Sautéed Kale with Tahini Sauce

Oh my, this is a good one. I never would have thought to pair kale with tahini (thank you to my friend Peg for the suggestion), but it’s great. Sort of reminiscent of a popular Japanese dish with spinach and sesame gomasio. The slightly bitter green kale does a happy dance with the acidic lemon and salty richness of the tahini sauce. Very easy to pull together. Would make an excellent addition to a Thanksgiving or holiday spread. Enjoy. (And as my dad says, eat your greens!)

Sautéed Kale with Tahini Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 1 pound kale, well rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp tahini (use tahini made with toasted sesame seeds, not raw)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp water
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish



1 Using a sharp paring knife, cut out the rib of each kale leaf. Discard or compost. Slice the leaves roughly 1/2-inch thick.

2 Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a large sauté pan. When hot, add the chopped onion. Cook for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.


3 Add the kale to the sauté pan. Even if you have a pretty large pan, the kale will be practically falling out of it. Put in as much as you can and use tongs to turn over and mix with the oil and onions. After a couple minutes the kale should wilt a bit so you can add the rest of the raw kale. Cook, turning the kale leaves over occasionally until the kales leaves have wilted and are tender. Sprinkle a little salt over the kale leaves while cooking.

4 While the kale is cooking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and dark sesame oil. Add more salt and sesame oil to taste.

5 Once the kale is done, toss in the sauce, reserving a little to drizzle on top.

Serve, topped with a little sauce and toasted sesame seeds.

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Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Angie

    Mmmm…we all love kale in this house (even the 3-year-old!). This sounds like a great combo of flavors–toasted nuts work so well with sauteed greens and I’m sure the toasted sesame seed flavor will pair equally well! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Cecilia

    There is a recipe from Whole Foods that does this as a salad which I absolutely adore. I will try this as well. I love the Tuscan Kale in a pressure cooker with garlic, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes and low sodium organic chicken broth. After the pressure cooker gets up to speed, reduce it to medium for 45 minutes and you’ll have a velvety dish that you’ll be hard pressed to not finish in one sitting.
    Thanks so much!

  • Becki's Whole Life

    I love Kale, but I think it really does need to be paired with something like this to take some of that bitterness away and also to wilt it a bit and break it down. This sounds wonderful…definitely going to try as I have some in my fridge and trying to eat more greens:-)

  • brandi

    I’m putting this on my list right now. My husband loves kale if it’s seasoned really well, and I think he would love this!

    His other favorite is cooked with diced apple, red onion, dijon mustard, and maple syrup. So good!

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