Here’s a salad that won’t leave you feeling hungry 15 minutes after eating it. It’s bursting color, texture, and loads of nutrition. Prep the ingredients ahead of time and you have yourself some mighty fine lunches during the week!
While the dressing has nutritional yeast in it, it doesn’t taste “cheesy” as it normally does in other recipes but gives the dressing a really nice umami depth of flavor. If you’re making this ahead of time, keep the dressing and avocado out until serving so things don’t get soggy.
Perhaps because I grew up in a small rural community where a salad often meant a garnish of iceberg lettuce, a slice of cucumber and a wedge of tomato, I’ve never been super excited about it but salads like this one have totally changed my mind. I love salads that have a bit of crunch, a decent source of protein and calories, some freshness, something that makes me feeling energized after eating it, not hungry for something else. Full meal salads like this are easy to prep for a week’s worth of packed lunches, too. Keep the dressing and avocado separate until serving time so things don’t get soggy and brown.
While the dressing has nutritional yeast in it, it doesn’t taste “cheesy” as it normally does in other recipes but gives it a really nice umami depth of flavor. The first time I tried a dressing with nutritional yeast in it was at a not-for-profit learning center on Cortez Island called Hollyhock. It’s such a unique place tucked along the ocean where experts from all disciplines come to share their knowledge with small classes. The center has accommodations and the food is all made on-site three times a day with a lot of the produce coming from their expansive garden. My husband and I had bid on a Hollyhock accommodation package at a fundraiser and had the highest bid. We were so excited, and it was such a cool experience we likely wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. It’s there that I tried their Yeast Dressing. It was creamy, salty, garlicky, a bit nutty, and had a strong umami flavor. I swear I could have drank it right from the bottle and I knew I had to recreate it at home. I wouldn’t limit it to salads either, it’s nice in Buddha bowls, on potatoes, dipping bread in….well, you get the idea! It’s not like any other dressing I’ve ever tried, and I hope you love it, too!
Roasted Beet, Kale and Lentil Salad with Golden Dressing, Avocado, Toasted Almonds and Pepitas
For the Salad:
- 1 bunch curly green kale, de-veined and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 bunch Redbor Kale, de-veined and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 roasted beets, chilled & diced (See Notes on roasting)
- 1 ½ cups Beluga lentils, cooked (See notes on cooking)
- 1-2 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
For the Dressing:
- ½ cup olive or neutral oil (e.g. avocado or oil)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari for GF)
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- In a blender, add all of the dressing ingredients and process until smooth.
- If you like your kale raw, place it in a large bowl and massage it to soften. Conversely if you like it lightly cooked: In a wok or large skillet over high heat and stirring constantly, dry sauté the kale (in batches if the skillet isn't large enough) adding only 2-3 tbsp of water to prevent the kale from drying out and JUST until it brightens up and wilts a bit (this doesn't take more than a minute or so). Place the kale in a large bowl with the beets and lentils. Toss gently. When you are ready to serve the salad, gently toss in the avocado, almonds and pepitas and drizzle the dressing in to taste (you might not use the whole batch, save the rest in a lidded jar in the fridge.