Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

I’m usually one of those people who struggles to actually like eating salad. Or maybe it’s not that I don’t like salad, it’s just that I would rather be eating something else. In order to overcome this slight issue, I am constantly looking for salads that are easy, but also different and exciting. This salad is the  perfect example.

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I love kale, but it can be a little hard to base a whole salad on it, because it’s kind of on the bitter side. This sweeter dressing, along with the added fruit, balance out the bitterness and it’s perfect. This salad would be amazing for a festive meal, but it’s also a good one if you just want to switch up your daily lunch routine. Also, the pecan parmesan is kind of brilliant if you’re vegan, but it’s a yummy, salty, extra even if you’re not.

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Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette 

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

For the Pecan Parmesan:

1/2 cup Pecans, toasted

1 1/2 tsp Nutritional Yeast

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

For the Dressing:

3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, peeled & minced

To Assemble:

1 bunch Kale, destemmed & leaves torn to bite size pieces

1 Apple, Cored & finely chopped

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Pomegranate Arils (about 1/2 a pomegranate)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted pecans, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt and work into a crumble. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl or dressing container, whisk (or shake the container) the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, applesauce, and ginger until well combined.

4. Place the kale, chopped apples, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils in a large salad bowl and top with dressing. Alternatively, you can portion out the ingredients to make smaller salads. Sprinkle pecan parmesan over salad before serving.

Sexy Carrot Ginger Salad Rolls

You’ve have probably noticed by now that although I love to cook and am decently good at it, I rarely create my own recipes. I adapt things to no end in order to suit my own tastes, but the original ideas are technically not mine. This is partially because I am admittedly not the most creative person on the planet, but also because there are so many others sharing such beautiful, inspiring recipes that I don’t feel the need to be. I hope that you recognize that my intention is never to take credit for these recipes, but rather to share the love and deliciousness (and also keep a record of all of the foods that I make).

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Anyway, on a less serious/less boring note… Can Sarah Britton be my own personal chef? Ugh. I adore her recipes. They are always so creative, full of interesting flavours, and healthy, unique ingredients. Also, she calls these Sexy Spring Rolls (because of the healthy ingredients!) so sexy they will stay. I’m not gonna question it.

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I’m just starting to get into asian cooking, and these salad rolls seemed like a good place to start. They were a first for me, and I think I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I am not a fan of julienning vegetables. It takes forever, is repetitive, and it hurts my hands (I know, poor me). I’ll take kneading dough or stirring endlessly over a stove any day. I did, however, like making the actual rolls. Rice paper is the coolest thing!

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This almond butter sauce is genius and I think I could eat it by the spoonful. It matches perfectly with the ginger-sesame flavour of the carrots and sweet potatoes. I really liked my rolls with cucumbers, avocado, and cilantro, but bell peppers, mint, basil, mango, sprouts, or cabbage would be good additions/substitutions as well. Salad rolls are traditionally eaten as an appetizer, but I like eating them for lunch or even a light dinner. This recipe was a huge success and I can’t wait to make salad rolls again!

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Sexy Carrot Ginger Salad Rolls

Makes 10 – 12 Salad Rolls 

Adapted from My New Roots

2 Medium Carrots

1 small Sweet Potato

1/4 cup Sesame Seeds

splash of Cooking Oil

2 tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced

1 tbsp Agave Nectar

squeeze of Lemon Juice

1. Toast sesame seeds over medium heat in a dry skillet until lightly golden.

2. Julienne the carrots and sweet potato (cut them into matchstick-like pieces). You could also do this with the cucumber now if using.

3. Add the oil, ginger, and agave to a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and stir fry for 4 or 5 minutes. You don’t want the vegetables to cook, just take the raw edge off, if that makes sense.

4. Remove from heat and toss with the toasted sesame seeds and lemon juice.

5. Prepare your other ingredients (I used cucumber, cilantro, and avocado).

6. Fill a shallow dish a little larger than the rice paper and fill it with warm water. Following the directions on the package, place one wrap in the water until it becomes softer and more pliable, then transfer to a clean surface. Place the carrot-ginger mixture and other ingredients into the centre of the wrap and top with a drizzle of almond butter sauce. Fold the top half of the wrap over the ingredients, then both sides, and then the bottom to seal. Sarah has a great tutorial on her site if you need it!

Almond Butter Sauce:

1/3 cup Almond Butter

1 clove Garlic

2 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 tbsp Agave Nectar

2 tbsp Water

juice of 1 Lime (approx. 3 tbsp)

pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, adding water as needed to thin to desired consistency.