Bitter Greens Salad With Sesame Dressing

Shao Z.

Please welcome Shao Z., a Guangzhou native and the girl behind She'll be dropping by with her Asian-inspired modern recipes. Welcome, Shao!

Shao Z.

Everybody's heard of kale Caesar salad by now, right? The idea is that by massaging raw robust leafy greens like kale or mustard greens with an oil-based dressing, their structure breaks down just enough to make them palatable. Crisp and crunchy, like a good romaine.

In this recipe, I take that same concept and switch out the flavors for a creamy sesame and soy-based dressing made with creamy tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and black pepper. I also added some turnip greens and arugula to the salad mix to make things a bit more interesting.

High in vitamins and packed with flavor, bitter greens are great in quick, simple salads. All it takes is massaging them with a few tablespoons of dressing and letting them rest for a few minutes. Best of all, they'll stay crisp for hours, making it one of my go-to make-ahead dishes.

To soften greens, the best tools to use are your hands. It's a little bit messy, but don't be afraid to rub the leaves together. Test taste the greens as you go along. When they begin to soften up and taste tender, you're done. The nuttiness of this sesame dressing complements the bitterness of the greens and mellows it out just a little bit.

Here's how you do it, step-by-step, or jump straight to the recipe for exact measurements.

Step 1: Pick Kale and Turnip Greens


Separate the leafy part of the kale and turnip green from the stem. Wash and tear into bite size pieces.

Step 2: Start Dressing!


In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together (see the recipe for details and set them aside. Place the kale and turnip greens in a large bowl together, then add 2 tablespoons of dressing.

Step 3: Massage


Massage the dressing into the kale and turnip greens with your hands, rubbing the leaves together and tasting as you go until they're well dressed and tender. This step can be done up to an hour before serving and the greens should rest a minimum of 10 minutes.

Step 4: Add the Arugula


Right before you are ready to serve, add baby arugula, season with salt, and re-dress.

Step 5: Serve


Scatter red onions over the top, and serve the salad.