Here's what I think. When you make something this healthy that tastes this good, it is your responsibility as a human being to share it with the world. And by world, I really mean with all my girlfriends. Because who needs a tofu popscicle or dairy-free/wheat-free/vegan/bilingual/yoga-enthusiast green smoothie when you can eat something that tastes DELICIOUS and probably cures cancer at the same time?!
(*NOTE: this salad has not been proven to cure cancer.)
I made this salad for my friend Ann a few weeks ago, and she raved about how lip-smackingly good it was. It typically serves 4, but we polished off all the greens and veggies between the two of us. That alone should tell me it's worthy of a blog mention.
But what REALLY told me it was a great dish was when she texted me the next morning: "I dreamed about your salad. That's how good it was."
It made my day.
This recipe also outs me as a kale groupie. Is there such a thing? I think so. The interwebs are chock full of recipes for kale smoothies, kale chips, kale pasta, kale quesadillas, kale pesto, and even kale ice cream. (For the record, I think that sounds totally gross. But I'd probably try it.)
Americans have gone a little kale nutso of late.
But when a vegetable this nutritious tastes as good as it does, it's worthy of jumping on the kale bandwagon. And one of the best things about it is that it grows particularly well in cooler climates, which is perfect for our Alaska gardens. I can't wait for summer!
Kale is a tougher green, so I toss it with a little vinaigrette and let it sit for a bit to tenderize. This calls for a lot of roasted veggies, and I ended up using two baking sheets to give all of the vegetables enough room to roast instead of steam.
I think this salad is the perfect example of how a salad can be a main course. If you're looking to slim down for swimsuit season, or want to increase your intake of vegetables without dreading it, this is an ideal meal to kickstart your plan. Delicious and filling, you'll feel totally satisfied after you've cleaned your plate (and I swear you won't miss the absence of meat, although it's equally wonderful served with a fillet of simply grilled wild Alaska salmon).
The vegetables I used are merely a guideline. Use what looks best at the grocery store or farmers market. Think eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or cauliflower. All would work equally well in place of the ones I use.
Cook what you love- a guideline for this salad and a motto to live by.
Roasted Vegetable & Kale Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Serves 4 hearty Alaskan appetites
For the salad:
1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces or 4 cups), stems removed and chopped into ribbons
4 small or 2 large beets, peeled and cut roughly into 1 inch pieces
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 small red onion, sliced into 8 wedges
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced into 8 wedges
1 red pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoons salt
several grinds of fresh ground pepper
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds of pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and place on one or two large baking sheets. (If you use two, put the beets and red onion together so that the beets don't "bleed" purple all over the rest of the veggies.) Roast for about 40 minutes or so, turning once (and rotating baking sheets from top to bottom if you're using two), until tender with crispy golden edges. Ten minutes before you pull the veggies out of the oven, sprinkle the walnuts on the baking sheet with the veggies to toast them.
2. Whisk vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, honey, and Dijon mustard. Toss kale with 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing in a large bowl. Let the kale sit in the dressing for 5-10 minutes before assembling the salad. Place kale on the salad plates
3. After the vegetables have cooled for 5-10 minutes, using the same large bowl used for the kale, toss the veggies and walnuts with 2-3 tablespoons (or more) of the dressing.
4. Top the kale with the veggies and walnuts, and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve with the dressing on the side.