My Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette has the perfect blend of sweet, salty, and lemony flavors for a deliciously nutritious punch!
If you read my BLT Salad post, you know that I’m not a big fan of lettuce. It’s kind of a new thing. I started a medication for my Type 2 Diabetes a few years ago and since then there are a few foods I just can’t handle texturally anymore. Lettuce is one of them. For some reason, I don’t have the same reaction to kale. It’s a hardier leafy green and maybe that makes a difference. I don’t know. All I know is, whether in a salad, or wilted in a soup or pasta, kale is one of my favorite vegetables. I love this salad because most of it can be prepared ahead of time, the vinaigrette, the sweet potatoes, the roasted pepitas, even the kale itself can be prepped the night before.
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup REAL maple syrup (Sorry Mrs. Butterworth 😕, only the real deal here)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Small pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 cup raw pepitas (these are the inside of the pumpkin seed and can usually be found in the Natural Foods section of your local Mega Market in the "loose" foods. If you can't find them, roasted sunflower seeds are absolutely fine. Just skip the roasting part and move along...)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 small pinch of ground black pepper
- Light drizzle of olive oil
The Rest of the Salad Bits
- 2 heads of kale, any type, stripped from the stems and rough chopped
- 2 carrots, julienned. I LOVE the julienne peeler I got from Our Interweb Overlords, but you can also just thinly julienne the carrots by hand. Look at your awesome knife skills!!
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into half moon slices
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 pt Grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Let's start by making the Maple Vinaigrette. Let me warn you, once you start making your own salad dressings, you may never go back to store bought again. It takes so little effort for maximum reward. Add all of the ingredients, except the olive oil to a food processor and pulse until blended. With the processor in the ON position, drizzle in the olive oil until vinaigrette is fully blended. The dijon mustard, along with giving the dressing a nice zing, will help to keep the ingredients from separating so you can even make this ahead of time and refrigerate it! Fantastic! Just take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving your salad and give it a nice shake. If you don't have a food processor, a mason jar with a tight lid will work great! Just add all the ingredients and shake it up like you're dancing in a mosh pit. And post a video of that on YouTube, cuz that's gonna be funny!
- Roasting your nuts is easy! Preheat your oven to 350°. Spread your pepitas on a small sheet pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well. Roast for about 5 min, stir and roast about another 3 minutes. They start out green, but after roasting have a nice brownish tinge to them. After roasting I like to pour them onto a plate to cool. Leaving them on the baking sheet, they will continue to cook on the hot metal, possibly leaving you with burnt nuts 😳 Oh dear.
- Now we'll roast the sweet potatoes. Again, this is a very simple process. Turn the oven up to 425°. Place your cut potatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix it all up and pour the potatoes out on a sheet pan. Roast at 425° for about 20-25 minutes or until just tender and the potatoes have nice browning on their edges.
- Place your chopped kale in a large bowl and drizzle with he juice of one lemon. Using your hands, give the kale a nice massage. This will help to break down some of the fibrous texture of the kale. Kale is a very hardy vegetable, and will actually keep for a day or two in the refrigerator after this process without losing its kale-ness. Some people will eat kale just like this, massaged with a little lemon juice, but that makes me make this face 😖. However, the tang of the lemon, mixed with the sweetness of the Maple Vinaigrette is perfection!
- Add the carrots and onions to the kale and toss with about 1/4 cup of the Maple Vinaigrette. Adjust the amount of dressing up or down according to your taste. It's always better to start with too little dressing than too much because you can always add more but... you know. Serve the salad in individual portions. Top with the sweet potatoes, tomato halves, and a sprinkle of roasted pepitas and enjoy! Salad without lettuce. I'm still winning at this veggie game!