These are fairly humble ingredients available all year round. Kumera is our New Zealand sweet potato, so substitute what you have available and pester your green grocer to get these in stock, they are versatile, delicious and a great form of slow burning energy. Kale, both green and purple, would have to be the easiest things I have ever grown even surviving our southern winter, and, If you don’t grow your own it always seems very affordable to buy. Pineapples aren’t a locally grown food but they do seem to be a staple on the shelves year round and offer a delicious and exotic twist to this salad. Peppers chilli and onions add to the complexity and savoury notes and colour in this salad.
I have made this at work as well several times and have added black rice sometimes, which makes it even more sustaining, and adds another chewy texture, for a whole meal salad. The black rice I have used is Riso Toro, an Italian long grain rice, and has an almost sweet smell when cooking and is the most delicious rice! It is also beautiful to look at and adds amazing colour contrast on your plate.
KALE PINEAPPLE AND KUMERA SALAD
Enough for four as a side salad, but easily doubled or more.
Pre heat oven to 200’c
- 1/2 small pineapple cut into bite size pieces
- 1 large kumera approximately 500gms
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 red chilli (according to taste)
- 1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener
- 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil + extra for roasting
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional extra Black rice (not used in the salad pictured today)
First I like to twice roast my kumera. As soon as you decide to make this turn your oven on and put your washed but not peeled kumera straight on the rack to cook for about 1/2 an hour, at this point it should be just cooked.
While your kumera is cooking, prepare your pineapple by peeling and cutting into bite size pieces. Put this on a small baking tray and toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Put this into cook at the same time as your kumera, it will need 15 -20 minutes and should then be cooked and slightly brown around the edges.
Next into a medium sized bowl put your maple syrup, white wine vinegar, olive oil, a 1/4 of your chilli (or more, you choose) and a good pinch of salt and pepper and whisk together.
Prepare your kale by washing and cutting the leafy part off the stalks ( I like to then shred it fairly finely so no one is to challenged chewing it). Add the kale to the dressing and spend at least two to three minutes massaging, this all together, this is a very important stage as it will break down the fibres and make it much more pleasant to eat.
Then cut your pepper and onion into slivers and chop the remaining chilli (as much as you want to use), and toss this all together with some olive oil and salt on a large baking tray.
At this point your kumera should be ready and can be cut into bite size pieces and tossed in with the other vegetables to roast.
Roast these vegetables for about half an hour, until they are golden brown on the edges and delicious.
During this time your pineapple will have finished cooking and can be tossed in with the kale. The pineapple will probably wilt the kale a little more and share some of its juices adding to the dressing flavours. One person in my house commented that this was the first time they had enjoyed eating kale. That for me, makes it a salad worth remaking on those grounds alone (especially as kale is the only thing left growing in my garden).
Once the rest of the vegetables are cooked you can toss everything together and serve at once or put aside until you are ready to eat.
I had some pineapple left and love the look of it dried on the cakes at Raeward Fresh so I dug out my – pre-historic, shamelessly under utilised, dehydrator, and have dried the rest of the pineapple. I had meant to keep the pineapple whole, for slicing but I cut it in half before thinking about it, so will have to buy another and try again (or has my mind wandered to the next project). The house smelt delicious and it dried to a leathery stage in a couple of hours. I will keep this in the refrigerator as it still has a bit of moisture and use it for breakfast bowls and baking.
I hope you enjoy this simple salad and keep warm my friends.