We drove east on Monday with a little black snow cloud in tow. It snowed all the way from Kansas City through St. Louis, Louisville, Lexington and Asheville. We finally found sunshine in South Carolina, where I admired the setting sun’s golden cast across the curves of the Appalachian mountains. We arrived in Nashville under a clear blue sky.
I thought I’d share this kale and brussels sprouts salad before we head back to Kansas City (I hope the sunny weather follows us all the way home). The salad straddles the line between winter and spring, with creamy tahini dressing coating crisp green leaves. It’s savory and satisfying and almost slaw-like in texture, thanks to the crunchy raw brussels sprouts and slivered almonds.
This recipe was inspired by a salad at Westside Local, one of my favorite Kansas City restaurants. They top their salad with pieces of crispy bacon and fried shallots. My less indulgent at-home version relies on parmesan and toasted almonds instead, but I enjoy this one just as much. I hope you will, too.
- 1 bunch of curly green kale
- 12 brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls' worth)
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into little strips)
- dash of sea salt
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white miso
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup water
- Use a chef's knife to cut out the ribs of the kale leaves. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt over the kale and use your hands to massage the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of kale in your hands. Release and repeat until the kale becomes darker in color and more fragrant. Transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl.
- Chop off and discard the stem end of the brussels sprouts and any discolored outer leaves. Either use your knife to slice the sprouts as thin as possible, or shred the sprouts in your food processor using the slicing disk. Add the sprouts to the bowl and use your fingers break up any clumps.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, vinegar, miso, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Some brands of tahini are thicker than others, so if your dressing is too thick, add a bit more water and/or vinegar, to taste. Pour the dressing over the kale and sprouts and mix well.
- In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almond slivers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and turning golden (this will take less than five minutes so watch carefully). Add the toasted almonds and parmesan shavings to the salad and toss. Serve immediately.