Lilly Higgins: A seasonal winter salad with roasted sweet potato, kale, pomegranate and grapes

Spend Less, Eat Well: Salads still make a great meal in winter, as long as they’re substantial with warm elements and plenty of texture

Even though it’s winter, salads still make a great meal; as long as they’re substantial with warm elements and plenty of texture. Roasted vegetables are ideal with a more robust leaf, so this week I’m using seasonal Irish kale. With a little bit of preparation, kale makes a really great salad base. The key is to chop it finely and massage with a little oil, lemon juice and salt 20 minutes before eating to start breaking down those tough cellulose fibres.

A real time saver is to prep the kale as soon as you buy it. Remove the tough inner rib and tear the leaves into bitesize pieces. Wash and dry the kale in a salad spinner, then store in the fridge. This way it’s easy to grab handfuls as you need them for stir-fries, smoothies or salads. Small steps like this ensure you don’t discover a wilted bag of kale at the back of the fridge in two weeks’ time. This time of year it’s important to rotate fresh vegetables in your diet, to ensure you’re getting plenty of variety and nutrients.

Roasting grapes brings them to life. They become plump, juicy and sweet; ideal for balancing the cruciferous kale. I use sunflower seeds in this recipe: they’re cheaper than nuts and give a delicious nutty, toasty flavour. A good substitute is toasted pecan nuts or walnuts.

This really is a gorgeous seasonal salad scattered with pomegranate jewels and plump grapes to start the festive season.


Lilly’s Kitchen Tips:

  1. Drizzle tired-looking grapes with a little balsamic vinegar and roast alongside Brussels sprouts this festive season.
  2. Buy sunflower seeds in bulk and toast them right away at 180 degrees for eight to 10 minutes. Store in an airtight jar. Perfect for adding crunch to salads, breakfasts, roast vegetables or just for snacking. They’re cheaper than nuts and highly nutritious.
  3. Pop pomegranate seeds in a tub in the freezer. They’re in season now and will defrost instantly when scattered on to hot dishes.

Recipe: Roast sweet potato salad with kale and tahini dressing