Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Curried Kale Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Apples

Silly admission # 473 (yes they happen that often): I’ve been craving legumes like normal people crave ice cream. During the month of May in which my token omnivore voluntarily followed a vegan diet, I avoided making too many bean dishes so as not to deter him from the already….windy side effects of eating so much fiber. While I didn’t omit beans entirely, I certainly treaded carefully seeing as though he has a natural aversion to the magical fruit. He’ll eat certain kinds so long as they aren’t cooked to absolute mush, but I didn’t want to overdo it during his vegan trial for fear of exhausting him on the beany buggers. Now that he’s back on the flesh wagon however, I don’t feel bad reintroducing beans as my vegan superstar ingredient. Packed full of iron and healthy fiber, my body was screaming for the little pearly pockets of yum. And part of me wants to overdo it now since his body is probably going through some nutritional withdrawal since his sudden reversion to cholesterol and saturated…I mean meat.

Well that’s a little off track for this recipe, but it leads to my inspiration. I hadn't soaked any beans and for dried beans that cook quickly, mung beans were the only option. I’ve made them time and time again, but as hard as I try to be creative, the dish always ends up tasting the same. This time was no different. Always delicious, but always the same. Mung beans stewed with potatoes, carrots and tomatoes with a generous pinch of cumin seed and crushed red pepper. If I try to get fancier, it complicates the dish which ends up tasting rather blah. Since I knew what the dish was going to taste like, I thought I could at least make a well-paired saladn to get creative. Trying to think of something that would go well with a stewed dish, I recalled working at the Afghan restaurant in Madison. Kabul had a killer curry salad dressing that was the talk of the town. Made with raw eggs, tons of oil and about a pound of sugar per batch, patrons rarely knew what was coating their lettuce. Tasty nonetheless. So I attempted to recreate a healthier, vegan version.

Raw eggs and lots of oil - sound like anything familiar? Perhaps a well-known American condiment? Hello mayonnaise. For the Memorial party, I had made my own vegan sour cream that sort of morphed into mayo after the leftovers spent a few days in the fridge. Since real mayo shares many similarities with the original dressing ingredients, I figure this would be a good stand-in. Instead of adding a ton of oil, I used some leftover broth that didn’t make it into the stew with just a touch of walnut oil. Agave replaced white sugar of course and the tiniest pinch of turmeric gave it that signiature yellow hue that comes from the egg yolks in the old recipe. My version was every bit as tasty. The crunchy roasted cauliflower was perfectly matched by sweet apple slices. The curry tied it all together. The mung beans were fine, but the salad was delish!

Curry Kale Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Apples
Makes 2 side salads
Prep time: 15 minutes


1 c. Cauliflower flowerets
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. Nutritional yeast
Cooking spray

¼ c. Vegetable broth, from bouillon
2-3 T. Vegan mayo
1 T. Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ T. Mild tasting oil (walnut, avocado, canola)
¾ tsp. Curry powder
¾ tsp. Agave nectar
1/8 tsp. Turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

3-4 Large kale leaves, ribs cut out and sliced thinly into ribbons
½ Medium apple (gala, pink lady, or other sweet varienty), thinly sliced with slices cut in half


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Place the cauliflower in a medium mixing bowl and coat completely with cooking spray. Season with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the cauliflower roasts, prepare the dressing by whisking the next 7 ingredients together. Season with additional agave if too acidic and salt and pepper to taste. In a separate mixing bowl, pour ½ of dressing over kale and apples. Let sit while cauliflower finishes cooking.

To serve, divide salad into 2 portions and top each with half of the roasted cauliflower.

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