Kumquat Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

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Big plate of our healthy and delicious vegan Kale Salad with Kumquats, Chia Seeds, and Tahini Dressing

There is a magical salad in the city of Portland that can be found at Lardo. However, not all the time. You have to catch it in season. Or maybe sometimes the chef just doesn’t feel like it.

Why you gotta play with my heart like that, chef?

Massaging kale for making a healthy and refreshing vegan salad
I couldn’t wait to try my hand at making this gem of a dish at home. The results? Mega delicious, super simple, perfect for noshing down on lots of greens.
It’s the perfect balance of kale, kumquats, and crispy breadcrumbs all topped with a zingy dressing.
Big bowl of vegan Kale Salad with Kumquats, Chia Seeds, and Breadcrumbs

This salad is simple, requiring just 30 minutes and easy-to-master methods. For instance, do you know how to massage kale? No? Allow me to demonstrate. One hand in the bowl, squeeze away the day’s stress. It’s as easy as that.

And that dressing? Oh, you’re gonna want that. Tahini with lemon and orange juice, a touch of maple syrup and water to thin into a spectacular pourable sauce. This stuff is the icing on the kale cake, so to speak. (Learn more about tahini’s origins and how to make it here!)

Pouring Tahini Dressing onto our delicious vegan Kale Salad with Kumquats

You guys are going to love this salad. It’s:

& Nutritious

What more could you ask for? Serve this as a side salad to impress friends at your next BBQ. Can you imagine showing up and being all, “Hey Lindsay, hey Todd. My week was good. Oh, what’s this? It’s a kumquat kale salad with toasted breadcrumbs and a tahini dressing.” And then they’re all, “WHAAATTTT?” Instantly, you’re the cool kid at the party.

Alternatively, bulk this salad up with some protein to magically transform it into an entree (suggestions below)!

If you do give this recipe a try, let us know what you think! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s really helpful for us and other readers. And don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Dinner plate filled with our healthy and simple Kale Salad with Kumquats, Chia Seeds, and Tahini Dressing

Kumquat Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

30-minute kale salad with kumquats, toasted bread crumbs, chia seeds, and a creamy tahini-maple dressing! A healthy, quick plant-based side dish.
Author Minimalist Baker
Big plate of Kale Kumquat Salad for a healthy vegan dinner
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Course Side
Cuisine Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 8-10 ounces curly kale (torn or chopped // large stems removed)
  • 5-6 kumquats , (very thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I ground mine from a wheat baguette – use GF if gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 large lemon (juiced)
  • 1 pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds (or sub hemp seeds or poppy seeds)


  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 large lemon (juiced // 1/2 large yields ~1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp orange (or kumquat) juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Water or plain almond milk (to thin)


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the olive oil (1/2 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), breadcrumbs, a pinch each salt and pepper, and vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Sauté until browned and crisp – about 5 minutes – stirring frequently (turn down heat if browning too quickly). Set aside to cool.
  • In the meantime, add kale to a large mixing bowl with lemon juice and remaining olive oil (1/2 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Use your hands to massage the kale and break down its texture a bit.
  • To a separate mixing bowl add tahini, lemon juice, orange juice, maple syrup and a pinch of salt and whisk to combine. Add water or almond milk to thin until pourable, whisking to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed – set aside.
  • To the kale add sliced kumquats (reserving a few for garnish), chia seeds and toasted bread crumbs (reserving half for topping). Add most of the dressing as well and toss to combine, reserving a bit for serving.
  • This salad makes an excellent side dish to meals like veggie burgers, pizza and spring rolls. But you can also add your protein of choice to make it a more substantial entree, such as quinoa cooked in vegetable stock, crispy chickpeas, or brown sugar pecans.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a few days with the dressing and bread crumbs separate for best results.


*Inspired by the kale salad at Lardo in Portland, OR.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 403 Carbohydrates: 36 g Protein: 12.3 g Fat: 19.2 g Saturated Fat: 2.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 301 mg Fiber: 11.7 g Sugar: 7.3 g

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My Rating:

  1. Lindsey Perez says

    Oooo, I WILL be making this! Do you think spinach instead of kale will still be yummy? Also, I’m excited to try tahini!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! I haven’t tried it with spinach but that should work! Let me know how it goes! Good luck!

  2. greengirl_ says

    I had that salad at Lardo’s. And lemme tell ya, it’s everything you said and more! So excited to try this out!

  3. Anita says

    I love Kumquats. We are trying to grow some from seed… so far we only have a seedling, but who knows, right ?

  4. allison says

    Dana, I can’t remember how but I found your site about a year ago. I LOVE it. You are one of the few sites I come back to because your philosophy of food is so similar to mine and everything you make is REALLY good. Thank you so much for sharing food inspirations!

  5. Anneliese says

    Amazing. Unfortunately I don’t think I can get a hold of kumquats where I am in the UK. Would there be a good substitute for them? I mean, I’m definitely going to make it either way but if there’s something I could use instead that would be super.

  6. shay says

    that dressing looks absolutely mouthwatering with the kale! I need to go check out the Portland food scene ASAP :)

  7. Kathryn - The Scratch Artist says

    Am I in the twilight zone? I just for the very first time, literally an hour ago, ate a kumquat. Then I come to my computer to find this salad! Doo doo doo doo (my failed attempt at making the Twilight Zone Theme music). I love this idea. They have such an intense and great flavor. I can’t wait to play around with them.

  8. DLG in Mich says

    We will be visiting Portland for the first time in August. We’ll have to check out Lardo and hope this salad is on the menu! Any other vegan-friendly places you would recommend?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You must! We’re publishing a Portland food/activity guide soon, so stay tuned! We’ll share about it on social media.

  9. Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite says

    So funny, I was just telling my mom about “kale massaging” this morning. Will be making this tonight :)

  10. Sydney | Modern Granola says

    I’ve never had a kumquat! Perhaps it is time to try, because this salad looks absolutely fantastic. I love that you take inspiration from restaurants for your recipes. It’s awesome!
    xx Sydney

  11. Patricia says

    Looks so great and yummy!!!
    perfect for the summer weather at the moment!

    Thanks for this great idea!!!

  12. Elizabeth Beil says

    I am in love with kale salads right now an I can’t wait to give this a try!! The Kumquat is so cute! :)