This won’t be so much a recipe as much as a reflection on the power of keeping things basic. This side dish is so elegantly simple it comes out great even when you make multiple so-called mistakes. While there are cooks out there seeking the perfect consistency of their mashed potatoes using special tools, other people are busy playing with their kids and end up steaming veggies for “a while”. A chef will practice hundreds of iterations of a recipe trying to find the right balance of salt and spice, and normal people occasionally forget the salt entirely. With flavorful kale and sweet potato as the stars, this recipe will take whatever you throw (or don’t throw) at it. And it’s mighty nutritious.
This dish is borne of those days when I was home alone while Amy worked evenings, years ago. A few key factors were at play: I needed something to eat and wanted it to be healthy. I had recently learned how to make a sweet potato pie and had a leftover bowl of unused, steamed blocks of sweet potato. Kale turned out to be a dark leafy green that I loved. And we didn’t have anything else to eat in the house.
The planets aligned that night! I heated up the sweet potatoes, sauteed some lazily chopped up kale in some water, and mixed it all together and watched something on Netflix (back when we got DVDs, if you can remember those). And brothers and sisters, surely I did devour that slop.
Kale and sweet potatoes belong together. Rich in vitamins, strong secondary colors, and capable of a texture even a kid can gobble down. The only thing missing from these two star vegetables is your fork.
I know this dish could be made much richer with the addition of such luxuries as butter, cheese, stock, cream, onion, pepper, thyme… and maybe a secret ingredient? No, this is not the hippest bistro in all of Paris, this is a farm kitchen and sometimes it’s good–no, great–to taste the gifts of the earth as they are.
Mashed Kale Sweet Potatoes recipe
- 1 lb kale
- 3 lb sweet potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into ½ inch cubes.
2. Using a steam basket or mesh sieve or whatever you like for steaming, steam the sweet potatoes for around 15 minutes, or until they are soft when you poke them with a fork or smash them with tongs or something fun like that.
3. While the sweet potatoes are steaming, pull or cut the kale from the stalks, and chop the leaves up into shreds. You want the pieces to be fairly small, but don’t worry too much about it.
4. In a frying pan large enough to hold all of the raw kale pieces, throw in the kale and about 2 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the leaves, if desired.
5. Set to medium heat and cover, letting the kale steam for about 5 minutes, until it is vibrantly green and soft.
6. When both the kale and sweet potatoes are finished, place them in a large bowl and mush them up real nice with a potato masher, fork, or immersion blender. You could also use your food processor, but then you’ll have to clean it, boo.
7. Adjust salt and season with pepper as desired. Serve while it’s still warm!
Looking for more recipes for your holiday dinner? We pulled together a complete menu with easy to prepare, local recipes that showcase farm raised ingredients in their pure form. Click here to take a look!