With the few dumps of snow we’ve gotten over the past week, I’ve finally begun to begrudgingly except the fact that it’s winter (le sigh). Which for me means going to and from work in the dark (I’m pretty sure this if officially the worst part), digging out the scarfs and mittens, investing in a new pair of winter boots and an onslaught of crappy produce. Also, Apollo has decided it’s time to cuddle with us on the couch and in bed again, which is a telltale sign it’s really freakin’ cold out. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s excepted winter as a few people in our neighborhood already have their Christmas lights up and on…what the what? I had to do a double take and remind myself what date it was. I mean, I love Xmas and all but come on dude, can we at least make it to December first!I had enough trouble getting over the fact that summer fruit was no longer in season, but winter brings on a whole new dilemma, one with which usually results in me stuffing my face with ridiculously delicious carbs for months on end. That’s all well and good but sometimes I just crave a salad, and it doesn’t hurt to have a few wintery salad ideas tucked away for a quick meal and to help keep myself from feeling craptastic for the next few months. There’s nothing worst then getting a serious case of SAD before January even hits, and eating foods that are filled with all those vitamins, minerals and junk help with that, so I’m going to try and get a head start. If you’re looking for some other ways to prevent winter blahs, Kylie over at Fellowship of the Vegetable did a cute post with some tips. By the way, I totally second tip #4, animal snuggles = happy times.I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on making the same recipe over and over, there’s just not enough time in my lifespan to try all the different recipes out there, and I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna give it a shot! But it seems that every so often, I recipe comes along that I just can’t get enough of and I’ll make it so many times that I loose count. This it totally one of those recipes.It might not be anything fancy but when you combine sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kale and tahini magical tasty things happen. There’s no disputing the fact that these things are just made to be together. The recipe was inspired by the one posted by Orangette which seems to have made its way all over the internet. I used sweet potato instead of butternut squash since I lurve me some sweet potato. If I was trapped on a dessert island and had to pick one, butternut squash would be floating all by its lonesome in the middle of the ocean right about now. It’s good, but it’s not sweet potato good.This is one meal I eat alone since Philip refuses to eat anything with that “vile weed” in it, but if you’re a kale lover like me, you’ll be all over it. Freshly roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, warmed kale in a creamy tahini sauce. So many noms. Ok, I’m ready for you winter, bring it!
ROASTED SWEET POTATO, CHICKPEA & KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI SAUCE
Tender chunks of warm sweet potatoes and roasted chickpeas are mixed with fresh kale and topped in a creamy tahini sauce. Makes for a hearty and healthy dinner or lunch.
- 15-ounce can (about 1 ½ cups) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 lbs (about 3-4 medium) sweet potatoes cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups kale, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
- 3-5 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
FOR THE SALAD
FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them slightly. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, chickpeas, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss until the sweet potato and chickpeas are evenly coated. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, mixing from time to time until the sweet potato has softened. Remove from the oven and place in the mixing bowl over the kale.
- While the sweet potato is baking, combine the kale, onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Make the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and optional olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon.
- Once the sweet potatoes and chickpeas have been added to the bowl, let sit for a moment and then toss gently to combine. The heat from the sweet potatoes should wilt the kale slightly. Add tahini sauce to taste, and toss carefully. Alternatively, you can also serve the salad undressed, with the tahini sauce on the side.