Fall Kale Salad {Vegan}

We’re now in mid-September, but quite honestly, here in Vancouver, it feels more like November. 

I don’t rightly know what happened. Usually here on the West Coast we have a gorgeous fall, all coloured leaves and warm sunshine, but this year, it seems, someone flipped the switch on September 1, and it’s been nothing but cold, miserable and rainy. 

a colourful plate of kale salad

It is, of course, at this time of the year, that my thoughts turn to pumpkins, squashes, and other root vegetables. I start to think about risotto, chilli, ramen and soup. I want foods that are hearty, warming and filling, and I start to crave warming spices. 

I have been drinking a lot, and I mean a lot of tea. 

This time of the year is also one of the best times of the year to go shopping. Much summer produce is at its peak right now, and you’ll find, in addition to gourds at the Farmer’s Markets, corn, apples, zucchini, and we still have way too many tomatoes. 

I’ve been visiting, on nearly a weekly basis, a local farm in Richmond. This is one of my go-tos, because they grow and sell a lot of their own produce right there. This means a few things; you know exactly where your food is coming from, it’s really, really fresh, and it’s often much cheaper than at other times of the year. Last week, they were selling corn for 10/$1! (it was a mad house). 

The other thing that’s plentiful and cheap this time of the year is kale. This particular farm was selling massive bunches of kale for $.99. That was too good a deal for me to pass up; I figured worst case scenario, I can always make heaps of kale chips, which my teenager hoovers down in about 30 seconds flat. 

But much of that kale went into salads, actually. And I know it’s not exactly salad weather, but this is a Fall Kale Salad!. It’s not light and crispy–it’s hearty and filling. 

a colourful plate of kale salad

I’ve been making variations on this Fall Kale Salad for years. It goes something like this: 

  • greens (in this case, kale)
  • roasted vegetables
  • a fruit (sometimes dried fruit)
  • a crunchy element (nuts etc)
  • cheese (if you’re not vegan)
  • dressing

This basic formula translates into an endless variety of salads that mean you’ll never be bored. Just try different types of veg, different types of fruit, different types of crunchies. Choose them based on what’s available and in season. In the summer, you might choose berries, but this time of the year, apples are easier to find. 

In terms of dressing, any basic vinaigrette will do, but I love this tahini-based version. It makes for a creamy dressing (without dairy or eggs) and there’s something about the roasty sesame paste that’s cozy and warming. 

Fall Kale Salad {Vegan}

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch tuscan kale
  • 1 small-medium golden beet 
  • dried cranberries (1/8 cup)
  • roasted chickpeas (1/8 cup)
  • shaved parmesan (leave off for a vegan version, or use vegan parm)

For the dressing: 

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Lay the kale leaves on a cutting board and carefully score up each side of the ribs, removing the leaves from the ribs. Discard the ribs. Roll the kale leaves as tightly as possible, and then run your knife down the length of the leaves, leaving little ribbons (this is called chiffonade). Wash and dry the kale ribbons. 
  2. Meanwhile, roast the beet. You can either roast it whole in the oven and then slice into chunks or I sliced mine thinly on the mandolin and roasted them in a single layer, brushed with oil, in the oven, until the edges were a bit crispy. 
  3. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to combine. Place the kale in a large bowl, pour the dressing over, and toss well to combine. 
  4. Heap the kale up on a plate, and scatter around the roasted beets, cranberries and roasted chickpeas. Top with shavings of parmesan if you like. You can finish with a drizzle of dressing if you like as well. 

 

 

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