This vegan kale salad with pumpkin and parmesan was prepared by my dad for our family brunch. It’s a hearty and comforting salad with layers of flavor: first from the massaged lemony kale, roasted pumpkin, toasted almonds and last but not least a crunchy vegan breadcrumb parmesan.
The original recipe is from Norther Spy Food co restaurants, it’s their famous simple kale salad. We found the recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks: Food52 Genius Recipes. My dad veganized the salad with a few tweaks to to suit our tastebuds better! Hope you’ll love it too.
How to make a good vegan kale salad?
The main ingredients are minimal, and good matching of flavors is the key. And then adding something contrasting to the flavor profile like sweet pear, crisp apple or pomegranate.
It’s no secret kale loves a massage. I learnt this trick about five years ago when I first started eating kale in other ways than just smoothies. I usually massage kale leaves with olive oil and lemon juice and then add a pinch of salt for flavor. The longer the massage, the softer the leaves will become. I like mine to have crunch left.
Choose vegetables wisely!
And by wisely I mean choose seasonally for maximum flavor. Kabocha or butternut squash or any winter squash is suggested in the original recipe but pumpkin would of course work too. In the summer time I would use something different, perhaps roasted tomatoes for an umami kick.
There is one element which always add a level of “fancy” without too much work: toasting or roasting nuts! In the original Northern Spy Food co recipe almonds are roasted in the oven. My dad toasted chopped almonds in a pan with a drop of oil (this can be done in a dry pan too).
Add a salty element!
The original recipe calls for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. As we don’t have a good vegan version of cheddar here, my dad prepped a vegan breadcrumb parmesan. The recipe for this is loosely based on Jamie Oliver’s toasted breadcrumbs
Add a sweet element!
Adding fruit to a savory salad is always a great idea. Finnish pear was in season at the time of making the salad, that’s what we chose. And it was the perfect sweet choice bringing together all salty and lemony elements. If I didn’t have pear, I would’ve chosen either crisp apples, sweet persimmons or beautiful pomegranate jewels.
Vegan brunch in the forest
The theme of our family brunch was Cookbooks we love. We chose recipes from two Finnish cookbooks and from Food52 Genius Recipes and Jamie Oliver.
I usually never cook recipes exactly as they’re written especially when I need to veganize them first. Sometimes this means making more than a few adjustments, but still making sure the core of the original recipe stays the same.
These three family brunch recipes I shared earlier and all of these would be perfect for a Vegan Thanksgiving brunch or dinner:
Pumpkin Spice Latte Sheet Cake modified from Food52 Genius Recipes
Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie Parfait from Marita’s @myblissktchn cookbook Ruokaan rakastunut (Fallen in love with food).
Crunchy Oat Cookie Granola also from Marita’s cookbook.
I still have one recipe to share from our chilly but beautiful brunch: Pear cupcakes. Stay tuned for the delicious recipe ♥
Vegan kale salad with pumpkin and parmesan
- 300 g / 10,5 oz pumpkin or butternut squash Oil, salt and pepper to taste for roasting
- 100 g / 3,5 oz or 6 big leaves kale Little oil and lemon juice + salt to massage the kale
- 1/2 cups unsalted almonds
- 2 pears or apples Use any seasonal fruit
- Dressing: about 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp oil, salt to taste
Vegan breadcrumb parmesan
- 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs You can make breadcrumbs by toasting bread dry and crumbling it
- 4 small garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 428 F / 220 C.
- Chop pumpkin into small bite size pieces. Coat with a little oil, add salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 15-20 min or until pumpkin is soft. Toss pumpkins two times when roasting them.
- Tear kale into bite size pieces and massage pieces with oil and lemon juice until soft. Add pinch of salt.
- Toast almonds in a dry pan and chop them.
- Slice pears.
- Mix dressing ingredients.
- Warm oil in a pan and toast breadcrumbs in mid heat for about 5 min.
- Add chopped garlic and continue toasting for about 4 min.
- Take off heat. Add chopped parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and mix everything.
- To make the salad: combine kale, roasted pumpkin, toasted nuts, breadcrumb parmesan, pears and dressing. Enjoy!
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