Kale Harvest Salad

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Kale seems to be more divisive than politics (maybe not that divisive but pretty close); regardless, I absolutely love it. The crunch, the color, the look, I absolutely love everything about the different varieties of kale and about how versatile it is. One of its most basic uses is in salads where it adds a wonderfully complex flavor and texture. I was actually inspired to make this particular salad after I ate a similar one at Starbucks about five years ago. I fell in love with the way the kale played with the brown rice and served as a perfect bed for the bright pieces of butternut squash, beets, and edamame. I also love the garlicy lemon tahini dressing that enhances the whole salad and gives it that little Middle Eastern flavor that I always crave with a little Asian twist. This is a beautiful dish that can be eaten by itself as a great vegan dish or can be served alongside a protein such as a nice oven-roasted chicken breast or a juicy pork tenderloin. This recipe makes a lot of salad that will serve a lot of hungry people so it can also be great for any party or potluck!

INGREDIENTS

-SALAD

  • 3 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup uncooked)

  • 8 cups (1 bunch; about 7 ounces) kale, chopped

  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced beets

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) cubed butternut squash, steamed or roasted

  • 2 1/4 cups (12 oz.) edamame beans, steamed

-LEMON TAHINI DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup) 

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

METHODS

  1. Make the Lemon Tahini Dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours for the flavors to settle. 
  2. To make the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure that all of your ingredients are cooled, so as to not wilt the kale. Pour dressing over and toss to combine. 
  3. Enjoy! 
MAKE IT AHEAD: You can make this about 3 days before you want to serve it. First, make the dressing and refrigerate in a small container. Then, place all of the salad ingredients, except for the beets, in a large bowl and refrigerate. When it’s time to serve, combine the dressing and all the salad ingredients together and enjoy!