Hellooooo autumn! With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve been loving all sorts of autumnal ingredients lately. I like to cook with seasonal ingredients when I can, and autumn is the perfect time of year if you like hearty, feel good ingredients.
Liiiike, sweet potatoes! Roast ’em up and toss them with some garlicky kale, wild rice and pine nuts, and you’ve got yourself a salad!
(as usual, ‘salad’ is just my way of saying ‘loads of random stuff piled up together’, because after all this time I still don’t know what the definition of a salad is)
As well as being full of nutrients, this kale salad might just be the prettiest thing I’ve made all month. The bright orange sweet potatoes are only made oranger (…orangeyer?) by the smokey paprika they’re roasted in, and they go beautifully with the deep greens of the kale.
Speaking of kale, my love for this vegetable only grows more every time I eat it. At first I wasn’t entirely convinced, but I’ve had it a few times now (in fact last weekend I had some served on a roast dinner at a pub! A bit unusual but it kind of worked!), and each time I’ve enjoyed it more and more. Now, I can genuinely say that I really really like it – it’s got an almost citrusy flavour that goes really well with the smoky sweet potatoes in this kale salad. Plus it’s nice to find a leafy green that can stand up to being sautéed without withering away to nothing (I’m looking at you, spinach). Just make sure you cut out the thick stems first, because they can be a bit tough.
I used a mixture of white rice and wild rice in this salad, but use whichever you prefer. I must also admit that I’m a total cheat, and I often use those sachets of rice that you just pop in the microwave. The ingredients are all-natural (literally just rice, a little oil to stop it all sticking together, and a pinch of salt), and they’re so much more convenient than having to boil the kettle, dirty a pan, and keep checking back for 20 minutes to see whether it’s done. With the sachets, you just stick them in the microwave for 2 minutes – and there’s no washing up. Of course though, feel free to make your rice from scratch if you prefer!
Wild rice and kale salad with smoky sweet potatoes
- 1 small sweet potato ~300g
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- 100 g kale 1 large bunch - I used black kale, but curly kale will work too
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 125 g cooked white / wild rice
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- Peel the sweet potato, and cut it into 1cm dice. Toss in 1tbsp of oil, the smoked paprika, and a little salt and pepper. Spread out into a single layer on a baking tray, and roast for around 35 minutes at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F), until soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges.
- Meanwhile, remove the tough stems from the kale, and cut the leaves into strips. Heat the remaining 1tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, and add the kale and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, then add the cooked rice and pine nuts. Cook for a few more minutes so that they can absorb the garlicky flavours and become slightly toasted.
- When the sweet potatoes are ready, add them to the rice and kale, and mix well. Serve warm.