I think by this point we are all quite aware that kale is quite good for us. It’s become a staple of people who love to tell you how healthy they eat, and let’s not even get started on the ‘clean eaters’ (can we all just agree that’s over now, please?). When I told a friend I was making a kale salad they stared at me in disbelief – an ‘oh no, I thought so much better of you‘ look writ large across their face. But this is no salad made of two leaves with a side order of being hungry in five minutes time. This is a kale and sweet potato salad that’s simple to make, delicious to eat and fills you up. Basically all the hallmarks of a good salad.
Packed with goodness and enough substance to keep you going, this salad is great for a summer lunch. It’s best eaten fresh – so the sweet potato and chickpeas are still hot – but can also be eaten cold if you want to take some into work for lunch. The ideal time to have it though, is similar to the simple summer salad I made earlier in the summer; as a lazy lunch on a sunny day with a glass of wine, or three, on the side (I’m all about balance in my diet…).
Reasons to love this kale and sweet potato salad:
it tastes fresh
the spice really adds depth to a salad
it’s kale, thus stupidly healthy(ish)
it’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten free
it can be enjoyed out in the sun with friends around your table.
I’ve now made this particular salad a few times – it’s ridiculously simple and feels really satisfying and filling. If want to mix it up a little, you can switch the chickpeas for roast chicken (obviously it’s not vegetarian friendly, then), add in more spice to your sweet potato (like smoked paprika or smoked chillies) and then put wedges of lime round the edge. Let me know how you customise it by tagging me on Facebook or Instagram.
This recipe is adapted from something I saw on Pinterest, but forgot to tag the recipe so had to go from memory. It serves two, but is easily scalable, depending how many you need it for. It takes just under an hour to make, but the hands-on time is about 10-15 minutes.
2 large handful of kale
1 tbsp olive oil
200g chickpeas (a small can)
1 medium sweet potato (about 500g)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (you could also add smoked paprika, with a squirt of lime juice)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
100 ml of salad dressing
If you’re making salad dressing, do this first – put 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a jar with 2 tbsp of cider vinegar, 1 tsp of dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and a couple of twists of black pepper. Seal the jar and shake to combine. There are fancier dressings out there, but this is my favourite.
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Peel your sweet potato and cut into cubes about 2cm². Put into a bowl and add in your chickpeas (pre-drained). Add in the cayenne pepper and olive oil, mix it all together and then tip into a baking tray. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked.
About five minutes before your sweet potato is done, shred your kale into more manageable chunks that you can eat with a fork without twisting. In a bowl add the kale and about half of the dressing. Get your hands in there and start massaging the kale. After a few minutes it should start to feel more tender and should start to release more fragrance.
Once the sweet potato and chickpeas are done, use tongs to move to on top of your kale (try not to get too much oil with them), top with the pumpkin seeds and drizzle over the remaining dressing as desired. Serve immediately.