This Kale & Sweet Potato Salad is the perfect clean eating meal for anytime you’ve been eating too much heavy holiday food or fall and winter fare. And don’t worry – it’s delicious any time of year!
It’s easy to make and feels great in your stomach! Try it with our Creamy Maple Curry Salad Dressing for the perfect hearty but healthy meal.
You know how after a prolonged period of stuffing yourself with heavy, rich, fatty things you just want something light and healthy to eat?
Maybe you had Thanksgiving last week. We didn’t, but we did have a weekend away with family. It was super fun, and we ate a ton of pizza, garlic fingers, burgers, fries, cupcakes, pastries, onion rings and donairs.
All delicious, of course. But on the drive home, the food hangover set in. We felt terrible. Laurier and I looked at each other and decided – healthy fall salads all week.
So we ate salads all week!
Aside from one night when we had homemade Bahn Mi, we had THIS fall harvest salad twice, a Vietnamese salad once and a “cheeseburger” type salad once, with homemade thousand island salad dressing.
They were all delicious. By the end of the week we felt much better.
That’s the thing about dinner salads. Outside of maybe summer, you can’t just plunk some iceberg lettuce and tomatoes on a plate and expect it to be filling and satisfying.
Personally, it takes a lot to fill me up, and I need big, hearty salads, especially in the fall and winter.
This salad is big and hearty, even though it’s vegetarian (and actually VEGAN*! and gluten free). I find kale much more filling than lettuce, and sweet potatoes and nuts provide some bulk. There’s a little crunch from the celery and peppers.
Lots of superfoods in this salad, if that’s your kind of thing. Either way, it’s delicious and pretty much the ultimate in hearty, healthy salads.
We are (amazingly) still eating kale from the garden, but the second time I made this (and took pictures) I bought a bunch of kale from the grocery store. It was pretty inexpensive – around $3 and there was lots for the salad.
(* To make the salad dressing vegan you’ll have to use vegan mayo and yogurt)
A word about kale salads
One note – the grocery store only had curly kale and it’s tougher than the regular kale we grow. With the kale we grow I just cut it into tiny squares and it’s easy to eat.
The curly kale would definitely benefit from a quick little massage with a bit of olive oil (I know, I know…. it annoys me too… but it’s just the way it is… and it really only takes a minute or two).
Sweet potatoes are often on sale in the fall (great time to stock your pantry!), and I buy walnuts in bulk at Costco and pumpkin seeds at Walmart.
Otherwise a few fresh veggies (which I always try to get on sale too – especially peppers) and you have your salad!
Curry and maple syrup together – a delicious fall salad dressing
One other thing – if you like curry (and maybe even if you don’t think you do), you should definitely try this salad with our Creamy Maple Curry Salad Dressing. I made them up to go together.
First of all, sweet potatoes and curry LOVE each other (ever had sweet potato fries with curry mayo?). Second of all, maple and curry are a warm, delicious, lovely combination.
One of our favorite pasta recipes is a maple curry chicken pasta that is ah-mazing. Good enough to convert some serious skeptics (I’ve done it!). It inspired the dressing for this salad.
Plus, I think that the cozy, warming qualities of both curry and maple make the dressing a perfect match for a healthy fall salad.
Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad- Step-by-Step Instructions
Ingredients for Healthy Fall Salad with Kale and Sweet Potatoes. Click here for our Creamy Maple Curry Salad Dressing recipe.
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Chop 2 sweet potatoes (I just used one enormous one) into small cubes. Spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, pepper and kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, take them out and toss them around, and bake 5 more minutes. Take them out and let them sit.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, strip the kale off the tough center stems.
Tip: The easiest way to do this is to hold the base of the kale leaf in one hand, and then use your other hand to fairly tightly run down the stalk, stripping the leaves off (see above).
When the stems are crunchy I’ll chop them up and add them to whatever salad I’m making, but these ones were tough.
Chop the kale into small pieces – the smaller the better. Think dime-size. Rinse and dry it.
Tip: If you’re using regular kale you can probably just use it like this, but I find curly kale is tougher and it’ll be much easier to eat if you massage it for a minute – just pour in a drizzle of olive oil and rub the kale between your hands.
Chop a few tablespoons of red onion into small dice and set it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes.
Tip: Soaking the onion will take some of the bite out of the onion, which is helpful when eating it raw!
Chop one bell pepper (I’ve used both yellow and red – orange would be great too), and two stalks of celery into bite sized pieces.
Drain red onion and, if you want, pat it dry with a paper towel.
Toss ingredients together, along with a cup or so of chopped walnuts and 1/2 a cup of pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
Serve with our Creamy Maple Curry Salad Dressing and enjoy! 🙂
FAQ About this Fall Harvest Salad
Can I add meat to this salad to make it more filling?
Sure you can! I think crumbled bacon would be delicious, or sautéed chicken. I will say, it takes quite a bit to fill me up and I find it pretty filling even as it is!
Can I add grains to this salad?
Sure! I think that cooked quinoa, farro or even rice would be tasty if you enjoy any of those.
What other ingredients would go well in this salad?
I think cooked or canned lentils would be yummy (and add more protein while staying vegetarian/vegan), diced apple or pear would add nice crunch, pomegranate arils or dried cranberries would add a fruity note, avocado or goat cheese would add a pleasant creaminess, and if you want to mix it up visually you could use purple sweet potato/yams.
Healthy Fall Salad with Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Maple Curry Dressing
- 2-3 sweet potatoes I used an enormous one
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large head kale
- 1 very small red onion
- 1 bell pepper red, orange or yellow
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or more, to taste
- Creamy Maple Curry Dressing*
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into small chunks, put them on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and kosher salt. Bake for 10 minutes, take them out and toss, and then bake for 5 more minutes. They should be tender Set aside.
- While sweet potatoes are baking, strip kale off tough inside stems (if they're crunchy you can chop them and add them to the salad - mine were tough). Chop kale into very small pieces. Wash and spin dry.
- If your kale is curly kale or seems tough, put it in a large bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil and massage it for a minute or two to break down the toughness. Note 1
- Chop a few tablespoons of red onion, put it in a small bowl and fill with cold water. Give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, which takes a lot of the bite out of the onion, which is great for eating raw. Drain it and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- While onion is soaking, chop celery and bell pepper into small pieces.
- Toss salad together, along with pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts.
- Serve with our Creamy Maple Curry Dressing* and enjoy! 🙂