I feel like I’m finally starting to crawl out of my hole and get excited about food again, and blogging. Winter this year has been especially tough – so so cold, and so much snow. Only in the last month or so have I gotten back to regularly being able and willing to bike to and from work, and I’ve been rewarded in the past week with the sounds of robins on my 430am rides. A couple days ago I was biking home in both blazing sunlight AND through a patch of falling snow! It was crazy.
Since crops this year are behind due to the severe weather of the last season, I can’t yet get totally into the spring thing, and this salad is a little mixture of wintery cooked remnants and some fresh, raw components. Despite loving beets fiercely, I don’t prepare them nearly enough, and there were a few starting to get soft in the vegetable drawer, along with a couple of garnet yams. A poblano and a bunch of dinosaur kale later, and I had the bulk of a roasted+raw salad full of vitamins and nutrients to keep my sunny spring evening happy and yummy. There’s a hint of Latin spices and heat, some tangy and fresh lime juice, and sweet roasted yams and beets to offset the slight bitterness of the raw kale. I added some hemp seeds for an extra bit of protein, although I could see pepitas or even black beans in here too. This takes a little more time than I usually spend on a salad, but most of it happens in the oven; you can also roast veggies one night and do the chopping and massaging of the kale the next. At the end of your hard work, though, is enough salad to feed a dinner party or just yourself for a few days. Enjoy!
Beet, Yam and Kale Salad
makes 4-6 servings
3 medium/large beets, scrubbed
2 medium/large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced large
olive oil for roasting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato/dinosaur), stemmed and chopped small
juice of one lime
2 teaspoons olive oil
a pinch or two of salt
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Cut the beets in halves (or quarters if especially large), or roughly the same size to ensure even cooking. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with a little oil and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover with foil and roast for 45-90 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool, then push the skins off with your fingers and chop into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, toss the yams with the salt, spices, garlic and olive oil, and roast on a separate baking dish for 30-40 minutes, or until soft with browned edges. You can roast the poblano with the yams during the last 15 minutes of cooking, or roast them separately. They can still have a bit of bite to them, but a little roasting will help develop the flavor. Set aside to cool.
While the roasted vegetables are cooling, place your kale in a large bowl with lime juice, olive oil and salt and massage gently with your hands until the kale begins to wilt and release its juices (it will look a lot like cooked kale). Add the scallions, roasted vegetables, and hemp seeds and toss until evenly mixed. Serve room temperature or chilled.