I kinda like kale…you might have guessed that based on the name of my blog. And the fact that this is already my second kale recipe (and most definitely not my last) so far in the short life of my blog. 🙂 But, what’s NOT to like about kale? It is packed with all sorts of good things and I like that it’s relatively inexpensive, hearty, crunchy and so versatile! Check out this little fact sheet on all the benefits of kale from Juice Generation:
One of the reasons I really like kale is that it doesn’t wilt or break-down as easily as some other greens…which means that it will typically last longer in the fridge, and leftovers store well (even with the dressing…bonus!). There are different types of kale, and probably the most common is the curly leaf, as pictured above. But there’s also a flat leaf kale called lacinato kale (or dinosaur kale) that I also like to use, and if I had to choose which was my favorite, I’d probably choose the lacinato because it’s flavor is a bit more subtle, and the leaves tend to be more tender.
How do I like to use kale? In pretty much everything! It’s great on top of pizza, in soups, blended up in tomato sauce (you won’t even know it’s there, I promise!), kale chips, in a warm or cold salad, in a wrap, as a wrap, steamed, and in smoothies! When using in a salad, it helps to add a warm ingredient (like the sweet potatoes in the recipe below) to wilt and soften the leaves, or to massage the leaves (with an acid like lemon juice or with a vinaigrette). When using kale as your main salad ingredient, you can definitely dress it in advance so it’s nice and tender by the time you’re ready to eat.
Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
1/2 – 1 bunch of lacinato kale (although curly kale will work just fine too)
1 medium sweet potato
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (divided)
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff of course!)
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper
1. Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Toss with half the maple syrup and some salt & pepper, and roast for about 45 minutes at 375degF until soft.
3. Wash kale, and strip off of stems (save stems for smoothies!). Cut or tear into bite size pieces.
4. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and remaining maple syrup together. Add salt & pepper and red pepper flakes (if using).
5. Dress kale and cherry tomatoes about 10 minutes before serving to soften leaves.
6. Let sweet potatoes cool for 3-5 minutes before adding to salad. Toss everything together and top with sunflower seeds and parmesan cheese.
* Try adding apples or avocado to this for some extra flavor!