Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (with Raisins & Almonds)

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I have tried adding kale to salads in the past, and I have to say, I was not a fan.  I felt like I was eating food for rabbits... it's bitter, and it's stringy, and the stalks are hard, and it was not enjoyable!  But then I started seeing recipes that instruct you to "massage" the kale.  Lo and behold, THIS IS THE SECRET.  

You want me to what?  Massage my salad?  Yeahhhhh... just go with it.

See, kale is kind of a high maintenance green. You have to get in there with your hands and massage it all together with the dressing, oil, salt, lemon juice... whatever you are using!  After a few minutes, it loosens up a bit, turns a different color, shrinks up some, and it becomes MUCH more delicious.

My friend Leslie gave me a bag of kale recently. Her daughter bought it for smoothies, but she didn't like it!  So I decided it was time for me to come up with a kale salad recipe!  I took stock of what I had on hand, started throwing stuff together, and this is what I ended up with!  I have to say, it turned into an AWESOME recipe.

And since kale and sweet potatoes are super foods, full of vitamins and tons of good-for-you-stuff, they make the perfect pair in this salad along with raisins, almonds, and homemade dressing!


Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

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Servings:  3-4

Ingredients:
8 oz chopped kale (large stem pieces removed)
1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1/2" - 3/4" cubes
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Olive oil
salt & pepper

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange sweet potato cubes on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil (and sprayed with olive oil).  Spray sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss together to season all pieces.  Bake for 6 minutes, turn over the sweet potatoes with a spatula, and bake for another 5-6 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are fork tender).

While sweet potatoes are baking, empty chopped kale into a large bowl.  I used half of a 16 oz bag that was pre-chopped.  Pick through the pieces and tear off any thick stems.

In a separate small bowl, combine olive oil, mustard, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together with a fork until oil is fully incorporated.  Drizzle the dressing over the kale, and massage it for 3-5 minutes.

TIP:  By massage, I basically just mean rub it together, scrunch it in your hands, introduce it to the dressing and let them get happy together.  I wore gloves so I didn't get dressing all over my hands!

Once the kale has been massaged and the sweet potatoes are roasted, add the sweet potatoes to the bowl.

TIP:  It's fine to add the sweet potatoes while they are still hot from the oven.  It will help the kale to wilt a little more and the flavors will all come together.

Add in the almonds and raisins, and toss everything together!  You can enjoy this salad right after you mix it up (while sweet potatoes are warm), OR -- after it has chilled for a few hours.  I liked it better cold :)