This Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad is a perfect combination of warm and cozy fall flavors with a natural touch of sweetness. Made with dried cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and a delicious homemade dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free and vegan. This delicious salad is Whole30 compliant and paleo.
When the temperatures drop and the holidays are here, we could tend to eat a bit heavier (too many Christmas cookies and holiday pies?:). When that moment arrives and you’re needing a little detox, make this hearty and comforting salad.
Originally published November 2020 and republished November 2021. I just LOVE this salad so much and wanted to share this here today!
Topped with an easy tahini-lemon dressing, this roasted sweet potato and kale salad with pecans and cranberries is so lovely for the holidays. The salad is served warm or room temperature, this easy to make salad is bursting with fall flavors and colors and makes a perfect side dish (or a main…just add your favorite protein).
Sometimes a recipe comes together with just one item. I had found this gorgeous bag of rainbow kale at Walmart the other day. Organic Rainbow Kale is a combination of green, red and lacinato kale. I had some ideas on what I wanted to make with it.
My plan was to use some of the kale for a soup and some would be roasted with sweet potatoes. The original idea was to eat it as a veggie side. I have one child that isn’t into kale and doesn’t like sweet potatoes. So the roasted side became a roasted salad. A gorgeous Kale and Sweet Potato Salad.
To keep with my trying to detox as much as I can after the spring time’s staying at home (think: CARBS overload with so many Italians working at home). My body was not feeling the best after all those weeks of eating more pasta (and carbs!) than I ever ate in my life.
So if you’re feeling ready for something cozy for fall, that is also healthy and detoxing, make this comforting salad. Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes and kale, warm spices and a nice crunch from the pecans (and pumpkin seeds) and a sweet bite from the apples, make this fall salad satisfying.
The sweet and savory fall flavors are just a magical combination. I’m thinking this could be the ultimate side dish for Thanksgiving.
What is needed to make a Roasted Sweet Potato Salad and Kale Salad
Here is what you need to make this warm and delicious salad:
For the salad:
- kale (I used rainbow kale …a mixture of different kale)
- sweet potatoes
- olive oil (I used my extra-virgin Sicilian)
- salt and pepper
- apple (I used a Pink Pearl, but any apple you have on hand could work)
- dried cranberries (or raisins…even dried cherries could work great!)
- pecans (could sub in walnuts or even sliced almonds)
- pumpkin seeds (I used unsalted)
- ground cinnamon
- ground cumin
- ground sweet paprika (use spicy paprika if you want some heat!)
- sea salt
- ground pepper
For the dressing:
- tahini (you could use sesame butter if you can’t find tahini)
- extra-virgin olive oil (or whatever mild oil you like )
- fresh lemon juice (fresh is the only way to go here!)
- maple syrup (or honey), OMIT for a Whole30, but fine for Paleo
- sea salt (adjust to your taste)
What about salad dressing options for this kale and sweet potato salad?
There are plenty of dressing options to explore! Honestly, it’s whatever you enjoy and are feeling. I went with tahini-lemon dressing (I have two containers of tahini to use up!! ). Other ideas are a nice and fresh lemon-herb dressing, cashew dressing, sesame ginger, a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Really, whatever you enjoy will be wonderful.
I forgot to take a photo of my little dish with the maple syrup. But there is maple syrup in the dressing. You could also use honey (any sweetener would not be part of a Whole30). It all gets added to your blender or food processor (I LOVE my mini one).
Once you have your delicious homemade dressing ready, drizzle it on this fabulous salad. Did I mention that this makes the most amazing side dish for Thanksgiving? I couldn’t wait to get it ready to share it here with all of you!
PIN for later!
- Switch out the sweet potato for carrots, acorn squash, pumpkin, or butternut squash.
- If dairy is part of your diet, you could sprinkle on some feta cheese (or blue cheese).
- Toss in some rotisserie chicken, salmon, shrimp or steak.
- Toss in some dried blueberries.
- Add fresh herbs like cilantro, sage, or rosemary.
Some other delicious salad ideas to try:
This is my favorite fall salad! If you’re looking for a side dish for your Whole30, Paleo and vegan family for the holidays, this is what you need to make!
Originally published November 2020 and republished November 2021.
Roasted Kale and Sweet Potato Salad
- Food processor with the s-blade attachment, or mini-prep food processor
- FOR THE SALAD
- 4 cups chopped kale leaves I used a rainbow kale mix already cut
- 2-3 sweet potatoes about 2 lbs, peeled and diced into small chunks
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground sweet paprika
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds I used unsalted
- FOR THE DRESSING
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup omit for Whole30
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large apple peeled and cored, cut into small chunks
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice to prevent apple browning
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
- ROAST THE VEGGIES:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil paper.
- In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the kale. Drain and dry (you could spin dry them if you have a salad spinner) as much water of as you can with a towel, and line the kale on a foil lined baking sheet (total bake time for the kale is about 15 minutes)
- Spread the sweet potato chunks on the second baking sheet. Drizzle on some olive oil (I used my Sicilian extra-virgin)and sprinkle with cinnamon, cumin, sweet paprika, salt and pepper. Using clean hands (or a spoon), toss it all together to coat.
- Bake for 10 minutes, take both trays out and give the veggies a stir, and then bake the kale for about 5 more minutes. The sweet potatoes should take about another 15 minutes at this point (depending on how small you cut the chunks).
- After 15 minutes total, the kale should be a little dried out (not brown and crisp). They should be tender and light brown around edges (you don’t want them dark brown and crispy). remove tray with the roasted kale; set aside (check the kale at 10 minutes...it could be dried and ready...every oven is different).
- During last few minutes of roasting potatoes, spread the pecans and pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet and roast 3 to 4 minutes, until golden-brown.
- The sweet potatoes should take 20-25 minutes total to be ready (depends on your oven and how big you cut the pieces, I cut mine into small chunks).
- Remove tray with roasted sweet potato, pecans, and pumpkin seeds from the oven.
- While the veggies are roasting, prep the apple and the dressing.
- Start with the apple. Peel and core the apple. Cut into small chunks and put in a small bowl. Squeeze some lemon juice (about juice of 1/2 lemon) on the apples (prevents browning); set aside. Go on to prep the dressing.
- PREP THE DRESSING:
- Add all the dressing ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor (or mini-prep food processor) and blend for 20-30 seconds, or until smooth. If dressing is too thick, you can thin it out with a little more lemon juice or a few drops of olive oil. Check the flavor and adjust with more lemon juice or another drop of olive oil, salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
- Alternatively, you can whisk ingredients together in a bowl or shake until incorporated in a mason jar.
- SERVE THE SALAD:
- In a large bowl, add the roasted kale and sweet potatoes with the pecans and pumpkin seeds. Add in the apples (lemon juice drained).
- Add in the dried cranberries (or raisins).
- Drizzle on the tahini dressing. You could toss it together with the dressing or leave it as a drizzle. Check the salt and pepper, and add more, to taste, if needed.
- Serve warm (or room temperature). If not eating right away, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
- The kale : will roast up faster than the sweet potatoes, so set your timer for both trays.
- The sweet potatoes: I cut mine into smaller chunks, so they were ready in about 22 minutes. Every oven is different. You want them to be tender and still whole, not mushed because they baked too long.
- Another option for the kale is to prep them (remove tough inside stems if it has any). Chop kale into small pieces. Wash, spin dry.
- If you’re using curly kale, you could massage the leaves with olive oil (it does make them more tender).