You don’t have to give up those healthy salads just because the weather is cooling off. Just make them more seasonal and warm them up a bit by adding roasted vegetables. I made this kale salad with roasted caramelized sweet potatoes and onions for lunch yesterday.
Although I grow kale in my garden I have used it all up. I thought I would make my life easier by buying a bag of the pre-chopped stuff but I still thought the pieces were too big. I will go back to buying it in bunches and chopping it myself.
I cut the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces and measured out just one tablespoon of vegetable oil to toss them with. I like to do this right on the cookie sheet if I am roasting to save on dishes. The onion went in the oven too.
It took about 40 minutes at 375 to cook the squash and get it to caramelize. I turned it over once about halfway through the cooking time. I put my pecan halves in the oven for the last 8-10 minutes to toast them.
I’ve been using a lot less oil lately and it can be challenging when it comes to salad dressings. For this salad I made Dreena Burton’s Magical Applesauce Vinaigrette which contains no oil or nuts. For my own little twist I used some Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar from one of those fancy olive oil and vinegar stores. I also left out the miso that was called for. It’s hard to find in our area and the dressing was still good. The next time I get to a larger grocery store I’ll pick some up and see if it makes a difference. I also doubled the recipe so I could use my high speed blender.
The applesauce was an interesting ingredient but I often use it to replace the oil in baking so I thought, why not? The spice blend of cumin and cinnamon was also unusual but it went really well with the ingredients in this salad. Everything went into my high speed blender so that the applesauce got fully emulsified.
Now that the kale was cut up, the sweet potatoes and pecans roasted, and the dressing made, it was time to assemble my salad. I have learned that massaging kale can make it more tender and palatable for salads. You can do it with a bit of salt or lemon juice but I decided to use some of my salad dressing. I put the kale in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of the dressing and used my hands to squeeze and distribute the dressing.
I topped the salad with the still warm sweet potatoes and onions, the apple, pecans, and cranberries and drizzled on a bit more salad dressing for good measure.
I love eating according to what is in season and this salad satisfied my fall cravings. I hope you will try it and enjoy it.
Applesauce Vinaigrette (My Way)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used a red apple flavored balsamic)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup or more to sweeten to taste if desired
- 1/4 tsp rounded sea salt (or more to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. I thought the dressing was the perfect consistency as is but you could add a bit of water to thin if you like.