I love eating salads throughout the year, no matter the season. When the weather starts to get a little too chilly for lettuce, I check the farmer’s market for heartier veggies that can thrive in the fall air and withstand a variety of dressings and toppings. The East End does not disappoint, offering varieties of kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, which all end up in my salads at some point. I recently picked some delicious and tender Lacinato kale for a hearty salad bowl. Lacinato kale (also called tuscan or dinosaur kale) is softer and sweeter than the typical curly green kale, making it perfect for salads. Just a single cup of kale nourishes us with Vitamins A, C, K, and antioxidants. Since kale leaves are a bit more tough than lettuce, I recommend massaging dressing into the kale leaves with your hands, or letting kale marinate in a dressing for 15-20 minutes prior to serving.
A heartier green salad means more substantial toppings, so I serve this salad with balsamic marinated steak and pan-roasted potatoes. This salad bowl is extremely versatile, so feel free to change up the cut of steak, or swap out the steak for chicken. I had some sweet potatoes that I needed to use up, but this salad would also be excellent with small chopped waxy potatoes or cubed butternut squash! Try my strawberry balsamic dressing recipe, or substitute your favorite vinaigrette.
Harvest Kale Salad Bowls with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
For the Marinade
8-12 oz. Flat-Iron Steak, Flank Steak, Skirt Steak, or Chicken Breast
1.5 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Soy Sauce
½ tsp. Garlic (about one small clove), minced
1.5 tsp. Honey
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
For the Kale Salad
1 Large Bunch Dino (Lacinato) Kale
¼ Cup Chopped Pecans
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Clove Garlic, Minced
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
½ Tbsp. Honey
¼ tsp. Salt (or more, to taste)
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
For the Hash
1.5 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Butter
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
3 Cups Sweet Potato, Potato, or Butternut Squash, chopped into ½ inch cubes
2 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
½ tsp. Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Paprika
Salt, to taste
2 tsp. Parsley, minced
Mix all marinade ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Lay the steak in the marinade and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, turning once so both sides have a chance marinate. *Note – if you are using chicken in lieu of beef, marinate for up to one hour.
While the steak is marinating, prepare the hash. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and chop onions and sweet potatoes (or potatoes or butternut squash). Heat an oven-safe stainless or cast iron pan on medium heat and add olive oil or butter. Once heated, add onion and smashed garlic. Stir occasionally until the onion begins to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add paprika, half of the black pepper, and a few dashes of salt, and stir. Transfer the pan to the oven and let the potatoes cook for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and stir with a spoon. Taste the potatoes/squash to see if they are done, and if not, place back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Once they are nicely roasted, remove from oven and stir in parsley and add salt to taste.
Prepare the steak by removing the steak from the marinade and patting it dry with a paper towel. In a pan (I used cast iron) on medium-high heat, add a little olive oil and once hot, add steak and let sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Carefully flip, cook for another 2 minutes, then transfer pan to the oven. Take the pan out when the steak reaches desired doneness. I like my steak medium-rare and usually remove it from the oven when the internal temperature is 125-130 degrees, but cook the steak to whatever temperature you feel most comfortable with. Let the steak rest for 15 minutes and slice thinly against the grain.
For the salad, wash and dry the kale. If the ribs/stalks of the kale are large, cut them out. Slice the kale thinly perpendicular to the stalks. To make the dressing, add 3 strawberries, balsamic, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic to a high-speed blender and blend until everything is combined. Add the desired amount of dressing to the kale and massage the dressing and kale together with your hands. Slice remaining strawberries and add to the salad along with pecans. Arrange salad bowls with salad on the bottom, and then steak and hash. Garnish with parsley and more dressing, if desired.