‘Salad’ is a term far too often associated with diet culture, but I strongly believe that salads aren’t weight loss meals nor should they be bland or boring. They should be hearty, satisfying meals that feel you up and they are so much more than platefuls of limp lettuce leaves and soggy tomatoes – a point which this hearty massaged kale salad does more than prove. And yes, I did just say massaged kale! I’ll be the first to admit that it does sound a little weird – it’s a concept that I still struggle to wrap my head around sometimes but it makes the leaves wilt and become beautifully soft so that they soak up all of the flavour from the dressing (and not to mention a whole lot easier to chew!) A lot of people seem to be a little apprehensive about asparagus too, so if you happen to fall in to the category then let this be the recipe that converts you, as roasting it brings out the most delicious flavour.
This salad is packed with so much flavour and each of the ingredients compliment each other perfectly – juicy kale leaves, roasted cashews, creamy avocado cubes, asparagus, green peas, caramelised cinnamon sweet potato chunks and it’s also my favourite way to use up leftover bread crusts which would otherwise be thrown away; simply toast, chop and toss them on top and you have your own homemade croutons. But the best part? All of the different elements are married together by a creamy sesame cashew butter dressing which is so moreish that I could quite happily sit and eat it with a spoon! Seriously though, I thought that tahini dressings were as good as it could get but cashew butter definitely takes it to a whole other level. I love this salad for a simple satisfying weeknight meal and the leftovers make a great lunchbox addition for the next day too, but I love this combo way too much to make it last that long!
Ingredients (serves 1)
for the dressing
- tbsp smooth cashew butter
- 1/2 tbsp tahini
- 1 and 1/2 tbsps sesame oil
- tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp tamari
- tsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
for the salad
- 90g kale, stems removed
- 80g asparagus
- 80g frozen peas
- 80g sweet potato
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
- handful cashews
- 1/2 large avocado
- 1 crust bread – I use Healthy Living James’ superfood bread but sourdough, rye bread or your own favourite would work well too!
- pink himalayan salt and black pepper, to season
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a large baking tray with grease proof paper.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Cut the sweet potato in to bitesize cubes. Place on the baking tray and add the cinnamon, coconut sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Using your hands, toss together until fully coated and place in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the asparagus in to bitesize chunks.
- Cook the peas for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Pop your bread in the toaster. Once toasted to your preference, cut in to bitesize chunks and set aside to cool.
- Place the kale in a large mixing bowl, pour over the dressing and using your hands, massage until the kale is wilted and soft. I usually do this for about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
- When the sweet potato is halfway through cooking, add the asparagus to the tray and place back in the oven. Remove after the full 25 minutes and set aside to cool.
- Add the cashews to a baking tray and roast the for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant – you’ll want to keep your eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn. Set aside to cool.
- Peel, pit and cube the avocado. Season with himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Add the peas, toasted bread croutons, avocado, cashews, sweet potato and asparagus to the mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
- Transfer to your favourite bowl and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for up to 48 hours.
I love seeing you guys recreate my recipes so if you make this, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @nourishingyas and #nourishingyas