I know. Kale. But listen, there’s a reason there’s a cult of love around this green leafy. It’s earthy, herby, almost peppery and stands up well to all types of cooking – and, ya know, it’s good for you. With this cold weather, the sometimes bitter undertones will have sweetened right up - kale is best after a frost. Even my three-year-old cousin Brenna loves this veggie (she eats it raw from the stem, so buck up, people).
My final argument: at least it’s not a kale salad. Although I’m not crossing things out.
This combo happens to be a more refined (and possibly more acceptable) version of my favorite sandwich: peanut butter and pickles. Instead of sweet pickles, though, the tahini sauce itself is sweetened with maple syrup, and the kale is quickly pickled in a simple brine for an hour. There’s little prep work, and the only hard part is tenderizing the kale and waiting for it to soak up the brine. A bit of spiciness is a perfect addition to salty and sweet. This is going to be your new go-to, I swear it.
The more easily tenderized lacinato will work best, but I have used purple kale here. Feel free to use your favorite.
- 1/2 bunch kale (4-5 leaves)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- hearty sourdough or whole wheat bread (seed crackers for raw or gluten-free)
- red pepper flakes, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce to finish
- freshly ground black pepper
- Destem the kale and tear apart the leaves into bite-sized pieces, putting them into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the salt over top.
- Work the kale with your fingertips until it is softened and silky, about 1 minute for lacinato (aka dinosaur or tuscan) kale and up to 5 for curly kale. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and water to the bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let sit at room temperature for at least one hour.
- Drain the pickled kale and place the leaves on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to soak up excess brine.
- Mix together the tahini, water, and maple syrup in a small bowl until smooth.
- Toast six to eight slices of bread. Spread each slice with the tahini mixture and then top with pickled kale. Add the red pepper flakes, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce and top with freshly ground black pepper.