Sometimes, to be honest perhaps most times, on a 5-2 fast day I crave a substantial plate of food. Something I can look forward to and makes me feel like I am not really fasting at all. On days like these I turn to kale. Its rustic, robust leaves effortlessly fill my plate.
I’m a relative newcomer to the delights of kale, having only discovered last summer how sweet, silky and deliciously addictive it an be in this post. The secret to transforming those verdant sturdy leaves into something moreishly delicious is really rather simple. A quick massage with just a little olive oil, lemon and garlic eliminates all hint of the grassiness and biting bitterness so often associated with sturdy greens.
This Autumn I’m pairing my kale leaves with the big bold flavours of roasted pumpkin and beetroot chips. The natural sweetness of the dish perfectly offset by the addition of salty grilled haloumi. The result? A large inviting 319 calorie salad that fills my plate and brightens up an otherwise dreary day.
Shredded Kale Salad With Grilled Haloumi, Roast Pumpkin And Beetroot Crisps
Serves 4 (319 calories per generous plateful serve)
3 cups butternut pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, sliced into chunks (90 calories)
2 medium sized (about 175g) beetroot, washed, peeled and very thinly sliced using a mandolin (74 calories)
1 large bunch kale, rinsed and dried, ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise (about 500g shredded weight) (250 calories)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (240 calories)
180g block haloumi cheese (612 calories)
finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of half lemon (6 calories)
1 garlic clove, grated (4 calories)
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Line three baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
PLACE pumpkin in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with half a tablespoon olive oil and season with a generous pinch of sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
TOSS gently to coat, then arrange in a single layer on a lined tray.
DRIZZLE half a tablespoon olive oil into a large shallow bowl. Add 2 generous pinches of sea salt. Stir to combine.
PLACE thinly sliced beetroot into the oiled bowl. Mix well to ensure each slice is coated with a little oil.
LAY the beetroot slices in a single layer on the remaining two oven trays.
PLACE trays of pumpkin and beetroot into the preheated oven at the same time. BAKE the pumpkin, turning once, for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and aside to cool a little.
BAKE the beetroot for about 30 minutes. Halfway through baking turn the slices over and rotate the oven position of the trays. The beetroot will begin to crisp from the outside in. Baking time will vary depending on your oven and how thinly the beetroot has been sliced. Check the beetroot often towards the end of their baking time to make sure they are not beginning to burn.
TURN off the oven when beetroot is baked, leaving the trays in the oven to allow the beetroot slices to continue to crisp up in the warm oven as you prepare the kale and grill the haloumi.
PLACE thinly sliced kale in a very large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, garlic, freshly squeezed juice and finely grated zest of half a lemon. Add a generous pinch of sea salt and massage with your fingertips for two or three minutes until kale is shiny and well-coated. The leaves should be a little darker in colour and volume decreased by a third. Set aside.
HEAT a griddle pan until smoking. Slice haloumi cheese into 10 -12 thick rectangular slices.
GRILL haloumi slices on both sides until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly as you start to assemble the salad.
TO ASSEMBLE SALAD arrange dressed kale in an even layer over the base of a large serving platter.
TOP with cooled roasted pumpkin chunks, beetroot crisps and grilled haloumi. Serve.