Wilted. Winter. Waaa waaaaaaaa.
But, this is not a sad salad. I promise. This salad is the San Francisco version of winter, with bursts of bright pomegranate seeds and creamy sweet potato. It’s colorful, flavorful and exceedingly healthy. So healthy that I thought about putting “detox” in the title, but then I’d have to kick myself. Isn’t “detox” the new word for “diet”? Kind of like what Lady Gaga is to Madonna. What Zumba is to aerobics. What the cronut is to the bear claw. Same trendy concept, different era.
I tossed this together with the vegetables I had on hand. Nothing fancy. Kale, sweet potato, onion and pomegranate. While I was preparing the veggies, I decided to boil some lentils to toss into the mix for heft. This is exactly the kind of spontaneous culinary curveball that occurs when I cook after a long day at the office – the wine I’m sipping goes straight to my head and I decide legumes, for example, are a good idea. Then I tinker with the salad dressing, adding copious dashes of hot chile flakes and an extra squeeze of mustard. I get crafty in the kitchen. The results are varied, typically edging towards the excessively spicy and salty side of the dial. This time, though, I think I got it right.
What follows is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion. I will say, this salad is robust and versatile. Not unlike Lady Gaga, it seems.
Wilted Winter Salad
Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a starter
For the salad:
- 2 sweet potatoes, sliced in thin cirles
- 1/2 large onion, sliced in half moons
- drizzle of olive oil
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup brown or green lentils
- 1 bunch curly leaf kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
For the dressing:
- stone ground mustard
- apple cider vinegar
- red chile flakes
- Bragg’s liquid aminos
- olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potato and onion slices onto a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 minutes.
- While the veggies are roasting, bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the lentils. Allow the pot to come back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer with the lid ajar for about 20 minutes, until al dente. Drain in a colander.
- When the sweet potato and onion are tender and the edges are slightly brown, spread the kale over the the top of the baking sheet and roast together for a few minutes until the kale wilts.
- Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and combine in a large bowl, tossing gently with dressing. Then add the drained lentils and pomegranate seeds. Toss again until combined.
- Increase the hearty factor by adding toasted almonds or walnuts, or serve with warm, crusty bread.