All too often, wine and food pairings rely on indulgent, unhealthy dishes. This Creamy Tahini, Avocado, and Parmesan Kale Salad with Chardonnay is part of a series sharing how to pair healthy, plant-based, and even vegetarian dishes with wine.
Our first set of recipes works with a staple dish for the health-conscious that’s rarely seen with wine: kale salad. This particular recipe shows how kale salad can pair with New World Chardonnay.
Old World Chardonnay’s lean profile and crisp acidity help it stand up to any salad. But lush, creamy New World Chardonnay can be overpowered by tangy vinaigrettes or bitter kale. Fortunately, it only takes a few “bridge” ingredients to marry crunchy kale to a smooth, creamy Chardonnay. The primary rule: Add ingredients with a high fat content and mild flavor to help this crucifer meld with the soft aromatics and rich mouthfeel of the wine.
In this salad, the bridge ingredients are ripe avocado, parmesan, and smooth tahini dressing. The fats take the bitter edge off the kale salad, giving it richness and a more mild flavor. Plus, the fruity, nutty flavors added by the parmesan play nicely with fruit-forward California Chardonnay. You can also add a light protein, like chicken or tofu.
We made a few modifications to the tahini dressing to help it pair better with the wine. Tahini dressing normally contains garlic. We omitted this to avoid overpowering the more nuanced Chardonnay. We also reduced the amount of lemon juice, as California Chardonnay is riper and less acidic than its Old World cousins.
Tip: Pick lacinato kale specifically for a New World Chardonnay pairing. It has a slightly milder flavor and is less fibrous than curly kale.
Creamy Tahini, Avocado, and Parmesan Kale Salad Paired with Chardonnay
5 leaves lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan
2 tbsp slivered almonds
Optional: sliced chicken or tofu.
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
For the dressing, combine tahini, lime juice, water, and sea salt.
Toss dressing with kale. Top with avocado, parmesan, and almonds. Add chicken or tofu if desired.
Suggested pairing: California Chardonnay
Looking to pair your kale salad with red wine? Check out our Crimini Mushroom Kale Salad with Pinot Noir.