I’ve been baking a lot lately, but it’s mostly been pumpkin cookies for LITERALLY everyone and their mom. Okay not literally. But for family and coworkers and friends and boyfriends and coworkers’ kids. And I don’t even really like kids.
But I finally got back in the kitchen and made something delicious. It’s a kale salad with blistered tomatoes and caramelized onions, which I had originally planned on making with quinoa and sauteed spinach instead of kale, and which I would still highly recommend trying. As it is, it turned out to be a really fantastic and healthy little veggie dish. You should try making it between batches of pumpkin cookies and handfuls of candy corn.
The caramelized onion recipe originally came from Tracy of Shutterbean and her caramelized onion jam. If you make a whole bunch of this you will not regret it. It tastes good on everything…like flatbread with melted mozzarella, gorgonzola and a drizzle of balsamic. Try it on everything.
Caramelized Onion Kale Salad
- 1 large sweet yellow onion*
- 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock or broth
- 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 teaspoons brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- handful cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 cups torn kale leaves
*Sorry my measurements are a little inexact, but I think most of us have a good idea of what to add to taste. If you want to make more of the caramelized onions I would use Tracy’s original recipe as a better guide for measurements. For me, one large onion yielded about a half pint of “jam”.
First make the caramelized onions, as this will take the longest time. Thinly slice your onion and add it to a sautee pan with the oil on medium-high heat.
Cook the onions until translucent, which will take about 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally so the onions don’t brown prematurely. Once translucent, add the veggie stock, balsamic, brown sugar and salt.
Continue cooking uncovered and stir occasionally until onions are caramelized, about 25-30 minutes more. They will reduce A LOT – don’t be alarmed. They’ll turn into a sort of compote, very soft and brown and delicious.
Even in this photo they’re not all the way done! Keep cooking, trust me. When it’s done you can let it cool and put it in a jar, or start prepping your other ingredients for the meal.
For the kale, wash the leaves and remove the ribs, then tear them into pieces (however much you want to eat – it cooks down, too! I love kale, I’d say a serving is about 2-3 cups of raw shredded leaves. But that’s just me). Use a vegetable steamer and steam them in a pot, covered, until tender. Again, this is totally subjective – I love the chewiness of al dente kale. It’ll turn deep, beautiful green but still mostly have its shape when al dente.
I wanted to grill the tomatoes, but I don’t have a grill, and it’s fall, and they’re little cherry tomatoes, and I didn’t feel like turning on the oven for one serving. Solution: put them in the toaster oven. Can I tell you a secret? I really love my toaster oven. It allows me to make fresh individual scones (by freezing the cut scone dough and cooking it when you want it – I’ll post the recipe!) and single servings of roasted vegetables. I lined my toaster oven tray with foil and put it on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I kept an eye on the tomatoes and hit the broiler for a few minutes to char the tops.
I learned something by doing this, which is that tomatoes will burst and bubble when put under a lot of heat. You can’t see it in the picture, but I got little cherry tomato splatters on the inside of my toaster. I was pretty alarmed when they started popping. You can try setting a little foil over the top of the tomatoes, but you might not get that good char on the skin.
When everything is done to your liking, just put it all in a bowl with a little pepper on top!
Seriously, you don’t need to do much more to it than this. The earthy kale, sweet onions and tangy tomatoes all work so beautifully together that you don’t need much in the way of extra seasoning. Feel good about that! I love when natural flavors speak for themselves. It’s refreshing and comforting at the same time. I’d still try it with quinoa and spinach, too. How can you go wrong?
As for the pumpkin, that will be making an appearance again soon. Maybe as pancakes…or pumpkin seed brittle…or pumpkin walnut cake. I’m going a-pickin’ tomorrow, I’ll be sure to post pictures and a variety of ways you can roast the seeds!