There are some pretty clear signs that we’re barreling towards Christmas time. For starters, there are Christmas decorations everywhere. There are lights being strung, the stores are stocked with gingerbread and glögg, and the city of Stockholm has started construction on the crazy tall tree that stands each year in front of the royal palace. I bike past it most days, so I can watch the progress as it’s branches fill out from top to bottom. Also, kale has started to make it’s seasonal appearance in the grocery stores, which makes me incredibly happy.
It’s cold out. Not bonkers cold, yet, but enough that I feel cold pretty much all the time. I’m wandering around the apartment shutting windows as fast as Paul can open them; that man runs warm.
I’ve long been in the habit of having a big salad for at least one meal a day. These days, though, I’m too cold for the big bowl of raw veggies with a scoop of cottage cheese on top which is our standard salad. I’m looking for at the very least a scoop of something warm to mix in with the veg, or, even better, a warm salad.
This is the perfect cold weather salad. Kale and sweet potatoes are tossed in a spicy lemony marinade and then roasted, separately, until tender. The kale becomes soft and wilty and a little bit crispy, much easier to eat than when raw. The sweet potatoes are roasted until browned on the outside and marshmallowy soft and sweet inside. Those bits get tossed together, then diced apple and toasted sunflower seeds are sprinkled over the top for some texture. The salad is already dressed, and you are done like dinner.
Roasted Kale and Sweet Potato Salad Recipe:
I ate this recipe in two large salads, but I think it could be a great salad to toss down on a big platter for a bigger party to help themselves as for a side dish. Maybe a great addition to your Thanksgiving table?
Marinade and roasted kale adapted from The First Mess. The rest is from my brain.
Serves 2, generously.
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium-large sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced into 1cm rounds
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces
1 apple, cored and diced
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
Preheat your oven to 400 F / 200 C. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the dressing / marinade, combine lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle or a deep bowl, and bash around until you’ve formed a bit of a dry paste. Add the olive oil and lemon juice, and mix well.
Place the sweet potato slices into a large bowl and pour half of the dressing over. Toss with your hands to make sure everything is well coated, then arrange in a single layer on one of your baking trays. Place in the oven and roast for 15 – 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, place the torn kale leaves and pour the remaining dressing over top. Toss well and use your hands to slightly massage the dressing into the kale leaves. Leave to sit while the sweet potato is roasting.
After the sweet potato has roasted about 15 – 20 minutes, remove from the oven, carefully flip each piece over, and place back into the oven. Spread the marinated kale leaves in a single layer on the other baking sheet, and place into the oven as well. Roast everything for about 10 minutes more. If you want to also roast your sunflower seeds at this point you can sprinkle them in with the kale, or into a corner on either baking sheet, and roast for 2-3 minutes. Be very careful not to burn them.
Remove the kale and sweet potato from the oven. Kale should be wilted, and maybe a little crispy in some places (we’re not trying to make kale chips here, though) and the sweet potatoes should be brown on the outside and soft on the inside.
While still warm, layer the kale and sweet potato into a salad dish. Sprinkle diced apple pieces on top, followed by sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apple is a good source of fiber, and vitamin C. The nutrients in apples are concentrated skin, so buy organic, give them a good wash, and keep the skin on whenever possible.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is extraordinarily rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer fighting glucosinolates. Kale is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and contains nearly twice the vitamin K (essential for blood clotting and also an important anti-inflammatory agent) than any other cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbage, etc). Iron, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, and phosphorous are among the complement of vital minerals found in kale. The dietary fiber in kale is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels. One recent study showed that this benefit may be improved by lightly steaming kale for about 5 minutes before consuming.
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are increibly rich in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.Sweet potatoes also have storage proteins called sporamins which have unique antioxidant properties.
Sunflower seeds are rich in linoleic acid, vitamin E, B vitamins, and are a source of dietary fiber. They’re fatty though, people, so remember to moderate.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012