By Yakira Cohen
A sad slew of lettuce and cucumbers isn’t cutting it anymore. This salad isn’t just a dish — it’s a full and exciting meal.
Nutrient-packed kale is dressed up with juicy balsamic mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and crunchy za’atar chickpeas for a hefty and impressive dish you can wow your Shabbat lunch guests with. And it looks pretty, too!
1 bag kale
3 Persian cucumbers, sliced and
quartered, or half an English cucumber
10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 sweet potato, cubed in ½ inch pieces
1 avocado, chunked
1 box mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons za’atar
¼ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potato cubes with olive oil and salt, and roast for 45 minutes or until crispy.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then pat them dry. Line another baking tray with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, until totally dry. Then remove and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and za’atar. Put back in the oven and roast about 30 minutes more, or until crispy.
Cook the mushrooms. Coat the bottom of a skillet in olive oil and heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until halfway cooked. Add the 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, salt, and garlic powder. Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 more minutes. Let sit.
Cook the quinoa. Bring 1 cup water to a boil, and then add the quinoa. Bring to a simmer and let sit for about 20 minutes.
Massage the kale. Put kale in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over it. Toss with your hands until kale is lightly coated in the oil, all over, leaving no totally dry spaces.
Prepare the dressing. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and garlic powder together.
Add the chopped cucumber, grape tomatoes, chunks of avocado, and sweet potatoes to the kale. Toss with dressing, coated to your liking.
On top of the kale/vegetable mixture, layer quinoa, then mushrooms, then chickpeas. Shake and spread pomegranate seeds around the perimeter of the bowl. Don’t toss (it looks pretty for now!) and serve.
Yakira Cohen is a journalism and psychology student at the Honors College of the University of Maryland, College Park.