Real live kitchen appliances, more sparkly snowflakes, an annual friend group viewing of Christmas with the Kranks, roasted sweet potato salads with candied walnuts and creamy almond butter dressing, and everything else good in the world – I swear – it all just found me between Friday evening and Monday morning.
This salad is a tossed texture-pile of sweet and salty bright orange sweet potatoes, crunchy and strong and vibrant kale, irresistibly crispity candied walnuts, and the creamiest and most savory-wonderful almond butter dressing. And I love love looove it.
Please know this –> I have a thing about kale salads which is that I don’t eat them unless the kale pieces are chopped extremely small. Like, shredded, almost. Or minced. Almost like they’re undetectable to my mouth while singing happy green songs to my eyes. As a result, this choppy-textured salad falls somewhere between the creamy-soft potato salad and the crunchy-light leafy salad and I’m veryveryvery okay with it.
It’s roasty and tender, crispy and green, salty-sweet, and comforting. But wait though, it’s a salad. WHAT IS GOING ON.
Maybe you should look at our new countertops for a second while I collect myself.
Kitchen Update (1 MIN 45 SEC):
Yeah, countertops! And if you follow on Facebook you might have already seen that we have our appliances in place too (squeee!) and we’ll have a video of that soon. And then the backsplash, and then the appliance panels, and then me cooking delicious things in the kitchen.
Can I just say one comment in regards to having a kitchen?
H-A-P-P-Y. That is all.
I actually made this salad during one of my many trips back to my parents’ house when the kitchen was being remodeled, so I’ll just give you a second to give my parents a virtual high five through the screen. BOOM. Nailed it.
As much as I usually like to be really fresh and real-time on the blog, obviously this one isn’t real time, as in I didn’t make this in my kitchen yet. And thanks for asking, but NO I didn’t take care of the 900 inches of remodeling dust on all our furniture either or organize my eighty zillion boxes of miscellaneous kitchen gadgets hiding in every corner of the basement — one thing at a time, okay? Somehow it all feels like so much work.
When do I get to snap my fingers and have everything clean and orderly with Bjork feeding me melty sea-salty chocolate chip cookies as I stir the chili over the new range? Yeah that.
This would be a great Thanksgiving salad because it has that salad-but-not-a-salad feel that errryone always loves. It also makes for a great take-to-work lunch because it’s not a super leafy salad meaning it doesn’t really matter if it sits with the dressing for a day or two. In fact, in my experience, more days in the fridge almost always equals more and better flavor. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
Just one second ago as I was writing that I had a day dream where I ate candied walnuts for a few weeks till real Thanksgiving.
1 tablespoon butter (replace with coconut oil if vegan)
3 tablespoons white sugar
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
½ tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Sweet Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and gravy herbs. Spread on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes – check the potatoes for doneness, gently stir, and return to oven. Repeat this process every five minutes for about 15 more minutes (total roasting time should be anywhere from 30-45 minutes). Turn up the heat to 475 and roast for a final 5-10 minutes to really brown them nice and pretty. When they’re done, they should be visibly browned and relatively “dry” to the touch so that once you loosen them you can shake the pan and they slide back and forth easily.
Kale: Cut the kale into very small bite-sized pieces, or shred it into tiny bits (like pictured). Set aside.
Walnuts: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the walnuts and sugar. Stir continuously over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. When the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has coated the walnuts, transfer to foil or wax paper to separate and cool.
Dressing: Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Taste and adjust.
Assembly: Toss all the ingredients together just before serving OR arrange the nuts, sweet potatoes, and any other toppings you want over the top of the kale in pretty colorful rows. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy.