Recipe Recipe


Alison Roman’s Little Gems and Cabbage with Pickled Turnips and Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Some version of this salad is in constant rotation at my house, especially after a Sahadi’s run. I go through about a jar of tahini every month, thanks mostly to the dressing here, which I use on everything from chicken to this salad. I love food that’s heavy on crunch, which explains why this, my favorite salad, is like, 99% crunch. It can be adapted to include whatever you have on hand or whatever vegetables you fancy. Typically I’m throwing in anything I need to use up- probably herbs that are on their way out, and hot pink pickled turnips- which are not only crunchy, but hot pink, which makes them salad MVP. And sure, while there is basically zero nutritional value, I really love little gems (romaine works if you can’t find) for their superlative crunch.


  • For the Dressing:
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 2 Persian (or 1 hot house) cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • ¼ small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced pickled turnips, or any other pickled vegetable you fancy (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 heads little gem lettuce, halved lengthwise (or one head romaine, quartered lengthwise)
  • 1 cup picked tender herbs, such as cilantro, parsley or dill, or combination of, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios, walnuts, almonds or cashews
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds



For the dressing:

Whisk tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and ½ cup water together in a small bowl and season with salt and lots of pepper. Add more lemon juice if you like it on the tangier side. This dressing can be kept for up to a week, so take advantage of that and make a double batch.

For the salad:

Combine the cucumbers, preserved lemon, cabbage, pickled turnips and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let sit a few minutes to let the juices come out (this will be your dressing of sorts).

Place lettuce on a large serving platter and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with cucumber mixture and any juices that have accumulated. Scatter herbs over and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle dressing over, and top with seeds and nuts, serving any leftovers alongside for more dipping/drizzling.