Autumn Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears

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The leaves in the mountain just above my house are an explosion of beautiful fiery reds and oranges. It’s official…it’s FALL!!!! I love this time of year.  There are many wonderful things about fall such as: two-thirds of my kids are in school, the windows stay open and let in cool night breezes and I get to light my pumpkin spice candle.  And one of the best parts is the food.  I try to cook and eat what’s in season and this time of year there are so many yummy, colorful things to eat.  So I may be getting a little carried away, but if that’s true then carry me away any day because this dish is the essence of fresh autumn cooking.  Just look at what’s in this warm side salad.  This is fancy enough for entertaining with a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled over top.  Plus you can grill up some chicken and toss in with it to make it a light dinner.

1 bunch kale, rinsed with stems removed and roughly chopped
1 bunch mustard greens, rinsed with stems removed and roughly chopped
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 shallot, chopped
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup raw walnuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil + 2-3 more tbsp. to cook the greens and potatoes
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 475.  Peal and cube the sweet potatoes and chop shallot.  Spread the potatoes and shallot out on a baking sheet sprinkled with red pepper flakes and drizzled with olive oil. Put it in the oven and get those babies roasting. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.  Until potatoes are soft with golden brown tan lines.

While your potatoes are getting a tan combine vinegar, honey and 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer.  Stir it often so it won’t burn, but just let it work while you prep the greens. It needs to reduce by half.  Once it has turn off the heat and let it cool.  It thickens as it cools.

Remove stems from kale and mustard greens by running a knife along the edge of the stem.  Roughly chop the greens while you heat a large skillet.  I threw the walnuts into the skillet to lightly toast them and bring out their flavor. When the walnuts are done put them in a separate bowl and on medium-low, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Dump all the greens in the hot pan, season with salt and put a lid on it.  Let them sweat for a few minutes before giving them a stir then put the lid back on.  Keep doing that until they are tender and wilted.

Now just toss all this goodness together in a large mixing bowl.  Top with sliced pears and drizzle with the thickened balsamic vinegar reduction. Serve immediately and don’t stop eating till it’s gone 🙂


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