Spicy Peanut Kale Salad
April 1, 2014

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad | The Full Helping

This spicy peanut kale salad is a proof that delicious recipes and meals can grow out of paltry fridge scrapings. Last weekend, I found myself home at lunchtime with two remaining bits of produce (a bunch of kale, almost one its last legs) and a sweet potato (not sure how long it had been in my fridge, but “too long” is probably the answer). But there are far worse starts to a meal, and as soon as it occurred to me to make a good, salty, spicy dressing, I was on my way to a pretty stellar lunch.

As I was throwing this salad together, I wondered if I shouldn’t run to the grocery store for some red pepper to chop in, or some purple cabbage, or…something. That would make it prettier, I thought, and a little more varied. But lately I’ve been trying not to focus so much on making every recipe “perfect” or picture worthy. I’ve been trying to use what I have, rather than constantly re-stocking in order to execute a vision. I’ve been trying to cultivate trust that I can create something tasty even if I don’t have a fridge full of produce to work with.

I’ve been trying, in other words, to go with the flow. It’s a good lesson in my education as a home cook. And yes, there’s probably a recovery lesson in here someplace, too. Learning to be a little more reactive–adjusting to what’s available and what’s on hand–rather than proactive and planning-oriented, is, I think, a useful lesson for those of us who tend to obsess over or be perfectionists about food. Obviously, it’s commendable (and downright necessary) to be organized when it comes to food/groceries/weekly meals, so I won’t belabor this point. But I do think I’m benefiting from a less thoroughly organized approach to my meals these days.

Especially when the result of my spontaneity is a salad like this one.

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad | The Full Helping

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad | The Full Helping

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad

Author -
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 3 -4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tamari substitute coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Dash of sriracha OR cayenne pepper to taste (make sure you are using gluten free sriracha if you don't consume gluten)
  • 1 large sweet potato cubed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large bunch curly kale stems removed, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup peanuts toasted (almonds or walnuts are also fine)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potato with the coconut oil and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender.
  • Blend the peanut butter, water, tamari, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, maple syrup, and sriracha in a blender till smooth, or use a fork to whisk it all thoroughly.
  • Massage the dressing into the kale, using only as much as you'd like and saving any extra. Add the sweet potato and toss everything to combine. Divide the salad onto plates and top with peanuts. Enjoy.

 Spicy Peanut Kale Salad | The Full Helping

Of course, the “spicy” bit in this salad is the sriracha or cayenne, which you can adjust as needed. I’m a wimp about spice, so my “dash” was pretty tiny. But go crazy, if you’re so inclined.

It’s amazing how two vegetables can create something this good. Hope you’ll enjoy the salad as much as I did, and that you have a great evening.

xo

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    41 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    This looks really good. And must have taste good also. I have to try it one day. There are quite a lot of ingredients to do it, but I’ll do it.

  2. Great recipe, sweet potatoes combines perfectly with kale. I didnt “massage” it tho I just quickly steamed it. Salut!

  3. Oh,my goodness. Made this salad today for the man’s lunch and it was so yummy! DEFINITELY will make this again. Thank you so much for this lovely creation!

  4. It sounds deliciously simple! Love it. And the pictures turned out very pretty (as always). If I am ever in a pinch with not much produce, I always hope I at least have sweet potatoes and kale – the two pair so nicely =)

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  6. I so see myself in this picture hehe. A lot of times I find my self with only few remaining bits of produce in my fridge. This is great idea and I love spicy!

  7. I love peanut sauce, it’s a staple in my household! I haven’t tried adding sesame oil or vinegar yet, but this gives me ideas for some new variations. And I agree that scrapings can sometimes produce the most creative meals. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Yes! Love this, Gena. I think one of the best things for me was to go more minimalist while in Houston which meant paring down a lot of things, but also cooking with the flow. Less stress, all around.
    Also, do you store your sweet potatoes in the fridge? I always keep mine in the pantry.

  9. This is exactly my kind of salad – and given I often don’t have a perfect ingredient list, quite like the sorts of things that randomly come out of my kitchen 🙂 I love the sound of your dressing ingredient mix.

  10. Totally agree about the spontaneity thing- we shop according to planned meals, but try to leave room for a bit of creativity, This salad looks brilliant 🙂

  11. “I’ve been trying to use what I have, rather than constantly re-stocking in order to execute a vision.”

    Gena, we’re definitely on the same wave length here! I find that often my best recipes are the ones that aren’t too forced. You know, doing exactly what you did, which is just free-styling it in the kitchen with what’s left. I think it’s a great mindset–because you’re utilizing what you have, applying some creativity, & the end result is yummy food & less waste!

    This is absolutely my kind of meal! Love anything peanut-y &/or kale-y. Even better when they’re together.

    • Janae, as you know, you are a MAJOR source of inspiration to me when it comes to being adaptable, frugal, and simple in the kitchen. I am so glad you liked this recipe.

  12. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this recipe ever since you posted a picture on Instagram! I cannot wait to make this one, Gena 🙂

  13. The dressing sounds amazing! Your tiny dash of siracha is still probably bigger than mine would be:) Do you just leave the sweet potato raw?

    • Natalie, what a ridiculous omission! The potato is roasted. I updated the recipe 🙂 And yes — the dressing is great.

  14. I have a huge head of purple cabbage from my CSA that I’d be happy to share if we were neighbors! In fact, I was just researching how exactly to use it a little while ago. Your salad looks vibrant and enticing; I’m certain it was delicious.

    I hadn’t thought of going with the flow while cooking as a lesson for recovery and, you’re right, it’s a powerful one. Thanks for bringing my attention to it. I’ll be mindful of this from now on. xoxo

  15. Yummy! Have you ever tried walnut butter? I make my own by adding raw walnuts (and sometimes a pinch of salt) to a food processor, then blending until it’s creamy. It makes a really great base for salad dressings, as well.

  16. Salty/sweet is the ultimate combo. And peanuts are always the perfect ingredient to bind the two together. I’m obsessed with the peanut sauce at Real Food Daily (have you tried it?!) but I’ve stopped ordering it because they’re oddly inconsistent over there, and once in a while I’ll be sorely disappointed by a watered down sauce after expecting the usual greatness. Point is, I need my own peanut sauce recipe so I can stop relying on others to fuel my addiction. Definitely going to make this. It sounds like it’d be great on soba noodles or brown rice, too! …not that I have anything against the almighty kale. 🙂

  17. These are some of my favorite foods all combined into a beautiful, healthful salad. It’s almost like an African peanut soup in salad form – I love it! Also, I agree with your musings on going with the flow when it comes to cooking; I like the challenge of working with what I have on hand rather than going to the store to pick up just a certain ingredient.