Genius Recipes

‘The Best Salad You've Ever Eaten in Your Life’

In this Genius Recipe, Nadiya Hussain proves we have to stop throwing out this ingredient.

July 14, 2021

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Founding Editor and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.


This salad has everything going for it: You can make it in one bowl. You can prep it ahead—for picnics, for barbecues, for dinner tonight. You can swirl it into a bright, herby, creamy, juicy, crisp thrillfest, in very little time.

The Great British Bake Off winner and Netflix star Nadiya Hussain designs all her salads to be “the best salad you’ve ever eaten in your life.” Here, as always, she nails it. (1)

But in all of this greatness, there’s one unlikely but irrefutable star: fuzzy, downright standoffish kiwis. Specifically, their peels.

Even if you’ve heard evangelists tell you to eat kiwis, skin and all; even if you’ve already tried it and aren’t completely convinced, it is my solemn vow that this salad will convert you—in one of two ways.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The kiwi skin didn't bother me and my husband at all and it felt like eating a green tomato salad. But the more I ate the more I wanted this culinary experiment to be over. There was still plenty left in the salad bowl and my husband and we could not bring ourselves to eat it up. After dinner I felt sick. The sheer thought to eat this salad again gave me shivers. I don't know why, maybe it's the red onion or the amount of salad sauce (too much for the amount of kiwi), maybe the feta? Also the more I think about this salad, the more I feel that certain ingredients in the sauce don't make sense. What is the tahini for, or the za'atar, what do they add to the taste? This salad is, what I call a mishmash in the Ottolenghi style. Don't be blinded by it's beauty because the inner values don't match at all.”
— ultramarina
Comment

Nadiya herself is a testament to the first. In her cookbook Time to Eat, she doesn’t shy away from the common visceral reactions. In the recipe’s introduction, she likens the not-dissimilar sensation of eating peach skins to “that of licking a Russian Blue cat.” In our conversation for The Genius Recipes Tapes podcast, she compares the idea of eating kiwi skin to chewing on a teddy bear’s leg, the outside of a coconut, and something that you’d use to scour your pans.

A fuzzy star is born. Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Jessica Faria.

This was Nadiya’s own reaction, too, when she first saw a recommendation to eat the peels on Greg Rutherford’s Instagram feed. But she’s someone who likes a challenge.

And when she tried it, “It was the weirdest, most wonderful thing I've ever tried because, you know, your mind expects you to hate it, your mind already decided that this is the way it's going to feel, and this is the way it's going to taste,” she told me. “It ticked all of those boxes, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is as weird as I imagined it would be, but it is still really delicious.’”

In overcoming a food aversion, it’s not just that you may be wrong about everything you assumed—it’s that you may be right, only to discover you like it anyway. (2)

And the second way this recipe may convert you? Even if you’re not immediately won over by biting straight into the little Brillo pads, like Nadiya was, a salad is the answer. Because bathing kiwis in a dressing tames their fuzz, just like pomade smooths frizzed hair on a humid day. This dressing in particular—which leans on Middle Eastern powerhouse ingredients—woodsy za’atar and creamy tahini—is good enough to drink from the bowl when all the kiwi is gone.

On one last point, let me be clear: Not only can you and should you eat kiwi skin—for ease, economy, nourishment, badassery—this salad would not be as good without it. The kiwi is a wonder of textures: crunchy seeds, juicy-tart flesh, and the taut snap of skin that acts like a chip to a dip. Or a teddy bear leg to a teddy bear. In a good way.

(1) She’s also a cookbook author, novelist, and one of my (and my daughter’s) favorite writers for kids.

(2) In addition to eating peel-on kiwis in this salad and out of hand, Nadiya and her family like to freeze them, either in slices or whole with a stick poked through, as ice pops. Frozen, the kiwi flesh turns sorbet-like inside. (Peep the end of the video above to see one local two-year-old’s review.)

Got a Genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • doughtywench
    doughtywench
  • Paul Maddox
    Paul Maddox
  • Karolyn Schalk
    Karolyn Schalk
  • witloof
    witloof
  • E E Faris
    E E Faris
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."

33 Comments

doughtywench July 25, 2022
This sounded so good I had to make it, even though I only had half the ingredients on hand. Okay, I made the dressing. I put it on peaches, which I ate for breakfast. They were delicious. Today, I'll try it on strawberries.
 
Paul M. July 21, 2022
Okay... I always wanted to try the skin of a kiwi, and that salad is the BOMB of a recipe!!! The only thing better was the suggestion to stab a kiwi with a stick and freeze it (sounds like the makings of a cool treat on a hot July evening on the porch... imagine : frozen kiwi and frozen watermelon together... and on a stick!)
 
Karolyn S. July 20, 2022
I'm neither here, nor there on the actual salad - it was OK, didn't hit all my happy buttons. What inspired me to comment is the lead in on throwing the skin away. Why would anyone be throwing away vegetable and fruit scraps instead of composting? And composting with minimal effort and expense is entirely possible for urban dwellers. Sigh
 
Heather S. July 21, 2022
I am with you, Karolyn. Thank you for mentioning it. We need to make composting a priority so that it becomes second nature for everyone.
 
witloof January 12, 2022
I've been eating unpeeled organic kiwis for years, but I absolutely draw the line at eating banana peels.
 
E E. January 11, 2022
Really not that great a salad. I was disappointed.
 
kathryn J. August 1, 2021
This was intriguing and decidedly worth a try. When I make it again I will half the dressing ingredients: The salad was swimming it the stuff. I followed the instructions to make the dressing in the bowl but wish I'd made it separately so I could have added less. I'll probably omit the honey as well, but I liked the za'atar/tahini vibe.
 
ultramarina July 31, 2021
I made this salad a few days ago and followed the recipe to the t but halved the amount. The first few bites were surprising and tasty. The kiwi skin didn't bother me and my husband at all and it felt like eating a green tomato salad. But the more I ate the more I wanted this culinary experiment to be over. There was still plenty left in the salad bowl and my husband and we could not bring ourselves to eat it up. After dinner I felt sick. The sheer thought to eat this salad again gave me shivers.
I don't know why, maybe it's the red onion or the amount of salad sauce (too much for the amount of kiwi), maybe the feta? Also the more I think about this salad, the more I feel that certain ingredients in the sauce don't make sense. What is the tahini for, or the za'atar, what do they add to the taste?
This salad is, what I call a mishmash in the Ottolenghi style. Don't be blinded by it's beauty because the inner values don't match at all.
 
Janis O. July 21, 2021
Alas! I’m allergic to kiwi fruit. Everything else sounds delish, so maybe I need to make this without the star ingredient. Watermelon might be good….
 
Renae July 19, 2021
So, add the kiwi in the same step the cucumber is added?
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
The full recipe is here—technically they're mentioned in two different steps, but it doesn't really matter in this salad: https://food52.com/recipes/86030-kiwi-feta-salad-recipe-from-nadiya-hussain
 
Janelee July 18, 2021
Hi, hoping you can help me. I think I would love this salad but I can’t find the recipe…just the video…can you please Tell me where to locate…thanks so much….
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
Right here! Tough to find but it's the "View Recipe" button near the bottom: https://food52.com/recipes/86030-kiwi-feta-salad-recipe-from-nadiya-hussain
 
brandyk July 16, 2021
I liked the salad but felt the dressing was too much. I think it needs less tahini and less honey. Tasted VERY sweet. Also my kiwis were not very hairy. Maybe I got a different variety as it also had yellow flesh. If I make it again, I will tweak it with dressing on the side.
 
Matt July 17, 2021
The yellow ones market themselves as being hairless
 
Judy B. July 20, 2021
Think the brand is Sungold. Name is a big clue to the interior color.
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
It sounds like you used a sweeter, less furry variety of kiwi so tweaking the sweetness is a great plan next time.
 
Hollis R. July 16, 2021
The last time I ate a kiwi, in 1991, was with the skin. And it made my eyeballs itch! That wasn’t an experience I wanted again, so I blamed it on the skin. Perhaps I should’ve blamed it on whatever the skin was sprayed with, I’m now thinking. This dressing sounds heavenly — I’m addicted to za’atar — and the salad ingredients are right up my alley. (Although for much of my life I despised feta, even referring to it as fetid! Nowadays it’s the star ingredient in my Baked Greek Salad.)
 
Catu13 July 18, 2021
It’s not uncommon for people who are allergic to pollens to have a reaction to kiwi, especially a localized reaction to the mouth, tongue, face. ❤️
 
robinorig July 19, 2021
I developed a severe allergy to kiwi out of nowhere in my late twenties. I have to now carry an would I just in case because my throat cliffs in if I even get one seed or one drop of juice or flesh. I have to be careful about eating fruit salad or even garnished plates out. I even encountered a dessert where the raspberry sauce was "enhanced" with kiwi with no mention on the menu. Since then I've heard that many people are allergic. If you already get a mild reaction, you should probably stop eating them as it can build to a much worse allergy. The protein in it is related also to latex and bananas.
 
robinorig July 19, 2021
That should say epipen... #autoincorrect
 
judy July 15, 2021
I started eating the skin of kiwis a few years ago, as long as the fruit is organic. Read an article suggesting that we do so. Bit of an odd texture, but read that it significantly improves the nutritional value of the fruit if the skin is eaten. Now I hardly notice the skin. Kiwis are a very nice fruit.
 
Andrew W. July 15, 2021
Re: Is zucchini a fruit? - This is one of those situations where two definitions of a word butt up against each other. There's the scientific definition of a fruit (the part with the seeds in it) and the colloquial definition of fruit (the sweet foods from plants). Under the scientific definition many of the foods we colloquially call vegetables are actually fruits - tomatoes and zucchini (as you mentioned), but also peppers, beans and legumes (also, tree nuts).
So our "true" vegetables are the ones from other parts of the plant: root vegetables, alliums (onions & garlic) which are essentially a stem, and cabbages which are technically herbs that are prevented from sprouting flowers (broccoli is actually a bunch of tiny cabbage flower heads grown in cold weather to prevent blooming (or "bolting" in horticultural parlance)).
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
Thanks, Andrew! Love that it's basically a vegetable "because we said so."
 
Patricia F. July 14, 2021
Have to admit, I really don't like the skin of regular kiwis. However, yellow or golden kiwis are not hairy and delicious with the skin!
 
Melissa W. July 14, 2021
Definitely looking forward to making this - I come from Kiwiland and grew up eating the skin (who had time to peel them??). Also loving the idea of freezing them and trying them with the kids. Great ideas.
 
Jo S. July 14, 2021
Hi there I love your videos! I am from the land of the kiwifruit - thats what we call them here. We always ate them with the skin on when I was younger as they grew all over our neighbourhood, but now I get them from the store and I ALWAYS peel because of the sprays used on them :( We use them sliced to decorate pavlovas either with or without strawberries too. They are known to tenderise chicken before cooking! Don't cook them with the chicken or the chicken may disintegrate! Chicken is nice served with round slices on it too. Also the BEST drink ever ...dice 1 kiwifruit (yes peeled) and half of a large banana and add with half a cup of water to a blender & blitz! Add more or less water to your liking. This is a flavour sensation you will love! I did this for breakfast for years & used the other half of the banana for another drink after work. It gives you amazing energy & people always commented on my complexion! - I never got those comments before I started drinking it every day. Sorry this is so long! Hopefully you can go on a wider exploration with kiwifruit!
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
Thank you, Jo—love these ideas!
 
Geoff K. July 14, 2021
I am breaking my strict no-comment policy to say that is the greatest podcast title in the history of fruit-based puns.
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2021
YES. That is all thanks to our new producer of Genius, Amy Shuster.
 
Morgan R. July 14, 2021
When I first saw a Kiwi I had no idea how to eat it. And tried eating like an apple, pear or peach. I spit it right out. The skin is a total no go for me.
 
AntoniaJames July 14, 2021
Whoa. Anything not to have to peel kiwis. I'm in!

And why am I not using kiwis in salad more often? That astringency, and their bright color, will improve just about any salad.

I plan to make this soon - inviting to the party a fistful of arugula and some Mayan jaguar lettuce from our garden. I simply cannot wait.

Thank you! ;o)
 
Jessamin July 14, 2021
I feel compelled to tell you that I always enjoy your comments on this site, and when you review something well I’ve come trust you (maybe because of your profile photo, you look trustworthy).