This easy kale slaw is tossed with a delicious tahini dressing for a simple side dish. Perfect in any season!
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 45 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 177 kcal


  • 3 cups stemmed, thinly sliced lacinato kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Place kale in a large bowl. Add salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, tossing together. Massage leaves for 2-3 minutes, until they become more tender and lose some volume.
  • Stir in the cabbage and walnuts.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, tamari, and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir the tahini dressing into the slaw. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour to let flavors meld.


Calories: 177 kcalCarbohydrates: 7 gProtein: 4 gFat: 16 gSaturated Fat: 2 gSodium: 731 mgPotassium: 243 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 gIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

5 from 45 votes (45 ratings without comment)

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