Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Winter Veggies and Garlic Croutons

IMG_0975

There’s nothing wrong with a big plate full of a rainbow of winter veggies and bright flavors. This makes a veggie rich meal that will have your dinner table singing with color at a time of year when we’re used to more drab fare. This recipe is a little more involved than what we usually post, but it’s not difficult by any means. Olivia tipped us to the original recipe from My New Roots, where it was called Winter Rainbow Panzanella.

OK, there’s a lot going on here, so I’ll quickly summarize. There are five parts to this recipe: the massaged kale, the roasted veggies, the pickled carrots, the croutons and the dressing. That sounds like a lot, but the carrots, dressing and croutons can be made ahead, the kale is super easy and the roasted veggies just need lots of chopping. (We have rearranged the original recipe to make it easier to follow and to suit our tastes and kitchen supplies a little better.)

First, all of the ingredients

Massaged Kale

4 cups kale (or any hearty winter green)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt

Roasted Rainbow Veggies

4-5 pounds of winter vegetables suitable for roasting.
olive oil
salt

If possible, choose a variety of different colors. We used:
sweet potato, chioggia beets, celeriac, purple potatoes, yellow and purple carrots, baby red cabbages, leeks. Other suggestions include: kohlrabi, parsnip, Brussels sprouts, winter squash

Overnight Ginger-Pickled Carrots

½ lb carrots
½ cup white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 cup water (or more if needed)
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh ginger

Grainy Mustard Dressing

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
generous pinch of sea salt

Garlic Croutons

2 cups stale bread (use stale, not dry, bread; dark sourdough recommended, but anything will do)
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
a couple pinches salt

Directions

Overnight Ginger-Pickled Carrots

1. Peel and thinly slice the ginger.
2. In a 1-quart mason jar (or other suitable container), combine the vinegar, water, maple syrup, salt and ginger, and shake or stir to dissolve the salt.
3. Scrub carrots well. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the carrots lengthwise into long, thing ribbons. Place into the mason jar.
4. Top up the jar with more water as needed to completely cover the carrots. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Grainy Mustard Dressing

1. In a small bowl or jar, whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste. (Refrigerate if not using immediately.)

Roasted Rainbow Veggies

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Scrub veggies, peel and trim if needed, and chop into similar sized pieces (we did lots of rounds and half-moons, but strips or chunks would work just as well). If using baby cabbages, trim the base and quarter them “top-to-bottom”.
3. Place all of the veggies on a baking sheet with a couple tbsp olive oil. Place in the oven and roast — turning a couple of times — until tender and starting to brown. Depending on the size of your veggies, this will be about 25-35 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Garlic Croutons

1. If it’s not already on, preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Peel and mince the garlic, then add it to the pan as the butter melts. Cook — stirring a couple of times — just until the garlic starts to simmer, then immediately remove from heat.
3. Cut bread into approx ¾” cubes and place in a medium sized bowl. Pour ½ the garlic butter over the top and toss to coat, then repeat with the rest of the butter.
4. Spread out the bread cubes on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven. Toast for 10-15 minutes, tossing a couple times during cooking. Croutons are ready when they are crisp and golden around the edges.

Notes: Once cool, leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

Massaged Kale

1. Strip leaves from stems, then wash and dry/spin them well. Chop the leaves into smallish pieces and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. RESIST the temptation to add more olive oil and lemon juice; 1 tbsp of each is enough! Get your hands in there and vigorously massage the oil and juice into the greens for two whole minutes until they are tender and dark green. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Finally, Assemble The Salad

1. Spread a cup or so of the massaged kale on a plate.
2. Top the kale with plenty of roasted veggies, add as many pickled carrots as you like, and drizzle the dressing over everything.
3. Top with garlic croutons and serve!