Kale, Lemon, and Cilantro Sandwich

By Rip Esselstyn

Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without the creative genius of my amazing, enthusiastic, brilliant mother! Ann serves this one open faced on toasted bread. You won’t believe how good a super-healthy sandwich like this can taste until you try it! Gene Stone, my co-writer and one of the Engine 2 participants, hated kale before tasting this sandwich. Now he’s a devoted kale, lemon, and cilantro sandwich eater.

Any greens of choice will work. The lemon adds an almost sweet taste. Be generous with it! 


 1 bunch kale, rinsed and drained
 4 slices whole grain bread, toasted
 Healthy Homemade Hummus
 4 green onions
 1/2 bunch cilantro or parsley, rinsed and chopped
 1 lemon with skin on, sliced very thinly into rounds
 Zest of 1 lemon

1. Tear kale leaves away from thick stem. Discard stem and chop leaves into bite-size pieces.
2. Toast bread until brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. 
3. Put kale in a pot filled with about 4 inches of water.
4. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for two to three minutes, until kale is tender. Check frequently.
5. Spread toast thickly with hummus, sprinkle on the green onions, pile cilantro on top, then place a few very thin slices of lemons on the cilantro. 
6. When kale is tender, drain well. Shake the strainer so all water is gone, then sprinkle the kale in the strainer with lemon zest and the juice from the remaining lemons. Lots of lemon makes this good!  
7. Place a large handful of lemon-filled kale on top of each piece sandwich half and top with remaining toast slices.

Add a thick slice of tomato to each sandwich.

Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a PlantStrongÔ diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.  

Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.

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