Monday, November 26, 2012

Vegetable Monday



It happened sometime yesterday afternoon. I got sick of creamy foods (hi, Brussels sprouts gratin) and buttery pie and all the other heavy, heavy food from the glorious holiday sloth weekend. We still had leftovers, but I couldn’t really bear the thought of eating them for lunch this week.

Or ever, really, because heavy lunches make me want to sleep all afternoon. As someone who’s self employed, I could probably do that if I really wanted to, but the guilt would totally overwhelm me.

Weekday lunches around here are usually simple. When Sam and I eat together, I’ll make some variation of a kale salad, usually with a tahini-based dressing. When I run out of kale, I’ll make a chickpea salad, usually with more of the same dressing, or maybe with a little olive oil, lemon, and Parmesan. And on the days I eat alone, it’s usually a sweet potato. I wrap it in foil and stick it in the toaster when I sit down to work and take it out when I get hungry in the afternoon. Usually I top it with yogurt or hummus or miso and ginger, and I’m happy.

But I was sick of all that this week. In search of something a little different—but still easy enough that I could climb out of my office fifteen minutes before lunchtime and have something fresh on the table—I tried this. And it’s delicious! The maple-soy vinaigrette makes anything taste good, but the sweet-salty combination is especially good with sweet potatoes. Served warm, it’s a good salad to have when salad days are pretty much over for the year.

Warm Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpea Salad with Maple-Soy Vinaigrette
To make lunchtime quicker, I like to steam the sweet potatoes and kale ahead of time and store in the fridge, where they’ll last for several days.

For the salad
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt and pepper

1. Place the sweet potatoes in a steamer and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they pierce easily with a fork. About halfway through, add the kale so everything is finished at the same time. (You don’t need a Real Steamer to do this. A colander placed over top of a stockpot filled partially with boiling water works just as well.)
2. While the vegetables steam, make the dressing. In a jar, add the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake well and taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary.
3. Add the sweet potatoes and kale to a large bowl, along with the chickpeas. Pour on about half the dressing (save the rest for green salads, or for noodles, or a dipping sauce) and toss to coat. Taste again to adjust seasoning and top with the pecans. Serve warm.

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