Raw Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing

On Monday, we headed east while accompanied by a small black snow cloud. From Kansas City through St. Louis, Louisville, Lexington, and Asheville, it snowed the entire time. In South Carolina, where we eventually experienced some sunshine, I marveled at the golden hue the evening sun created on the contours of the Appalachian Mountains. The sky was crystal clear and beautiful when we got to Nashville.

Before we return to Kansas City, I thought I’d share this kale and brussels sprouts salad (I hope the sunny weather follows us all the way home). With a creamy tahini sauce drizzling over fresh green leaves, the salad bridges the seasonal divide between winter and spring. The slivered almonds and crisp raw brussels sprouts give it a texture that is almost slaw-like and makes it flavorful and filling.

One of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City, Westside Local, served a salad that served as the basis for this recipe. They sprinkle fried shallots and bits of crispy bacon on top of their salad. I use Parmesan and roasted almonds in my less decadent at-home version, but I still like this one just as much. I’m hoping you’ll agree.

Also read: Summer Squash Salad with Lemon Citronette


  • 1 bunch of curly green kale
  • 12 Brussels sprouts (about ½ pound or 2 big handfuls’ worth)
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan, to taste (use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into little strips)
  • Fine sea salt

Tahini-maple dressing

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Use a chef’s knife to cut out the ribs of the kale leaves. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle salt lightly over the kale and use your hands to “massage” the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of kale in your hands. Continue massaging until the kale becomes darker in color and more fragrant. Transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almonds, 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. Taste, and add more Parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.