Kale & Roasted Sweet Potatoes: A Winter Salad Lookbook

Friday, November 27, 2020

What's this? A salad that doesn't suck or require all sorts of ingredients irrelevant to my traditional Asian kitchen? Huzzah.

My cooking philosophy is 25% "make it healthy" and 75% "make it cute" so I'm a big fan of dazzling ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes (look at the PURPLE), fresh persimmons (for an autumnal palette), and THOSE GORGEOUS CURVES on fresh kale (cannot confirm on its nutritional profile vs. its leafy cousins, but kale is definitely prettier). 

Crispy wonton strips and/or mandarin oranges as the hallmark ingredients of "Asian-inspired salads" is an absurdity because (1) we don't really eat those? (2) the real Asian inspiration should be Japanese sweet potatoes! We're obsessed with getting them in every color possible at the farmer's market, and we always pick the tiniest ones so they roast quickly in an air fryer (another tip!) and can be cute little snacks. Thickly sliced, they're *so* good on salads. 

So anyways, because everyone hates long-winded storytelling on recipes, here's the blueprint of a really amazing winter salad:

- Leafy greens, preferably kale for the texture & the color

(Optional) PROTEINS:
- Grilled branzino (pictured below)
- Firm tofu coated with nutritional yeast & air fried or baked
- Shredded leftover roast chicken (also pictured below) 

- SWEET! POTATOES! IN! EVERY! COLOR! Roasted in an air fryer or oven
- Fuyu Persimmons (I only like the crunchy ones) 
- Alternatively, diced apples are great

- A fat globe of avocado, sliced and diced however you like
- A serving of cranberry chevre cheese (okay, listen - I am not an adventurous type of cheese girl and even I think this is super yummy) 
- Literally any dressing. I feel like a ~homemade tahini~ sounds very pretentious (and therefore perfect) but I just use this yogurt-based one because it's literally always on sale at Sprouts and that's all the convincing I need

Variation 01: with leftover roast chicken, which at one point had rosemary stuck up its bum. What I'm saying is, my mom worked really hard on the chicken and we did not get a readymade one from Costco. Also peep the carrots that went into the oven with the chicken. Peep how they *glisten*. 

Variation 02: With grilled branzino, which is a really great source of lean protein (21g per serving, to be exact), but more importantly - lends a gORGEOUS bit of metallic flash to your plate. Like wearing jewelry, but for your salad. 

Variation 03: With leftover blueberries. And a conspicuous lack of protein, remedied by a ton of nutritional yeast (not pictured because it's not photogenic). 


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