Did you ever notice that often, the “sidekick” is just as entertaining as the main character? George Constanza from Seinfeld? Donkey from Shrek? Dwight Schrute from The Office? All so so good! Here’s another side that will never let you down! Za’atar Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale? What? Read on…
You all know I just published a brilliant Buddha Bowl recipe with Sweet Potatoes and Kale, right? That bowl was downright de-lic-ious! I had a few extra sweet potatoes and, after learning how to soften up the kale a bit, I was game to try a new variety. So I found this recipe on Epicurious and bought myself some Sumac, and whipped it up in no-time flat. I’m here to tell you, this is a side dish with some serious Main Course Vibes! It’s a standout!
Now, I’ve seen Sumac listed in recipes before, but have never purchased or used it. After trying it in this Sweet Potato Kale masterpiece, Sumac has earned a permanent spot in my spice drawer! Sumac is a super-flavorful spice, providing a tart, fruity, citrus-y taste. Combined with toasted sesame seeds and herbs (such as thyme or oregano), it creates Za’atar, often used in Midddle-Eastern cuisine. Such flavor! Seriously! Where’s it been all my life?
I used two different varieties of sweet potatoes here – a garnet and a Japanese Sweet Potato, so you can use any type you like or whatever your local grocery carries. Like I mentioned, I felt so good about the kale I used in my Buddha Bowl recipe, I decided to try a newer (to my grocery) variety, the Lacinato (or Tuscan) Kale. I have to say, although the flavor of this kale was a bit sweeter and milder, it was a little more difficult to tenderize with a squeeze of citrus and some salt. So, if, like me, you aren’t completely charmed by the texture of kale, it’s safer to go with the lighter colored, leafier varieties. I served this side with some simply-prepared salmon for a quick, healthy and utterly satisfying dinner.
This Sweet Potato Kale dish is nobody’s sidekick! I’d gladly add an egg, chicken slices, or some sautéed tofu to make it a main dish. I enjoyed it warm as well as cold the next day. I’ll be adding it to my favorite list of sides. So, tell me, who’s your favorite sidekick? I’m going to bet that once you try this Za’atar Sweet Potato Kale dish, it will be on your favorites list, too!
If you like sweet potatoes, be sure to check out my Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup, or the Autumn Buddha Bowl I mentioned earlier. And, if you love Vegan recipes, don’t forget Anthony Bourdain’s Brilliant Beet Salad! So yummy!
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Za’atar Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale
Adapted from a recipe I found on Epicurious, from the book One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane, this side dish is so delicious you’ll want to make it a main dish. That’s easy, just add your favorite protein – an egg, some sautéed tofu, chicken slices. It’s a dish that tastes good and is so healthy!
The Za’atar is easy to make, too! It’s a spice mix that will definitely make its way to other dishes in your kitchen, guaranteed!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 35 min
- Yield: 2-4 Servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
For the Za’atar:
- 1 T Sesame Seeds
- 1 T Sumac
- 2 t Dried Thyme
- 1/4 t Sea Salt (Kosher is fine, too!)
For the Vegetables:
- 2 Medium-to-large Sweet Potatoes (any color)
- 4 T Olive oil, divided
- 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
- 1 Bunch Kale, any type, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Lemon or lime
- Large pinch salt
Prehaeat oven to 400F.
Make the Za’atar:
- In a small pan, toast sesame seeds in a small pan over medium heat, until lightly browned. Stir occasionally. Pour into a small bowl to cool.
- Combine the cooled seeds with sumac, thyme and salt. Set sumac aside.
Prepare the Kale:
- Chop the kale into small pieces. Place in a bowl. Squeeze lemon or lime over the greens and toss with a pinch of salt. Set aside while you prepare potatoes.
Prepare the Potatoes:
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment or coat with oil.
- Fill a Medium (3-4 qt) saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil.
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1” cubes. Add to water, and parboil (cook partially) 5-7 minutes until they are just beginning to soften. Drain. Transfer to a bowl.
- Toss potatoes with 1 1/2 T olive oil and 1 T Za’atar seasoning until coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. They should be just starting to brown.
- Into the remaining Za’atar, pour 1 T Olive oil, or a bit more, as desired. Set aside.
Saute the Salad:
- In a large skillet, heat the 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the garlic. Saute about a minute, until it becomes fragrant. Add the greens and stir until they begin to soften. Add the sweet potatoes and heat everything a few more minutes.
- Plate the salad and then top with some of the Za’atar and oil mixture. Serve, passing any remaining Za’atar mixture at the table.
- Serving Size: 1/4 Recipe
Keywords: Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Za’atar, sumac
David @ Spiced says
You make a great point about sidekicks, Laura! My favorite sidekick is Donkey from Shrek. Hands down. (Or should I say hooves down?) He steals that movie, and I’ve been known to quote him quite a bit around here. Haha! Now this sweet potatoes + kale recipe sounds quite tasty. To be honest, I’ve never cooked with sumac. I’ll have to put it on the list!
Yes, David! We are all Donkey fans here, too. Although Puss in Boots actually has a vote, too! Love him. Face it, Shrek is iconic. So many good characters and lines. Hope you get the chance to cook with sumac, it transforms the menu for sure!
Kelly @ Kelly Lynn's Sweets and Treats says
The flavors in this dish sound amazing! This would be a yummy new side dish addition to Thanksgiving!
I agree, Kelly! It would add a little Zing! To the day! Great idea!
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I have Za’atar in my pantry and this sounds like a delicious recipe to try.
Thanks so much, Karen! Yes, I highly recommend this recipe! I’m planning on keeping Za’atar in my spice drawer permanently! Thank you for your visit!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
I actually have a jar of za’atar in the pantry and always forget about it. Maybe I need to make my own and get goin’ with this delicious dish! I could happily make a whole meal outta just this and be quite happy. Though, I bet a poached egg on top would be delish too 😉
#putaneggonit – one of my favorite hashtags, Dawn! A fantastic idea. Especially when there’s a bit of Za’atar involved! Thanks for visiting!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I’ve never tried sumac either but I’m adding it to my shopping list. Your description has me intrigued! And I’ll need it to try this recipe–it sounds like something I would make over and over for weeks. I LOVE sweet potatoes! Have a great week, Laura!
Thanks so much, Kelsie! I hope you get the chance to try it – I’m busy thinking of all the things I can cook with sumac! The list is pretty long…….thanks for visiting!
This sounds so good. We have lovely black kale in the market just now and sweet potatoes are in the cellar. Za’atar is setting in the spice cabinet, so I have absolutely no reason not to make this dish and will very soon.
Thanks, Ron! I hope you love at as much as we did! I’m looking forward to making it again myself! Thanks for visiting!
heather (delicious not gorgeous) says
this sounds like such a tasty side dish! plus, i’m still on a high from grabbing mini packs of sumac from a mediterranean restaurant i went to a few weeks ago, so you better bet that i’m turning that sumac into za’atar and sprinkling it on sweet potatoes and kale (:
Thanks, Heather! I need to find a good sumac source, maybe I should try a few restaurants, that’s a great idea! I’d be buying in bulk at this point, ha! Thank you for visiting!
Kelly | Foodtasia says
What a lovely flavor combination! It looks so delicious! Love how you added the za’atar – so yummy!
Thank you, Kelly! I think Za’atar is my new salt, it’s so so good!
All That I'm Eating says
I can just taste the za’tar with the sweet potatoes and I bet it’s delicious with the earthy kale.
Thanks, Caroline! Sweet potatoes and Kale are a fantastic combo, made even better with perfect spices! Thanks for visiting!
chef mimi says
You don’t have to convince me about side dishes, whether vegetables, grains, or legumes. They’re my favorite part of any meal, and definitely my favorite part of Thanksgiving! And yours is very pretty!
Thanks so much, Mimi! I’m a side girl, too, certainly for Thanksgiving!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I’ve never tried sumac either! You’ve sold me though. I think I’d really enjoy this, as a side dish OR a main!
Katherine – I hope you get the chance to try it! I really mean it when I say, “Where has this been all my life?” I hope you get the chance! Thanks for your visit!
Oh yes: my kind of office lunch. My kind of spices ! Thank you !
Thanks so much! It is perfect for an office lunch. It’s actually the right-size recipe for dinner then lunch next day! Thanks for visiting!