This salad has them all together in one bowl! Yes! It has everything you need – greens, beans, and vegetables. I love it. You can eat a big portion as a meal or just have a smaller salad-sized portion as a side.
I saw a picture of a kale and lentil salad somewhere recently and didn’t think to bookmark so I could go back to check out the recipe (grrr!), but the image stuck with me. So, all week long I’ve been trying to come up with my own version of what I imagine I saw in that picture. The sticking point was the dressing. I had two options and hemmed and hawed with them for a couple of days. Do I go subtle with cumin to accent the sweet potatoes or do I go for a flavor punch with a dijon vinaigrette? In the end I decided to go with a very subtle non-dressing of just some cumin, cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. I did this to allow the flavor of the vegetables to shine through and because I paired it with a roasted pork loin that had a lot of flavor. If I have a main dish that is very flavorful, sometimes I like a more subtle side.
Anyway, if you want something that has a real flavor punch, simply whip up a basic dijon vinaigrette, like this one, and drizzle it over top. It will be awesome, I’m sure.
One more note, while this salad is good warm just after it is prepared, it’s not so good reheated. The flavors just kind of melted together and lost their individuality, which wasn’t fun. Leftovers of this salad should definitely be served cold.
Wilted Kale and Lentil Salad
Wilted Kale and Lentil Salad
- 1 medium sweet potato ( $0.91)
- 1 medium red onion ($1.49)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided ($0.64)
- salt & pepper to taste ($0.05)
- 1 cup brown lentils ($0.31)
- 1 bunch curly leaf kale ($1.19)
- 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
- 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
- 1/2-1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.06)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potato and then cut it into one-inch cubes. Cut the red onion into thick strips.
- Place the sweet potato cubes and red onion slices onto a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over top and then toss the vegetables to coat. Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper over top. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes, or until they are tender and the edges are slightly brown.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium sauce pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Measure out one cup of brown lentils and then sort through them to remove any stones or debris. Once the water reaches a full boil, add the lentils. Allow the pot to come back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and let it continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Use a fork to retrieve a couple lentils and then taste them to make sure they are tender. Once they are tender, drain the lentils in a colander. You can return the lentils to the pot, with the heat turned off, until ready to use.
- Pull the kale leaves from their woody stems and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the kale well in a colander.
- Mince a clove of garlic and add it to a large pot along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the garlic over medium-low heat for about two minutes, or until it is slightly softened. Add the rinsed kale leaves and saute just until the kale is about half way wilted (or wilted to your liking).
- Once the kale is wilted to the point that you like, turn the heat off. Add the drained lentils and the roasted sweet potato and red onion. Toss until everything is combined.
- Either add a dijon vinaigrette or add the cumin, cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper to taste. Start with just a half tablespoon of cider vinegar and add more if desired. Toss the salad to distribute the dressing or seasonings, and then serve.
Step by Step Photos
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potato and then cut it into one-inch chunks. Slice the red onion into fairly thick strips. Place both on a baking sheet covered with foil, drizzle with olive oil, and then toss to coat. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over top. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until they’re tender and a little brown on the edges.
While the sweet potato and onion are roasting, prepare the lentils. Brown lentils cook in about 20 minutes, whereas green or French lentils take closer to 45, so make sure to cook accordingly. Measure out one cup and then sort through them to make sure there are no pebbles or debris. An easy way to do this is to spread them out on a baking sheet and give them a quick look over.
Bring a medium pot of water up to a full, rolling boil. When it reaches a boil, add the sorted lentils. Let the pot come back up to a full boil, then turn the heat down a little and let it continue to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, test the lentils to make sure they’re tender. You want them to be tender, but not so mushy that they’re falling apart. Drain the lentils in a colander.
While the lentils are cooking (and the vegetables are still roasting), tear the kale leaves off of their woody stems and into bite-sized pieces. Make sure to give them a really good rinse to get rid of sand and bugs.
Mince a clove of garlic and add it to a large pot (large enough to hold all of the raw kale), along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the garlic over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes, or just until it is softened (but not brown).
Okay, this is where you’ll want to do as I say and not as I did. Add the rinsed kale to the pot and let it cook until wilted FIRST, then add the lentils. Adding them at the same time, as I did, only makes the lentils break down a bit from all of the stirring. I thought the heat from the lentils would help wilt the kale, but nah, it didn’t really do much. The heat should still be medium-low as you wilt the kale, but you can turn it off as soon as you get the kale to the point that you like it. You don’t want to OVER cook the kale.
The sweet potatoes and red onion should be about done now. See? Tender and just slightly browned around the edges. The reason you want to cut the red onion kind of thick is so that they don’t burn before the sweet potato has a chance to cook.
Add the roasted sweet potatoes and red onion to the pot and toss to combine.
Now, if you want a really subtle salad, you can just add some cumin, cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, as I did. OR, if you want a super flavor burst salad, add some dijon vinaigrette and toss to coat.
It was an absolutely PERFECT side salad to my roasted pork loin!! Add some white wine in that glass and I’m in heaven.