Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kale Salad with Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Crispy Kale and Sweet Sesame Dressing

Perfect Pairing:  Winter salad craving

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This is my new favorite winter salad.  It was inspired by a salad I had at a great restaurant here in Chicago called Trenchermen.  I was determined to recreate the salad at home so I looked up the description on the website.  The description of their version says it includes vegetable escabeche, bagna cauda, avocado, pumpkin seed, and manchego.  Hmmm vegetable escabeche and bagna cauda?  I decided to ignore that part because I had no clue how to make those things. 

My version actually ended up being quite different.  I pretty much only kept the pumpkin seeds and one other very cool idea I got from them.  They topped the fresh kale salad with pieces of crispy fried kale.  It added great texture and a nutty flavor.  Instead of frying the kale I used my standard kale chip recipe.  My version features baked sweet potato spiced with pumpkin pie spice and a dash of cayenne, pepitos, freshly grated parmesan, and an awesome sweet sesame dressing.

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This sweet sesame dressing has become my new “go-to”.  It kind of tastes like the dressing used on the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad.  I used to LOVE that salad.  Applebee’s was like THE place to go in high school and college. 

I hope you love this salad as much as I do!  It is the perfect fit when you have a salad craving in the winter.  I am not even going to get into the health benefits. Kale!  Sweet potatoes!  Mayonnaise?  Just make it!

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Flatbreads with Thyme, Honey, and Sea Salt

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Kale Salad with Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Crispy Kale and Sweet Sesame Dressing

Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing



Ingredients:

Salad:
·        1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
·        1 Tb olive oil
·        ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
·        ¼ tsp salt
·        ¼ tsp pepper
·        1 dash cayenne pepper
·        2 bunches curly kale
·        ¼ cup pepitos (salted pumpkin seeds)
·        1/3 cup grated parmesan

Dressing:
·        1/3 cup light mayonnaise
·        3 Tb honey
·        1 Tb rice vinegar
·        1 Tb Dijon mustard
·        1 Tb soy sauce
·        ½ tsp sesame oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss the diced sweet potatoes with one tablespoon olive oil, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked through and golden.  Set aside.  Leave the oven on.

Tear the kale off the ribs.  Tear off about 3 cups of lightly packed bite sized pieces and drizzle with olive oil (or you can just use cooking spray) and season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne.  Spread onto baking sheet and crisp up in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  Cut the remaining kale into small shreds.  Toss the shredded kale in a large bowl with the sweet potatoes.

In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients (mayonnaise through sesame oil), and whisk to combine.  Add dressing to the shredded kale and sweet potatoes, toss gently to coat, you may not need all of the dressing.  Add grated parmesan and pepitos.  Add a few pieces of crispy kale to each serving.

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