Kale and sweet potato salad with maple-candied onions

Comfort salad for a rainy day. Sunflower seeds not pictured.
Comfort salad for a rainy day. Sunflower seeds not pictured.

I wanted to put “Fast, Fresh, Healthy” into the title, but since the onions are caramelized in maple syrup and butter I thought “healthy” was a bit of a stretch.  At least this is a  fast and easy sweet potato and kale salad that has a nice contrast of soft and crunchy, sweet and salty. Also, kale and sweet potatoes are two things that are somewhat in season right now, and since the rain is falling and the wind is blowing outside our house I can honestly appreciate this comfort food salad for its mood-lifting properties.

Ingredients:
1 large bunch of flat-leaf kale, washed, center stems removed, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion
2 large red garnet sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Salted sunflower seeds (optional)

Method:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees f.

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Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into cubes roughly 1 inch cubes. Toss the sweet potato cubes with the olive oil and thyme until completely coated with the oil, then spread out in a baking dish and roast in the oven until the cubes are soft, but not mushy (after about 20 minutes you’ll need to check frequently).

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While they are roasting, thinly slice the onion into rounds or half-rounds.  In a nonstick pan, sauté the onions in the butter until they begin to soften, then add the brown sugar and maple syrup, sautéing on medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates and the onions become translucent, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.  Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, combine with the onions in a large bowl and let everything cool down for about 10 minutes (don’t bother mixing anything yet because the more the sweet potatoes are handled the greater the chances they will become mushy). Put a little olive oil in a pan and cook your already washed and chopped kale until it is coated with the oil and just starts to wilt (about 5 minutes). Don’t let the kale become soggy! Combine with the sweet potatoes and onions, gently stir with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly distributed, add some salt and pepper or sunflower seeds to taste, and enjoy!

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