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This Beautiful, Bountiful Kale Salad Makes the Case for Thanksgiving Salad

Anointed with a creamy tahini-avocado dressing, chef Francesca Chaney’s salad is guaranteed to appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike

A kale salad in a wooden bowl, surrounded by two glasses, a plate with utensils, a small bowl of dressing, and a yellow napkin. Dina Ávila/Eater

Editor’s note: Thanksgiving traces its origins to an uneasy, temporary alliance between 17th-century English settlers and members of the Wampanoag Confederacy. This year, Eater is choosing to acknowledge that history in our coverage of the holiday.

As the holiday season approaches I’m thinking of tasty and filling plant-based dishes that can coexist on my family and friendsgiving tables. If your folks are anything like mine, there are a wide variety of dietary requests that will need to be accommodated.

That’s why my contribution to the table will be a colorful fall salad with a rich avocado-tahini dressing; it’s a relatable and flavorful dish that I can guarantee will appeal to both my vegan and non-vegan guests. Its base is kale, massaged to create a silky, easy-to-chew texture. For crunch, there are shredded beets and carrots, along with sweet sliced Fuji apples and savory pumpkin seeds. Texture and flavor aside, my favorite part of the recipe is that most of the veggies in it are in season, which means that I get to support my local farmers market as I gather my ingredients.

Although greens are not usually the main attraction at the holiday table, the brightly colored contents of this salad make an aesthetically pleasing case that they should be — at the very least, they deserve pride of place positioned between your granny’s mac and cheese and your auntie’s potato salad.

Francesca Chaney’s Fall Salad Recipe

Serves 4 to 6


1 large avocado, pitted
¼ cup tahini, well stirred
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1 small bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 large Fuji apple, cored and chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
¼ cup cooked quinoa
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (½ cup)
1 small red beet, peeled and grated (½ cup)
⅓ cup crumbled Violife coconut feta cheese (optional)


Step 1: Make the dressing: Combine ¾ of the avocado flesh, tahini, and lime juice in a blender or mini food processor. Add ⅓ to ½ cup water and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste, cover, and set aside. Dice the remaining avocado, cover, and set aside.

Step 2: Put the kale in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, onion powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper and massage the oil and seasonings into the leaves with your hands until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Add the shredded carrots, beets, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the reserved avocado, apple, quinoa, and feta cheese over the salad. Serve with the dressing.

Francesca Chaney, a 2019 Eater Young Gun, is the founder of Sol Sips in Bushwick and enjoys fresh garden vegetables, hot yoga and burdock root coffee.
Dina Ávila is a photographer in Portland, Oregon.
Recipe tested and styled by Ivy Manning