This nourishing Roasted Radishes and Kale Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds gets a major flavor boost from the delicious Nutritional Yeast and Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing that generously coats every tender curly kale leaf.
Massage and Trim that Kale
A spa treatment for kale? Really? Well, sort of…read on.
My usual go-to kale for salads is baby kale, simply because it’s more tender than the more ubiquitous curly kale and requires no prepping (the grocery store variety is typically pre-washed). But when I have just a little more time, I go for curly kale in my salads – I prefer its broader leaves’ ability to support the weight of heavier veggies as well as its “dressing clinginess factor” (that’s a term I use to describe how well dressing clings to the salad leaves…sorry, I had to).
Let’s face it, the tiny baby kale leaves are adorable and perfect in many salads, but when we’re dealing with heavy radishes and seeds that love to sink to the bottom of the bowl, a nice curly kale with its substantial surface area is nothing less than perfect. Not ideal, however, is the toughness of kale leaves, but massaging them with a little olive oil takes care of that situation. Definitely DO NOT forego this step.
Another essential step in preparing kale for salads is to remove the hard, woody stems. I like to simply tear, or rip the leaves off the stem. If you prefer you can also use a small paring knife to cut around the stem. This step should precede the massaging of the leaves, of course.
Roast Those Radishes
As for radishes, I love to use them sliced as garnishes in soups and salads, but I’ve never really treated them as a protagonist in any of my meals. That is until I found myself with a couple of bunches of radishes leftover from a photo shoot. In my effort to decrease my food waste, I decided to slice them up, toss them in some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and plopped them in the oven to roast. What a difference roasting makes!
Why hadn’t I thought to roast radishes before?
Toast Up Those Sunflower Seeds
I find that adding a little heat often pumps food full of flavor, particularly when it comes to nuts and seeds. One of my favorite flavors is that of toasted sunflower seeds. In salads, they provide a welcome crunch along with a nice flavor contrast that always takes a simple salad up a notch.
Top It Off With The Perfect Dressing
Finally, I paired this salad with one of my favorite dressings of all time. I discovered this tangy Nutritional Yeast and Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing several years ago when a friend of mine jotted it down for me on a scratch piece of paper. That coveted recipe now lives in my recipe binder that holds a collection of favorite recipes I’ve collected over the past, I don’t know…12 years? I cherish that binder.
Anyhow, I don’t know the original creator of this recipe, but I’ve seen several versions of it floating around on the internet. I’m sharing my adapted version with you here because the flavors couldn’t pair more perfectly with this Roasted Radishes and Kale Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds. I hope you enjoy it!
Roasted Radishes and Kale Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds
- 1 bunch curly kale rinsed and dried, woody stems removed
- 1 bunch radishes trimmed, washed and dried, cut into quarters
- three tablespoons sunflower seeds
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- olive oil for massaging the kale and roasting the radishes - about 2 tablespoons total
- salt to taste
Nutritional Yeast and Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup of tamari preferred or soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 1/2 cup avocado or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Place the prepared radishes in a mound on a baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat (about 1 tablespoon). Pour the lemon juice over the radishes and toss them with your hands so that they're evenly coated with the olive oil and lemon. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt (as per your preference) and place in the oven to bake about 20 minutes, or until the radishes are tender when poked with a sharp knife.
- Meanwhile, tear the trimmed kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or just enough to coat all the leaves) over the kale and gently massage the leaves for about 1 minute to tenderize them. Set aside while the radishes bake.
- In a small skillet, toss the sunflower seeds over a medium flame, turning frequently to prevent them from burning. Once the seeds are evenly toasted, remove from heat and transfer them to a small bowl.
- For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high a few seconds to combine all ingredients and fully chop the garlic.
- Place the kale, radishes and sunflower seeds in a bowl and drizzle with desired amount of dressing (you will have lots of dressing left over for future salads. I've stored mine in the refrigerator for well over a month, but use your best judgment on this).