Garlicky Kale Salad (Inspired by Whole Foods)

This garlicky kale salad is the best kale salad ever and so easy to whip up. The zesty tahini dressing is absolutely delicious and makes this recipe taste JUST like the Whole Foods garlicky kale.

White bowl with garlicky kale salad and who silver serving spoons.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m semi-addicted to the Whole Foods salad bar.

There are so many delicious items on the bar that I often end up filling my container to the brim with different veggies, beans, salads and the like. Then I end up paying an arm and a leg for my meal, but it’s totally worth it. 😉

Whole Foods Salad Bar Recreations

Of course, I have some favorite items on the bar — one being the Cracklin’ Cauliflower, which I’ve already recreated at home and the second is the garlicky kale salad. After reading the ingredient list for the garlicky kale salad at the bar (shh… here’s a little secret — all items on the bar have an ingredient list posted) I decided to make my own variation at home. I knew the ingredients, but didn’t know the exact measurements so it took a little trial and error. I’ve made it several times now and I think it’s pretty spot on!

Ingredients Needed for This Kale Salad

  • kale
  • tahini
  • apple cider vinegar (or water)
  • lemon juice
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos (tamari or soy sauce will work)
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic

Ingredients for garlicky kale salad on a marble counter.

Zesty Tahini Dressing

The dressing I use for the garlicky kale salad is my zesty tahini dressing. It’s made with tahini, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, tamari, nutritional yeast and garlic. I love the zesty flavor from the garlic and apple cider vinegar and the fact that it’s oil free.

It’s definitely one of my favorite dressings ever! You’ll love it on this kale salad, but you’ll likely want to use it for other salads too. I highly recommend making a double batch!

Raw kale in a white bowl with tahini dressing being poured on.

More Kale Salad Recipes to Try:

More Healthy Salad Dressing Ideas:

If you make this garlicky kale salad, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers!

White bowl with garlicky kale salad and who silver serving spoons.

Garlicky Kale Salad


This garlicky kale salad is the best kale salad ever and so easy to whip up. The zesty tahini dressing is absolutely delicious and makes this recipe taste JUST like the Whole Foods garlicky kale. 


  • 1 bunch raw kale, washed, de-stemmed and dried
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or water)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (tamari or soy sauce will work)
  • 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (12 cloves) minced garlic


  1. Break or cut kale into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Puree all ingredients except kale and sesame seeds in a blender or food processor (affiliate link) to blend the dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into the kale with your hands until all pieces of kale are coated.
  4. Let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate. You can skip this step if you need to eat right away, but allowing some time to marinate will wilt the kale a bit and make it a little more palatable – particularly for those who are skeptical of eating raw kale.
  5. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds before serving if so desired.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
  • Calories: 252
  • Fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 18g

Keywords: garlicky kale salad

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  1. Okay. First off: this salad is amazing! I used to get this salad all the time at the Whole Foods in Columbia, SC. I now live in California – my local WF has it, but it’s not the same. This recipe brought back to that awesome WF in SC. I measure the garlic with my heart, so it was extra garlicky and delicious. This recipe also got me out of my comfort zone and tried tahini and nutritional yeast for the first time. Thank you so much for this recipe. I highly recommend it.

    • Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Francisco! I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad. Thanks for trying my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. The reviews are super helpful to other readers, so I appreciate it!

  2. I made your Zesty Tahini Dressing for the first time tonight. Was it ever zesty! Really delicious though. The flavours of the ingredients when combined is perfect.

  3. WHOA! Made this for the first time (added a fried egg) and will be putting the dressing on everything from here on out

  4. Thank you for recipe….it is amazing….I use it as a dressing on everything!! (Today on a warm salad of roasted kalettes, red onion, cherry tomatoes and golden beets….a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!)

    • Woo-hoo! That makes me so happy to hear, Kerry. 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve been loving this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating. The reviews are super helpful to other readers, so I really appreciate it. <3

  5. I love this recipe, have made it many times and referred others to it. I noticed that since you have added the video, the ingredients no longer “match”. The video says 2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast (vs 4 written) and 4 cloves of garlic (vs 2 written). I’m sticking with the written because I like those proportions. Just wondered why the disparity.

  6. Omg this was amazing!!! I’ll agree also, much better than WF. My local 3 stores quit carrying it (seasonal) and of course, I was hooked after the first bite. Thanks so much for having this available. May get creative and add chicken or steak and serve as main meal

  7. This is so good! My local WF quit carrying it, it was expensive so ok with that. 🙂 I make this every week & triple the recipe. I use it as regular salad dressing & also put on veggies.

  8. You have nailed this. I am actually literally addicted to Whole Foods’ garlicky kale and resent the price and kale is so cheap normally. I avoided making this cuz I didn’t wanna buy nutritional yeast but I finally did and it’s brilliant and perfect. I used soy sauce packets instead of amino acids cuz, you know, being cheap. I would not ever normally comment but this recipe is so perfect and I am so grateful. And now that I have nutritional yeast I can save thousands a year on salad. 🙂 frickin amazing

  9. Thanks. I also love this salad and am excited to try your recipe. I thought I hated kale until I tried the WF version. Do you know which variety of kale they use? When I’ve bought kale in the past it has been strong and bitter, but the kale WF uses for this salad is very mild and lettuce-like.

  10. Made this morning and had it for lunch – finally a Kale recipe I like; it really is excellent. I will tone down the Tahini next time and possibly the nooch – it was almost too cheesy for me!! Thank you so much for sharing. BTW You should all grow your own Kale its the easiest plant I’ve ever grown and it so nice to go pick a bunch from your own patch in the morning… Love from Wales (UK)

    • So glad you liked the kale salad, Robin. Feel free to tweak the dressing based on your preferences. And yes, I’ve grown my own kale before and loved it! I need to plant some this summer.

    • Hi Jeanna. Nutritional yeast is a vegan seasoning that has a nutty, cheesy flavor. It’s an important part of the dressing. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk bin section on must natural grocery stores or in the natural/organic section of a regular grocery store (near the spices). If you can’t find it at your local grocery store you can always buy it Amazon:

  11. I can tell by the amount of replies how good this recipe is. I love garlic kale and this recipe is great. I only changed it, by increasing the garlic and freezing the kale before adding the dressing. Incredible!

  12. Thanks. I also love this salad and am excited to try your recipe. I thought I hated kale until I tried the WF version. Do you know which variety of kale they use? When I’ve bought kale in the past it has been strong and bitter, but the kale WF uses for this salad is very mild and lettuce-like.

  13. You are my hero!!!
    I don’t have a whole foods where I live and when in holiday found this dish at the salad bar and basically stocked my entire box up with this as its so tasty.
    Just made it for the first time myself and it’s amazing!!! I added a tad more garlic but I do love garlic and but of water plus the cider vinegar.
    Thanks so much for posting this recipie. It’s garlic kale party time at my house for the foreseeable future!

  14. This is a great recipe for one of my favorite dishes at whole foods….however I have discovered what you can actually buy and what I have been told they actually use this one item and eliminate all the above ingredients because they are in this one whole foods product. Found in the cold section and called “GARLIC TAHINI DRESSING” by whole foods “health starts here”.

  15. I am so pumped to try this, as I’m OBSESSED with the garlicky kale (and eating it at this very moment!) Would you happen to know how long this dressing would last if kept on the side? I want to try on lettuce and other salads

  16. I didn’t really like it. It’s just my tastebuds. After figuring out I didn’t like if, I just rinsed it off. But I think people should give it a try just in case they’d like it 🙂

  17. I love the WF garlicky Kale as well, and had shot a photo of the window tag as well for prep in making it and thought I’d do a search before I began and found you. This tastes so good-I upped the garlic another teaspoon because I just love it so much. Thanks for the recipe and the R&D !

  18. I love the garlicky kale at WF so this is exciting! But can you confirm they list nutritional yeast as an ingredient? I really don’t care for the taste of it.. and there’s a good amount in this recipe. Hoping I can substitute with something else. But then again, if they have used it… I must not mind!

  19. My recipe is very similar to yours and it was based off of Foodbabe’s Tahini dressing. I also added some cumin, smokey paprika and coconut nectar to balance out all the acid and pungent flavors like garlic. I use a mixture of lacinato kale and either romaine or red romaine or any other leafy greens, cut up cucumbers, some cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of roasted chopped almonds and hemp seeds on top! It is out of this world! When I first started eating kale, I was like yuck, how can anyone like this stuff. Well I go to the farmer’s market and I get like 3 big bunches of kale and I make smoothies, green juice and my salads all week long. It just gives me so much energy and I feel like wow after I eat it. Hope everyone feels the same way! 🙂 God Bless everyone with good health!

  20. God bless you for posting this! I tried this from the Whole Foods salad bar a couple years ago, it was the first time I had ever eaten kale and initially I was skeptical but curious. However, it was so sublime I was sorry I could not swing by WF more often and longed to make this dish myself! Normally I don’t adore salad and am especially iffy toward most salad dressings. This is the only dressing with which I am in love (not “tolerate” or “somewhat like”. It came out stupendously! 🙂

  21. We love making this dressing and almost always keep a jar in the fridge. However, when we inquired about it at WF originally, they said they make it with roasted garlic, so that’s how we make it & it’s delish! Thanks for posting.

  22. Just stumbled across this at WF the other day, and it was so good. I love how they display the ingredients for every item on the bar. This recipe is spot on delicious!! I minced the garlic but didn’t puree with the other ingredients and it was perfect. Thanks for posting!

  23. You should try this dressing on cucumbers, tomatoes & onions! Truly a versitile dressing – it’s even good on rice!

    Beth Chow – “pets” is totally a matter of opinion though. In some countries they eat cat, dog, horse… Rabbits are a commonly hunted animal in the US – along with deer, duck, goose, pheasant – would you stop shopping somwhere because those are sold? Do you buy eggs? Those are potential chickens, which ALOT of people have as pets. Ever watch a child raise a cow or a sheep? They are easily pets as well. I’m not arguing for the sake of arguing – I just don’t understand the reasons that some people pick a single particular thing to boycott someplace over.

  24. Thank you so much for this recipe! Whole Foods recently started selling rabbit meat, and as the caretaker of five companion rabbits (one of whom is a “meat” breed and is the sweetest most intelligent of them), I cannot shop there anymore. Now I can enjoy my favorite WF salad bar item without supporting a store that sells pets in their meat case!!

  25. Thank you so much for posting this!! I have recreated their triple squash soup and I was so happy to find another one recreated. I think I have no become obsessed with your blog so thanks! lol we are now having this with our dinner tonight!!

  26. Delicious! Thank you for posting this! Although I don’t know what the whole foods version tastes like, I walked past it in the store, smelled it, said “oh my goodness that looks amazing!” and took a picture of the recipe hoping someone would have tried it out. I added some sliced almonds to it, but the dressing itself is very very yummy!!

  27. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.
    I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.

    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to
    get my own website now 😉

  28. So tangy and tasty! I get this from Whole Foods every time I have a chance, and it’s so nice to be able to make it at home. Thank you! : )

  29. Delicious! Thank you for posting this! Although I don’t know what the whole foods version tastes like, I walked past it in the store, smelled it, said “oh my goodness that looks amazing!” and took a picture of the recipe hoping someone would have tried it out. I added some sliced almonds to it, but the dressing itself is very very yummy!!

  30. I’m so excited to find this! I’m also addicted to the Whole Foods salad bar – especially this dish. I’ve been wondering how to make it and my own experiments haven’t been very successful. As soon as I find nutritional yeast, I’m going to give this a try! Thanks so much!

    Oh, my other personal favorite is the beets with orange juice. I have no idea how to make it. Do you have a recipe for this?

  31. Thank you so much for this recipe! I love this salad at Whole Foods and always get it when I go there for lunch. I made it tonight and my husband and even my 12-year-old daughter both liked it! I also put out some sunflower seeds for them to sprinkle on top for extra crunch – a nice touch 🙂

  32. Thanks so much for taking the time to figure it all out and share! I’m in the came-home-from-Whole-Foods-and-tried-their-version-for-the-first-time-and-knew-I-had-to-make-it-myself camp. I’d never have had the patience. What a GREAT recipe/dressing!

  33. Brittany, thank you for such a good recipie. There is only one problem….now I’m addicted 🙂 . I make it at least once a week.

    When I first tried this salad at whole foods I became a fan. You did an excellent job enhancing it. Now I’m a bigger fan.


  34. Guys, if you live near a WholeFoods, this dressing is readily available under the WholeFoods Label. It is a No-Oil dressing and it is named, “Zasty Tahini”. The salad is also available in WholeFoods’ “Cold Bar” under the same name as above.

  35. Thank you so much Brittany!! Oh.. it is so good .. and you added your flavor .. for sure! The only problem I have is letting the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so … well.. it can never happen .. .. i eat it before it has a chance to marinate.. just can’t wait that long lol

  36. Brittany,

    As Val mentioned, you nailed it!! I had this for the first time at Whole Foods last week and came home and immediately looked up a copycat recipe because it’s SO good. Thanks for all the cash you’re going to save me by making it at home!

  37. I had just had this at Whole Foods and came home craving more of it! Found your recipe and despite having it, forgot to add the nutritional yeast. I. AM. BLONDE. It didn’t taste quite right (ya think?!) so I added a little more tahini and garlic and I had some fresh tumeric on hand, which i love, and blended in a little nub of that. It was very good, but I will add the yeast next time!

  38. Love this dressing, i am hooked on it. I only had half the Tahini one day, so i substituted some natural Peanut Butter and added some Chili Flakes. Turned out great!

  39. Made this tonight and it was really tasty. It will definitely be part of my Vegan diet. Thanks for the great recipe.

  40. Hi, I am making this for the first time.. I’m a newbie when it comes to using yeast. Do I just use active dry yeast?

  41. You nailed it! I love this dressing and use it everywhere…it’s sooooo good. It feels so decadent and it bursts with flavor. This has become a staple in my fridge.

  42. I had my first garlic kale while on vacation in Hawaii at a Whole Foods in Kailua. It was so delicious after a day at the beach and I found myself thinking about it well after the stop. I live in Boulder and while we have Whole Foods I haven’t seen this salad. Thanks to you I am able to have this delicious salad whenever I want. Maholo!

  43. Oh wow – this is delish!! I hate to be WF-blasphemous but I like your recipe better! My daughter and I were eating it out of the serving bowl!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  44. You rock! Just whipped up a batch in my blender. Had to buy Bragg’s and nutritional yeast but because I am so enamored of the kale salad it was motivated to try.
    You are magnificent!!!

  45. Hi! I just had this awesome salad from whole foods yesterday and I loved it so much I was just trying to find a recipe online to make it at home. Your recipe hits the mark! Thank you thank you! Awesome blog

  46. This may have already been said (I didn’t read through all 60 comments)

    This is better than the Whole Foods salad bar version. I could literally eat this twice a day, 7 days a week and not get tired of it. I tried to make it more of a meal, so I added some candied-walnuts, a little bit of grilled chicken and grape tomatoes.

    It is delicious by itself, though.

  47. Fantastic! I often try to make at home versions of prepared food I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes I luck out and can get a recipe from a chef, a list of ingredients or have the great good luck of guesstimating with good results. Even with recipes and lists of ingredients it can become a long-term process, trying and adjusting over time. I’ve been working on a Burmese green papaya salad for a couple of years (very different than Thai green papaya salad which is much easier to duplicate IMHO). My attempts at Burmese salad are tasty, but short of the OMG goodness of Mandalay’s green papaya salad (Mandalay a most highly recommended home-style Burmese restaurant in Silver Spring MD). Anyway just saying I really appreciate finding this spot-on recipe that worked first time. Thank-You sooo much for posting the result of your efforts. This salad is addicting!

  48. You can also buy the zesty tahini sauce from the produce department. That is what they use for the garlicky kale on the bar. I asked and the guy walked me right to it.

    (I didn’t read all the comments. Apologize if this was also mentioned).

  49. Thank YOU!!!! This is so delicious. I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand, so I used balsamic vinegar and it tasted awesome still. I crave this kale salad so much and I really appreciate you taking the time to write this out!

  50. This recipe is amazing! The first time I made it I thought it was pretty good. Two days later I had the leftovers and…Wow! I make it all the time now (2x’s a week usually)!

  51. I just made some tahini +braggs aminos+ tamari kale chips and made such a huuuuge bage.. unfortunately they are almost gone after just 1 day.. 🙁 i am so addicted to those babies! garlicky ones look amazing too!! i have to watch out not to overeat on them, i feel like they can get a bit difficult to digest.
    but anyways.. they are nutritional powerhouses.. and so many ways and flavours to come up with for kale chips!! yumm

  52. WOW! … I made the recipe exactly as you posted and it is wonderful.

    I have been making kale salad with various vinaigrettes and all are good with the vinegar “cooking” the kale a bit, but this is the absolute best.

    I add seeds, nuts, cheese, even a bit of bacon or hard boiled egg or chicken to up the protein for a “meal” salad. Oh…I also added some chard. I am nowhere near a Whole Foods (northwest MT), but I have a wonderful CSA down the road so my kale and chard is organic and right outta’ the ground :)!

    Found much to like on your blog – thanks for sharing.

  53. Hey, try this recipe in the dehydrator or in the oven on low temp until crispy: make some kale CHIPS. Sounds like it would work. Just throw the seeds in the blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients and use a bit more kale than the recipe calls for. Did my first batch of kale chips yesterday and this sounds like a terrific marinate. YUMMMMMMM. Also try collards or beet greens this way. Salad for the road!

  54. Love this way to cook kale. Just stumpled onto your blog and it is very inspiring. I have been looking for healthy vegetarian recipes that have a good flavor and spices and yours are great.

  55. OMG I am so glad I came across your website and you showed me a way to make Kale. I was starting to wonder if only juicing it was good.

  56. I will be trying the recipe for the Garlicky Kale! thanks for sharing how to make it palatable too!!

  57. You are a genius! I just tried your recipe, and it’s the one 🙂
    I absolutely loved eating this salad at Whole Foods. I made a trip there almost everyday just for this salad, and now I can make it myself and share with friends.

    Many thanks!

  58. I am 3 hours away from nearest WF and always look for this when I make the rare trip to one. Thanks for posting this fantastic recipe! I made it last night, tripled the batch because I love it so much. 😀 So savory! I added some chopped asparagus (lightly broiled so still a little crunchy) and some halved cherry tomatoes to the kale salad- didn’t want to add anything that would detract from the dressing!
    I will be sharing this at a potluck tomorrow, thanks again!

  59. Thank you-I crave this kale and was trying to figure out how to make it. I’m not sure how close yours is to the recipe. Perhaps it’s the same. BUT it is way better, in my opinion. Again, so many thanks!!!

  60. Thank you sooo much! I was at Whole Foods today and wrote down the ingredients to play with at home, but now you’ve saved me trouble. I cant wait to try this tonight 🙂

  61. Brittany – thanks so much for your garlicky kale recipe. I have been going into WF for lunch 3-4 times a week eating their garlicky kale. I looked at your recipe about 20 times on this website before I actually tried it. I’m a “buy it pre-made” kinda guy, but I was inspired to save the $$$ I’ve been paying to WF. Your recipe worked great. My food processor did not grab all the tahini, but I stuck some of the kale pieces in the food processor and wiped all the good stuff flavor off the bottom and sides. Thank you so much. It looks like a have a lot of dressing on the bottom of my bowl. When I eat up the kale for lunch (I see it as 2 lunches worth), I’m going to try to reuse the remaining dressing.

  62. I am so thankful to find this recipe!!
    This is my favorite thing at wf, which is not real close to my house.
    Nest to find the yummy woodland mushroom salad I got there yesterday.

  63. THANK YOU! I am desperately in love with this salad and on a whim went searching for it. And here it is. Great ingredients. Can’t wait to make some at home!

  64. This is wonderful! My girlfriend moved here (the uk) from the US, and the one thing she misses the most is the wholefoods salad bar – and this was her favourite thing on it.

    I just followed the recipe exactly, and it’s indistinguishable! I really can’t thank you enough – we’ll be eating kale now until it comes out of our ears.

  65. just made this for lunch for my boyfriend and i – it was delicious!! although – DUH – forgot to add the nutritional yeast!!! i’m sure that addition will make the dressing EVEN more yummy but good to know if i don’t have it on hand it is still a tasty salad. thanks for re-creating!

  66. Love your recipe! My sister found this a few months ago and it’s become a staple for us both! Actually your variation tastes better than WF! I’m blogging about it tonight and I’ll add the link up to your blog. Thank you for sharing this!

  67. I just got the recipe tonight from the Whole foods cook. They told me to use the kale raw and the recipe was for much larger amounts. It started with 1/2 lb of garlic roasted! I was told Whole Foods keeps a recipe book of all their recipes in case anyone wants one.

    • The kale is this recipe is raw, I just recommend washing it. 🙂 This recipe might now be identical to the Whole Foods recipe because I have modified the ingredient amounts for at-home prep. Whole Foods makes recipes is large quantities because they are serving so many people.

  68. I just made this recipe and thanks so much for posting it. I’m in the DC area and I went to three WFs and for some reason no one what the measurements and proportions are for the Garlicky Kale Salad.

    You can tweak this to suit your tastes…I tripled the recipe because I want to use the dressing on my raw broccoli as well. I used tamari (soy sauce) instead of the liquid amino acids and it was a bit saltier than the store version. I also added extra virgin olive oil because a few other copy cat recipes recommend EEVO.

    I toned down the tahini when I increased the recipe and increased the lemon juice and garlic.

    End result (tripled recipe):
    2.5 TBS Nutritional Yeast
    1 TBS Minced Garlic
    1.5 TBS Lemon juice
    1.5 TBS Tamari
    1.5 TBS Water
    1 T Tahini
    1.5 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  69. I found your blog (and this blogpost) by typing “garlicky kale whole foods” into my Google search box…and here you are! The garlicky kale is one of my favorite things ever, I’ve been known to fill up a huge container and eat it for lunch! Sadly, they didn’t have it on my last visit so I’m so glad I found your recipe 🙂 I’m off to Whole Foods right now to buy the ingredients! Thanks!

  70. The Whole Foods Hot Bar is a dangerous place for me to visit…good thing Whole Foods is few and far between in Canada…a blessing to my wallet!
    I always wonder, “how did I just spend $17 on salad?” But then I forget about that small detail and dig in!

  71. I am also addicted to the WF’s salad bar. I stop by on my way to work every Wednesday to do a little grocery shopping and make a crazy combo in the salad bar for lunch! It’s so good, except for the few days when they don’t have kale!

  72. I too am addicted to the Whole Foods hot bar…I go there almost everyday that I don’t bring my lunch to work! I love it so much that I walk a mile uphill BOTH WAYS! Actually, I just walk through Beacon Hill…but I like to pretend that I’m foraging for my lunch because I walk so far!

    I love when they have Mexican food with that giant trough of guacamole!

  73. I’m obsessed with the Whole Food hot bar as well. Fortunately for my wallet, I no longer live within walking distance of a Whole Foods. I really like their Indian food selections, but I’ve never tried to recreate any of their food at home. I probably should though since it would be much cheaper than paying by the pound.

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