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I’m just going to throw it right on out there and say it: I’m not a big fan of kale.
At least I wasn’t a big fan of kale. Until I made a certain recipe from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen that flipped my kale world upside down.
Super Natural Every Day, available on Amazon
The secret? Roast it.
Roasting takes kale from the stuff that you eat because people tell you it’s good for you (it is!) to the stuff that you eat because your taste buds do a happy dance whenever they are graced with its presence.
Heidi’s original recipe called for soy sauce and coconut. Uhh… what?
But yeah, this combination definitely works, and you almost don’t want to mess with the recipe at all ever. Because it’s kind of addicting, the way the salty soy sauce plays off the subtle sweetness of the coconut.
I can’t ever just let a recipe be, so changed it to make it my own.
This rendition has a much more subtle coconut flavor because it comes from coconut oil, not from big flakes. It’s also a bit overpowered by some of the other ingredients that have a strong flavor, like ground ginger and sweet agave. Not to mention the roasted beets, which are amazing all on their own.
If you want even more spicy gingery goodness, you could use fresh minced ginger root instead of dried. But if you’re looking for something a bit more mild, the version on your spice rack is your best friend in this case.
Throw the roasted kale and beets over some cooked farro, a healthy hulled spelt or emmer wheat that offers great texture and flavor. Top it all off with some crumbled goat cheese, and you’ve got a rather heavenly and hearty meal on your hands, packed with flavor and nutrients, all served in one big bowl.
If the beets you buy still have the leaves attached, don’t throw them away. Saute them with olive oil and garlic, and you have a brand new vegetarian side.
The trick is to get every bite to include a big scoop of farro, a couple leaves of kale, a piece of beet, and a smear of goat cheese. Absolute perfection. This is vegetarian comfort food at its finest.Print
A kale dish your taste buds will actually like! Roasting in coconut oil and ginger softens and deepens the flavor of the kale, and makes it downright addictive. Add beets, farro, and goat cheese to the mix and you’ve got a proper meal on your hands!
- Heat oven to 400°F. Place the beets in a parchment-lined dutch oven and bake, covered, for about 1 hour, until the beets are easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, take the lid off the pot, and set aside to cool while the kale cooks.
- While the beets cook, combine the vinegar, ginger, coconut oil, agave, and salt, and mix well. Place the kale in a 9×13″ baking dish and pour the dressing over the kale. Massage the dressing into the leaves with your hands until it is evenly distributed.
- As soon as the beets come out of the oven, lower the temperature to 375°F.
- Roast the kale for 18-20 minutes, until it is just starting to get crisp.
- Cook the farro according to package directions while the kale cooks. Peel and chop the beets.
- Serve in a large bowl with the farro on the bottom, topped with some of the roasted kale and beets. Sprinkle chunks of goat cheese on top if desired, and eat!
If your farro is not quick-cooking, be sure to adjust for the extra time it will take. Also, keep in mind that farro contains gluten. Use quinoa, rice, or another GF grain if you’d like to keep it gluten-free.
To make this meal vegan, skip the goat cheese or substitute with an almond, cashew, or rice cheese product.
Did you dig into this recipe? Tell us how you liked it in the comments, and leave it a rating while you’re there. Don’t forget to tell us how you changed things up to make it your own!
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Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 14th, 2014. Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 5:41 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).