Sweet Autumn Toasted Pita & Kale Salad
Serve 4-6 as an entree or starter
A fall-themed version of fattoush, that clever Lebanese dish that transforms old pita into a hearty salad. This cool weather take replaces summertime vegetables with roasted nuggets of sweet potatoes and kale massaged with a sweet-tart pomegranate molasses dressing. This is a hearty salad that’s great for potlucks or a filling lunch.
Look for pomegranate molasses and sumac powder in Middle Eastern groceries.
Pomegranate molasses is the thick, sweet-tart boiled juice of pomegranates.
Sumac powder is a powdered herb particular to Middle Eastern cuisines that’s a wonder sprinkled on salads; these little deep maroon flakes provide beautiful color and a unique, sour berry-like flavor sprinkled on salads just before serving.
- For the salad:
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 whole wheat or white pita, both sides separated and sliced into small bite-sized pieces.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound kale, leaves stripped from the stems (discard stems)
- 2 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 large red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1/4 cup sumac powder
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dice sweet potatoes to small chunks no larger than 1/2 inch wide, place on the baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin seeds, a little sea salt and toss cubes to coat with oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long handled spatula or tongs to evenly brown the sweet potato. Meanwhile, toss the pieces of pita bread with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. When the sweet potato is done roasting, transfer to a dish and set aside. Spread pita pieces in a single layer over the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally but watching carefully so that the pita pieces don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. While the sweet potatoes and pita are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. Wash, dry and tear the kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add parsley and onion. Stir together all of the dressing ingredients and pour over kale, then use your fingers to knead and massage the kale for 3-5 minutes or until kales is softened and reduced in bulk by almost half. Add roasted sweet potato and pita chips and use tongs to toss everything together for about 2 minutes. Taste salad and if desired season with a few twists of cracked pepper and an extra drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
3. To serve, mound the salad into a large serving dish and sprinkle with sumac powder. Serve immediately. Kale salad can stay fresh and tasty kept chilled in a tightly covered container for a day or slightly more; just toss in pita chips and top with sumac right before serving.