Sweets and Beets Winter Kale Salad

Sweets and Beets Winter Kale Salad 1.jpg

I love salads, but in the chilly Northeast, the last thing I want on a January day is a bowl brimming with cucumbers and tomatoes. 

This salad is a hearty, grounding mix of roasted sweet potatoes and red beets, kaniwa (similar to quinoa), pumpkin seeds, kale, and arame (a Japanese sea vegetable). It keeps for several days in the fridge and can be packed up easily for on-the-go lunches. I also love adding some creamy avocado on the side. 

Sweets and Beets Winter Kale Salad

Serves 4

2 cups cooked Kaniwa (or red quinoa)
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium beets, stems and roots removed
4 heaping cups lacinato or curly kale, chopped
1/3 cup dried arame, rehydrated, rinsed, and roughly chopped (optional)
1/4-1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds, plus more for garnish
1 lemon, halved

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 rounded tsp. Dijon mustard
drizzle raw honey
pinch salt + pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

To roast vegetables:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper

For the beets: wash/scrub, and then wrap in aluminum foil. Roast on a sheet pan for 45 minutes to one hour, checking for doneness at the 45 minute mark by unwrapping and inserting a knife into the middle, watch out for steam. The knife should easily slide in with minimal to no resistance. Once cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub off the skins, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. 

For the sweet potato: Toss cut potato will a good drizzle of olive oil + a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing twice, and checking every 5 minutes after the 30 minute mark for desired doneness. 

Make the vinaigrette: 

Whisk together red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking to create an emulsion. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a mason jar, seal the lid tightly, and shake until the vinaigrette comes together. 

*Dressing will make more than you need for this salad. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.

To assemble the salad:

Add kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and add the juice from one half of the lemon. Massage with your hands until kale is bright green and has decreased in volume by about half. 

Gently toss kale with kaniwa (or quinoa), roasted vegetables, arame, and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle salad with half of the vinaigrette and toss again - taste and add more vinaigrette, salt, or pepper as desired. To finish, squeeze a splash of juice from other half of lemon over the top and garnish with more pumpkin seeds. 

Serve salad room temperature or slightly chilled. Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

Notes: 

Kaniwa is similar to quinoa, but the seed grains are much smaller. It's gluten-free and a complete source of protein. If you can't find kaniwa, simply substitute with red quinoa. 

Arame is a sweet and mild Japanese sea vegetable. I love adding it to dishes for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals - such as iodine, calcium, and iron. It also helps remove heavy metal toxins from the body. 

The beets will turn this salad red pretty quickly (not a bad thing!). But, if you're serving it for a party or event, I suggest keeping the beets separate and adding them at the last minute in order to keep the rest of the colors vibrant.