Spiralized sweet potato noodles tossed with spices and baked until crisp around the edges are superb in this sweet potato and kale salad with a creamy miso cashew dressing.
I'm always looking for excuses to get out my spiralizer, and I'd have to say sweet potatoes (orange kumara) are my #1 vegetable of choice to turn into a big glorious mountain of vegetable noodles.
They have the perfect texture for the job, not as crunchy as carrots but firmer than zucchini. They hold their form well once cooked and, well, more spirals + more orange kumara = happy days.
For this salad I tossed my kumara noodles with olive oil and a heady spice mix of toasted coriander and cumin seeds, turmeric and a touch of ground cinnamon. I toasted and ground the coriander and cumin myself for maximum flavour and a little more texture, but if you only have pre-ground coriander or cumin that's ok too. It'll still taste great.
I roasted the kumara noodles in a hot oven until they were cooked, soft in some places and crispy and browned in others. Piled high on a bed of orange juice dressed baby kale, with wedges of orange and a creamy dressing, they made for a visually stunning and incredibly delicious salad.
The dressing is inspired by Japanese kewpie mayonnaise. Soaked cashews blended with water, shiro miso (white miso paste), rice vinegar and a little sesame oil create a beautifully creamy, subtley flavoured dressing that is a very close approximation to light and slightly sweet kewpie mayo. I enjoyed this same dressing with a sushi bowl of rice, tempeh, red peppers, homemade furikake seasoning and sriracha for lunch a few days ago and it was a knockout there too.
You'll need to think ahead and soak your cashews to make your dressing. If you have a high speed blender, a two hour soak will be fine, otherwise soak them from first thing in the morning (or overnight if you remember). Soaking the nuts in water makes them easier to digest and their nutrients more absorbable by your body. It also makes them soft and easy to blend, which is what you want here.
This makes quite a satisfying light meal on its own, and would also be wonderful served as a side dish with grilled tofu or tempeh.
For the miso cashew dressing:
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (or minimum two hours if you have a high speed blender)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon shiro miso (white miso paste, check label if gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
For the salad:
- 1 large sweet potato (orange kumara)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Half a bag/3-4 cups/approx. 60g baby kale (I used baby cavolo nero or lacinato kale)
- 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoon black sesame seeds (approximate, optional)
For the miso cashew dressing:
- Drain and rinse cashews, then add all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides from time to time if needed.
- Pour into a sealed container and refrigerate until needed.
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 220C (430F) fanbake.
- Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frypan for a few minutes until lightly coloured and fragrant. Tip into a mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder, add turmeric, cinnamon and salt, then grind together until all of the whole seeds are broken up and the spice mix is well combined.
- Peel and spiralize your sweet potato, then transfer to a high sided roasting tray.
- Drizzle olive oil over the sweet potato noodles, then use your hands to toss them and coat evenly in the oil. Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over the sweet potato noodles, then use your hands to toss again until the spice mix is evenly distributed.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, using tongs to stir once or twice to ensure they cook evenly and don't burn. You want them to be softened and cooked, with some crispy bits here and there.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Assemble your salad by tipping baby kale leaves into a large salad bowl. Slice one orange in half, and use one of the halves to squeeze juice over the baby kale leaves and toss together. Squeeze the other half over the sweet potato noodles, before spreading them over the baby kale.
- Slice the other orange into pieces (skin on or off, whatever shape you like) and add to the salad bowl.
- Garnish with black sesame seeds and a generous drizzle of miso cashew dressing.
- Serve with more miso cashew dressing, as required.
- Serves 2-4, depending on appetite and sides.