healthy + seasonal recipes that are gluten & dairy-free

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

It makes me so happy to see good things happening to good people. My heart swells with happiness when a friend who has worked so hard to start her own business is doing incredibly well, when a truly lovely and perfectly-matched couple becomes engaged, and when I hear that life is generally turning around for the better for another friend who has had a rough go this last year.

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan) - My Natural Kitchen

I'm just basking in this rosy glow today, after a weekend spent with one of my closest friends shortly after she celebrated her one year anniversary of opening her gorgeously-curated shop and after a day spent visiting with recently-engaged friends during their short jaunt to Ontario (I'm so happy they had a day free to come have lunch and wander around with me!). Actually, their visit was just the reason I opted to take a vacation day from work and spend a slow morning baking bread, roasting beets, and making up a lovely lunch for this early-Autumn day which actually feels more summery than most have around here lately.

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan) - My Natural Kitchen
Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan) - My Natural Kitchen
Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan) - My Natural Kitchen

As my kitchen filled with the wafting aromas of a crusty loaf and earthy beets, and I leisurely set my table for three, my mind wandered to all the great things that I get to vicariously celebrate. Happy thoughts breed more happy thoughts, and these rose-coloured glasses feel quite comfortable as we approach a weekend of home improvement at the DesRoches home. As our third home anniversary just passed, we are putting new tile down in our entrance and kitchen. The thought of this alone makes me giddy with excitement! Gone will be the days of kicking together the separating planks of poorly-installed, water-damaged laminate flooring (the damage is slight but obvious if you look closely - certainly, there are better options for areas of a home prone to spills and wet shoes!) and we both are looking forward to that! Our timeline will have us approaching Thanksgiving, the absolute favourite holiday of the year in our home. 

I know it's only barely September, and it really is quite hot outside, but I'm so ready for wooly sweaters, roasted root veggies, and steamy apple cider. All things Fall ... starting with this salad, which I think might be on permanent rotation for me as my farmer's market has piles of beets, kales, and loads of local maple syrup right now. This salad actually was inspired by a local restaurant, and I order it there a lot. I just knew I had to try to recreate my own version! A few differences exist between the two - I used balsamic to roast my beets, which I love with the earthy flavour. I think my dressing is a close match to theirs, but I'm not quite sure what they use! I also added pepitas and sunflower seeds to the hemp hearts in the original. It was a hit with my lunch guests, and I hope you give it a try to! 

As for the bread, I used this recipe, with a few substitutions: I used brown rice flour in place of both the buckwheat and quinoa flours, maple instead of honey, and grapeseed oil rather than avocado oil. 

Happy September, lovely people! 

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan) - My Natural Kitchen

Balsamic-Roasted Beets & Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing (gluten free, vegan, grain-free, nut-free)

Serves 4 as a side, or 2 for a light lunch. Curly kale varieties are better than flat (black/Dinosaur) kale for this one.

for the beets:

550 g (about 3-4 medium-sized) beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2" wedges

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Toss the beets with other ingredients to coat, and spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

for the dressing:

2 tbsp tahini 

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp warm water

1 tbsp olive oil

a pinch of sea salt

Combine the tahini, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and water in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, and stir in salt. 

for the salad:

about 6 cups of kale, torn into small pieces (I used a mix of leafy purple kale and baby kale)

2 tbsp hemp hearts

1 tbsp pepitas

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Massage about 2 tbsp of dressing into kale - rubbing the dressing into the leaves for just a few minutes - which softens the kale fibres and makes it more easily digestible. Add remaining dressing and mix through. Top with roasted beets and mixed seeds, and serve. 

Note: this salad will keep well in the fridge for about a day once combined with the dressing.



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