Monday, September 5, 2016

The BEST Kale Salad I've Ever Made

I know what you're thinking? The Best kale salad you've ever made? Really? YES! Yes, it is.....this salad was so delicious....I'm quite proud of myself! HA!! Even my husband said it was incredible multiple times during dinner. I also added some sliced, marinated, grilled chicken to his salad. He loved the addition.

Kale always needs to be "massaged" with olive oil when you are eating it raw.  Massaging kale with your fingers breaks down the toughness and releases its sweetness. Please take the time to do this before eating - it will change the way you feel about eating raw kale forever !! It also needs to be lightly salted. 

I hope you love this salad as much as we did! This is going to be my new "go-to".  YUM!!

1 bunch of curly kale, hard stems removed, kale chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into thin half moons
1/2 to 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and chopped
1 16oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 Tbl hemp seeds, optional
Extra virgin olive oil

Sliced chicken breast, if desired

1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbl freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F

Peel the sweet potato. Slice the sweet potato into 1/4" thick rounds and then cut again into half moons. Place on foiled lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil. Lightly salt. Toss to combine and then arrange them slide by side so there is no overlapping. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until sweet potato is cooked to your likeness.

Trim the Brussels sprouts and chop each sprout into thirds. Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil, lightly salt and toss to coat. Place on another foil lined baking sheet and spread the sprouts out. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes. If you like (and I do!) drizzle the roasted sprouts with 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup (just a little extra special touch to add a bit of sweetness to the sprouts- totally optional!).

While the veggies are roasting, prepare the kale. Remove all the hard middle stems from the kale leaves and discard.  Wash the curly leaves, pat dry and chop into bite sized pieces. Place kale into a large bowl and drizzle a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil and massage the kale with your fingers for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss (read my intro to learn about massaging kale). Put the kale into the fridge while you are roasting the other veggies.

This next step is optional, but I always like to plump up my dried fruits - it makes them easier to chew. Put 1/2 cup of water into a microwave safe dish and heat for two minutes, making the water very hot, but not boiling. Put the chopped dried cranberries into the hot water and let them sit for 5 minutes and then drain well. The water will plump them up and make them juicy instead of hard and sticky. If you don't have time for this step, no worries, just use the dried cranberries as is.

While the veggies are roasting, make the dressing. Add all the ingredients into a dish and whisk together; set aside.

Once the vegetables have roasted and slightly cooled, it is time to assemble the salad.

Remove the kale from the fridge and add the sunflower seeds, chickpeas, dried cranberries and hemp seeds (if using).  Evenly distribute the salad onto plates. Top each salad with the sweet potato slices and roasted Brussels sprouts.  If using, add sliced chicken breast to the top of each salad. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!!!! YUM!!!

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