Apparently, June is National Avocado Month in the US, and I’m sneaking in this kale salad with avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, & smoky chickpeas just in time…
I normally don’t pay attention to things like “national months” and all, but since I’m here in the US for several weeks, I might as well salute this lovely green fruit… err, vegetable… err… where exactly does avocado fall on the food map anyway??
Well, botanically, it’s a fruit, since it grows on a tree & has a seed. When I first moved to Philippines, we had a cook who used to make us avocado smoothies every day (because what better use for a fruit??) These were beautiful, creamy, pale green and strangely refreshing concoctions… but I could never quite get used to avocado going the “sweet” route at that point in my life. And on the other hand, my cook definitely looked askance when I took the avocados destined for my smoothie glass, mashed them with garlic, salt, & lime (ok, calamansi), and invited my friends over to eat my strange concoction with a bag of chips and a pitcher of margaritas!
Oh, the versatile avocado! But I digress…
Nutritionally speaking, it’s a fat, of course… but the good kind! Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats, the heart-healthy kind that can lower your cholesterol, your triglycerides, and your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Avocados are also full of antioxidants, fiber, and have more potassium than a banana. And as we just mentioned, they can go the sweet route (I have a vegan chocolate mousse recipe featuring avocados coming your way soon) or the good old salt & lime route. Take your pick, it’s all good…
This kale salad makes the most of avocados by using plenty of it in the salad itself, which provides a wonderfully creamy foil to the roasted sweet potatoes and smoky chickpeas, and in the dressing by using avocado oil instead of olive oil. Avocado oil is fairly strong-tasting, so it’s not appropriate for everything, but it’s the perfect choice this time, since it can hold its own against the robust flavours of the kale and the other smoky, spicy ingredients in this flavourful salad.
Although some cooking time is required, it’s not as much as you might think… the chickpeas sizzle quickly on the stovetop while the sweet potatoes are roasting in the oven, and you can whisk up the dressing while everything cools off a tad. It’s best to combine it all while the ingredients are still slightly warm, to soften the kale just a bit. I whipped up the whole thing in about 45 minutes.
Leftovers keep until the next day… although tomorrow is July 1 and it will no longer be National Avocado Month. So maybe you’ll have to eat the whole thing today… but it’s so good you’ll probably want to. Cheers, friends!
Kale Salad with Avocado, Roasted Sweet Potato, & Smoky Chickpeas
For a lighter-tasting dressing, sub olive oil for the avocado oil
For the salad:
- 6 cups kale, washed & torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 avocado, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly
- 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
For the roasted sweet potatoes:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 ½ “ dice
- 1 t. extra-virgin coconut oil
- ½ t. cinnamon
For the smoky chickpeas:
- 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1 t. olive oil
- ½ t. cumin
- ½ t. paprika
- ¼ t. garlic salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
- juice of 1 lime (reserve a splash for smoky chickpeas)
- 1 T. white balsamic vinegar (can sub white wine vinegar)
- ½ t. spicy or Dijon mustard
- 1 T. maple syrup or honey
- 3 T. avocado oil (can sub olive oil for a lighter flavour)
- ¼ t. salt
- freshly ground black pepper
To make the roasted sweet potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 200C (400F.)
- Toss diced potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon.
- Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil or cooking spray.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping once or twice to ensure even browning.
To make the smoky chickpeas:
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook the spices, salt & pepper for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the chickpeas and cook 5 more minutes until chickpeas are coated and beginning to pop.
- Squeeze a little lime juice over at the very end to add a bit more flavour.
To make the dressing:
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well until oil is fully incorporated.
To assemble the salad:
- Combine kale, red onion, dried cranberries, cooked chickpeas, and roasted sweet potatoes in a large salad bowl.
- Add dressing and toss to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients (feta & avocado) and toss again gently. Serve immediately.
- Makes 4-6 servings.