Tahini Kale Caesar Salad

By Janice Tiefenbach


Serves 4-6

This is the salad equivalent of getting catfished. All the ingredients come together and trick your brain into thinking you’re eating a delicious Caesar salad — but there’s NO mayonnaise and NO anchovies anywhere. The only thing it has in common with a Caesar are the croutons and the cheese. Hail, Caesar!

Special Equipment

  • Blender


Tahini Caesar dressing (Makes 2 cups)

  • 12 cloves garlic, divided
  • 3 tbsp + 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt 2/3 cup canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 cups Garlic Croutons (p. 252)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed (about 3 cups when cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 head radicchio, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1 bunch baby kale, stems removed (about 2 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Create a pouch using foil and nestle inside it 10 garlic cloves and 3 tbsp olive oil. Seal up the foil to prevent any oil or steam from escaping. Place the garlic pouch on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the garlic turns squishy, about 40 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven but leave the oven on. Open the pouch to let the garlic cool down.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini and cold water until smooth. When the garlic has cooled down a little, add it to a blender along with the tahini mixture, the two remaining raw garlic cloves, vinegar, Dijon and salt. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, gradually add the canola oil (adding it slowly will help emulsify the dressing). Repeat the process with 1/3 cup olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the croutons on a baking sheet and put in the oven to warm up while you make the salad.
  • In a large bowl, break the kale into bite-size pieces. Add the radicchio and baby kale and mix with your hands. Add tahini dressing to your liking (you will probably end up with extra dressing, which you can use to make the Chicken Caesar hoagie on p. 219), lemon juice, a generous glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Remove the garlic croutons from the oven and add to the salad along with the grated parmesan. Toss again and serve immediately.

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