This Sweet Potato Kale Salad keeps things interesting with a mix of roasted and fresh vegetables. Each bite has tahini dressing that highlights the simple goodness of this combination. You can finally cut down on salad prep time without losing any of the great taste.
I gave a sneak peek of this Sweet Potato Kale Salad on my Instagram recently. Soon after, a friend of mine texted me to ask when it was going up on the ol’ blog (hint: right now!). She confided that wants to eat more kale, because it’s so good for you, which I don’t disagree with. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder why kale, of all “healthy foods” became so popular.
First, let’s just run through some of what makes kale such a “superfood“:
- Just one cup has 5 grams of fiber, making it a great digestive boost.
- It competes with beef as a source of iron, which your body needs to transport oxygen, make cells, and have a properly functioning liver.
- The vitamin K and calcium content promote good, strong bones. (I can still hear my mom’s constant refrain when we were kids, did you remember to take your calcium?)
Have you ever heard people say that if something is good for you, it probably doesn’t taste good? For many (obvious) reasons I hate that saying. All it does is propagate the notion that eating healthy is unpleasant, yet people still wonder why we have so many health problems. I remember being teased that I “don’t like the good things in life” because of the way I eat, except I feel better when I choose meals like salad and grilled chicken over fried or sugar-laden foods. Frankly, I think what I eat tastes even better than the alternatives!
Anyway, moving on from my mini rant there. It seems that until around 2012, kale wasn’t mainstream. In fact, Pizza Hut was the greens’ biggest purchaser, using it as decoration on their salad bar. You might even say they did it before it was cool. MindBodyGreen, on a similar mission that I am now, dug deeper into the story of kale, learning that the American Kale Association paid people to make kale cool.
Ummm, can I have that job??
After asking around, discovering that no one else heard of the AKA, the truth came out– the mastermind behind it all was a PR agency. Surprise! Now you can find kale literally everywhere– not only in food, but also on clothing, accessories, stationary, food puns, social media handles. The craze is real, man.
I am a proud member of that craze, a diehard kale junkie. Regardless how mainstream it’s become or how many times I do it, though, there is always at least one person who bursts into peals of laughter when I say I massaged the kale. Despite that, they always come around and realize how much better kale salads taste when done right. We don’t do things halfway around here, except when it’s late and I’m tired and a bowl of oatmeal drowned in peanut butter is calling my name.
But I digress.
Another favorite of mine is the tried-and-true sweet potato. I roast one or two almost every week, then toss it into whatever bowl I’m making that day. It goes really well with eggplant actually, when you slice them into these thick wedges and serve it all with feta cheese. You can even make sweet potato desserts, like these Sweet Potato Pie Bites!
Even though there are heaps of yummy ways to eat the orange spud, the most common for me is in a salad. Chop one up, drizzle with olive oil, some spices and herbs, and you’ve got an easy new addition to your salad bowl.
When it came to making salad, I used to go heavy-handed on the toppings. We’re talking peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, hearts of palm, beets, chickpeas, cabbage, sunflower seeds. The list goes on and on, and while I was definitely eating the rainbow, it became too much. I realized that I was missing out on the joys of simplicity, not to mention the quicker prep time. Thus, we come to this Sweet Potato Kale Salad.
How’s that for a spot-on segue?
There are only 4 main ingredients (plus the dressing), which gets massaged into the kale for some double duty action. If you’re squeamish about getting your hands dirty, then I suggest you find a brave soul to do this step for you. The tahini complements the herbs on the sweet potato, avocado ties it all together with a creamy finish.
The most important thing to note about this salad, aside from the fact that it’s delicious and nutritious, is that it does not last very well. In order to get the full flavor effect, I strongly encourage you to leave the kale massaging fun until the day you’re going to eat it. Otherwise, the taste becomes muted with each passing day, something that I’m sure no one wants. But, since I know how important meal prep is in our busy lives, you can prep all the components in advance, and simply assemble your Sweet Potato Kale Salad the day of. Voila!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
- ¼ tsp black pepper, divided
- 8 cups kale
- 1 avocado, diced
- ⅓ cup scallions, sliced
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Chop the sweet potato into cubes, about ¼-inch thick. Toss with the oil, thyme, oregano, and half each of the salt and black pepper.
- Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure that there is no overlap between the cubes so that they roast better. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- In the meantime, mix the tahini, water, lemon juice, chili, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. You should be able to pour it, like a dressing.
- Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and massage with the tahini dressing in a large mixing bowl.
- After the sweet potatoes are cooled, toss with the scallions, avocado, and kale.
- Best if served immediately. If you'd like to prep this salad in advance, then do everything except massage the kale, and do that the day you'll be serving the salad.