This roasted beet salad with kale and maple balsamic combines some of my favorite flavors into one pretty, colorful side dish. The kale is massaged before the salad is assembled, which removes the bitterness and makes it more tender. Add goat cheese (or feta!), homemade maple-candied pecans, and a delicious maple balsamic dressing – and prepare to be delighted. This salad is a crowd pleaser!
Hanukkah is all about fried foods, like latkes and sufganiyot. While frying is a symbolic way to celebrate the holiday, it’s also a surefire way to pack on the pounds. To offset all of that fried, fatty holiday goodness, I created this festive roasted beet salad with kale. Wintery greens like kale pack a major nutritional punch. I never used to like kale, but after I discovered the kale massage, it quickly became my favorite leafy green. Massaging removes the natural bitterness of the kale, making it a more neutral base for your favorite salad toppings. I’m now a big fan of kale, and it provides the perfect base for this delicious roasted beet salad.
How to Make Roasted Beet Salad with Kale
To make this salad, I roast a few beets— a combination of red and golden, to make the salad more colorful. If you’ve never tried roasting beets, you really must… it brings out their natural juicy sweetness. If you’re in a hurry, pre-roasted beets from the market will work just fine. Next, I candy whole pecans on the stovetop using maple syrup and a touch of cayenne spice, for heat. I whip up a simple maple balsamic salad dressing– olive oil, rich balsamic vinegar, real maple syrup, and lemon juice for brightness. Finally, I sprinkle the whole salad with goat cheese or crumbled feta, which offsets the sweetness of the salad with a lovely salty touch. If you’d rather keep this salad dairy-free or vegan, not to worry. It will taste great without the cheese, and there are also some good vegan cheese products to sub out if you wish.
This roasted beet salad with kale and maple balsamic will add a colorful and flavorful addition to your holiday table. Of course, if you’re celebrating Hanukkah, it will also help to mitigate some of latke-induced calorie guilt! It’s full of vitamins and nutrients, but it doesn’t taste like health food. If you’re anti-kale, like I used to be, feel free to use fresh spinach or your favorite dark salad greens– just skip the massage/wilting step in the recipe.
My favorite part of this roasted beet salad is the hint of maple and balsamic flavors in every bite… so good. Enjoy!
Roasted Beet Salad with Kale and Maple Balsamic
- 6 small roasted beets (red and/or golden)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/3 cup maple syrup, divided
- Dash of cayenne
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (good quality)
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional – you may omit or substitute vegan goat cheese or vegan feta)
- For instructions on how to roast beets, click here. Peel your roasted beets, then slice them into wedges. Set aside.
- Place the pecans in a small nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour 1/4 cup maple syrup over the pecans and bring to a boil over medium. Sprinkle the pecans evenly with a dash of cayenne. Let the syrup boil for 1-2 minutes over medium, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Pour the pecans immediately onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Spread them out with a spoon into a single layer. Let them cool and dry out.
- Meanwhile, clean your kale, pat dry, and cut the leaves from the tough stalks. The stalks are not needed for this recipe; you can save them to sauté later, if you wish. Cut the leaves into small pieces and place in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Massage the kale with clean hands for 2-3 minutes till it wilts and loses its bitter flavor.
- In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and lemon juice. Whisking briskly and constantly, drizzle the olive oil very slowly into the mixture till the dressing is emulsified and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the roasted beet wedges and crumbled feta or goat cheese to the salad.
- Break apart the candied pecans into small pieces.
- Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the salad.
- Serve each portion of salad drizzled with a bit of dressing (about 1 tablespoon per serving).
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