If only you could smell my kitchen right now, you 'd think I was baking for Thanksgiving. The smell of maple, cinnamon, cider and sweet potatoes is wafting through the air. No one would ever guess I was making a....kale salad! But this is the beauty of clean, healthy eating. Once you know how to blend a few simple but marvelous ingredients, you get something magical.
Let's talk about kale for a second. Everyone knows the health benefits of kale, but not everyone knows how to make it taste good. Have you ever had kale that felt like wood chips in your mouth? I have and it's not very pleasing. The key to a good kale salad is to really allow the dressing to penetrate the leaves, by massaging it with your fingers, as I did for this salad. You can even leave kale to marinate in a bowl overnight. Once you do that, it's a whole new experience.
Now onto these gorgeous sweet potatoes. Did you know there is a variety of sweet potatoes that are purple? They taste almost identical to the regular orange variety, but these contain a natural purple pigment (anthocyanin). This wine colored pigment has many health benefits including suppressing inflammation and cancer prevention. Purple sweet potatoes tend to be slightly drier than other sweet potatoes, which is why I think they go so nicely in a salad.
Contrary to their name, sweet potatoes aren't the type of starchy food that is likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Their high fiber content and low glycemic index may actually help keep blood sugar levels under control, therefore keeping you satiated longer. If you'd like to read more about the different types of purple sweet potatoes commonly found this time of year, you can check out this Food 52 review. In the meantime, get your oven ready because these babies taste as good as they look!
Once roasted, I add the potatoes to the salad while they are still warm, softening up the kale even more. And, if there's one thing I love with my sweet potatoes, its got to be maple syrup. I'm still carefully making my way through the maple syrup we brought back from Canada. I made a fragrant autumnal dressing by adding the syrup to some apple cider vinegar. I toasted whole wheat pita with cinnamon and added them into the salad for some crunch. You can eat them on the side as chips or break them up into "pita croutons". I topped the whole thing with some pomegranate seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and crumbled goat cheese. Need I say more?
*when I roast sweet potatoes I usually make extra so that I can use them for lunch or dinner the next day. I add them to tacos with black beans or to rice with vegetables. For this recipe you only need about 2 medium sized potatoes, but I suggest roasting more for leftovers.
*feel free to add more cinnamon to the pita chips or even toss them with the potatoes after roasting. the more flavor the better.
Warm Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Cider Dressing and Cinnamon Pita Chips
- 6 cups chopped kale I used organic pre-packed/washed kale
- 2 purple sweet potatoes quartered then cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 small to medium sized whole wheat pita bread rounds cut into triangles
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing/ 1 tbsp more for potatoes
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup pepitas
- crumbled goat cheese to your liking
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Make the dressing by whisking together vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil (set aside).
- Toss sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with a dash of salt and olive oil.
- Cook until fork tender about 25-30 minutes and let cool slightly.
- In meantime, in a large bowl, massage kale with half the dressing, until leaves are completely covered with dressing and begin to wilt down a bit (about 1-2 min).
- On a smaller baking sheet, toss pita triangles with some cinnamon and toast them in the same oven as potatoes, until golden and crisp about 8-10 min.
- Once potatoes have cooled slightly but are still warm, add them to the kale with pomegranate, pepitas, goat cheese and pita croutons.
- Toss with a bit more of the dressing and serve.