Calgary·FOOD AND THE CITY

A kale salad to use up every leftover winter veggie in your fridge

This warm, hearty dish can be adapted with cooked grains, like farro or quinoa, and travels and stores well for a filling packed lunch.

If you're not a fan of sesame, any vinaigrette could be substituted in place of this dressing

The great thing about adding roasted veggies to a salad is just about anything goes, says Julie Van Rosendaal. Try adding cubed rutabaga or kholrabi, chunked carrots or halved Brussels sprouts. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

​Winter salads can be even more inspiring than spring and summer ones.

The hardy, late-season veggies make for sturdy salads that travel and store well, and seem more substantial than a simple spring greens mix. 

Kale is perhaps the best known of the winter greens; curly and Lacinato — otherwise known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale — are the most commonly found at grocery stores, or you may come across some red Russian kale with purply stems.

It lasts longer than more fragile greens in the fridge, and when it starts to wilt, you can trim the ends and stand the bunch in a glass of water to bring it back to life.

Winter salads can be even more inspiring than spring and summer, with hardy, late-season veggies making for sturdy salads that travel and store well, and seem more substantial than a simple spring greens mix, Van Rosendaal says. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Kale is a member of the brassica family, along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi, which looks a little like sputnik — a rubbery pale green ball with leaves coming out of it (sometimes) and an exterior similar to a broccoli stem.

Peel it, and it's similar on the inside too — pale green and crunchy, you can eat it raw or cooked. In fact, all these cool season crops — rutabaga, beets and other root vegetables, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and winter squash, and other veggies people most often associate with soups, stews and other hearty cold-weather meals — can be roasted all together on a baking sheet.

I cut mine into similar-sized chunks, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I then roll them around to coat them before roasting them at about 425 F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they're soft and golden on the edges. Then I add them to winter greens — warm or cold — for an interesting salad. 

From here, you can add lots of things to it. Again, this seems easier to do with winter greens, which don't get lost in the jumble.

Try cold cooked grains like farro, quinoa, barley or wheat berries; pulses, like lentils, chickpeas and beans of all sorts; salty, creamy or briny cheeses, like Parmesan, goat cheese or feta; and some salty pumpkin seeds or chopped toasted nuts for crunch.

Dress it with any vinaigrette you like, or try an easy tahini sauce that can be stirred or whizzed together and hang out in the fridge until you're ready for it. All you need is the juice of a lemon, a big spoonful of tahini, a bit of olive oil, plain yogurt (or a handful of raw cashews, if you're doing it in the blender), garlic, a big pinch of salt and a splash of water to get things moving.

Ingredients

The great thing about adding roasted veggies to a salad is just about anything goes. Try this mix for starters.

  • 1 small thick-necked butternut squash or 1 medium sweet potato
  • half a small head cauliflower
  • canola or olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • half a bunch of kale, torn (discard the ribs)
  • chopped almonds and/or walnuts, toasted
  • crumbled feta (optional)

Dressing:

  • 3 to 4 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt or water
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 425 F while you peel and cut the squash or sweet potato into cubes. Mine are usually around ¾-inch.

Cut the cauliflower into similar-sized florets (a bit bigger, maybe) and spread both out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle generously with oil and toss around with your hands to coat.

Sprinkle veggies with salt and pepper and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the veggies are soft and golden on the edges.

Meanwhile, stir the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup, shake them in a jar or blend in a small food processor or blender.

Tear the kale into a shallow bowl. Drizzle with a bit of oil and toss to coat.Then top with the warm roasted veggies, some crumbled feta and chopped toasted almonds or walnuts. Drizzle with the tahini dressing. Serves two to four.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener