Monday, January 6, 2014

Kale Salad w/ Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple

Let's be honest. I'm 25. I'm gonna eat what I want, when I want. Because I teach 4 group fitness classes per week and spend the rest of my time running around the city. But still...there's going to be a day...within the next 5 years...that it hits me the stomach. And the thighs. So I probably should make more of an effort to incorporate healthy foods into my diet.

When you love to cook, that's hard to do. I always want to try that other braised pork recipe or steak and whatever. And make cookies. And some 7 layer salted caramel chocolate cake. Or a pie. Mmmm pie....

I'm going to make an effort to create two overly healthy, light meals per week. Not that we're gluttons the rest of the time, BF and I usually eat relatively healthy, and we're good about not over-eating. Unless it's pie. But I'm talking about more salads, fish, and vegetable-based cooking in general.

So I've started this new effort with a kale salad with roasted sweet potato and apple. I'll be honest, my first thought was, a salad for dinner, without any kind of meat, that's dangerous. And won't fill me up. And Boyfriend will be cranky. But I have to hand it to Real Simple on this one. Boyfriend said it was a salad of all his favorite things rolled into one. That's good, right?

And as an extra plus, this recipe was extremely quick and easy. I made it on a Sunday night, but this is definitely a Tuesday (or any other busy night) meal. 

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (no need to peel!)
  • 6 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice - I used about 5 T lemon juice...I like it lemony. 
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 bunches kale, thick stems removed
  • 1 pink lady or honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 4 oz shaved Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with 2 T of oil and 1/4 t. each salt and pepper on a rimmed backing sheet. Roast, tossing the potatoes halfway through, until lightly browned and tender, 18-20 minutes. Let cool slightly. You can also toast your almonds at the same time (ALWAYS TOAST YOUR NUTS!). I used slivered almonds here, since I had two opened bags in my cupboard (woops!). With the oven at 400, you won't want your almonds in the over for more than 5 minutes. So keep a close eye on them.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, 4 T olive oil, and 1/4 t. salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the kale and rub together with clean hands to tenderize and coat the leaves. Because kale is such a tough, sturdy leaf, you'll really want to massage the dressing into the leaves to soften them up. You can also dress this salad up to 2 days in advance. Just add the remaining ingredients before serving.

Add the apple, almonds, and sweet potatoes and toss to combine. Serve topped with shaved Pecorino or Parm. 

Fun with Food: Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritional vegetables out there. The skin contains fiber, beta carotene, vitamins C and E, folate, potassium, and iron, so keep the skins on. But make sure to scrub them well to remove dirt and cow manure :)

**The sodium count for this recipe can get pretty high. So be lenient on the added salt if you're watching sodium intake.

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