Warm Sweet Potato, Kale, and Andouille Sausage Salad

When it comes to receiving gifts, I get giddy over a good surprise. When I’m asked to make a list of things I want formy birthday or Hanukkah, and everything I open is straight off the list, it’s never as exciting as a good surprise. (Note, this doesn’t apply if you get me exactly what I want without me giving any hints – like my husband did on Valentine’s Day with a spa gift certificate!) Maybe that makes me sound ungrateful, but I’d like to think that my friends and family know me and love me well enough to give a little thought to what would make me smile.

In return, I try my best to give thoughtful gifts without asking what the person wants. Because even though it would make them happy to receive just what they’ve asked for, they might be even happier getting exactly what they didn’t know they wanted. Don’t you love that kind of surprise?

Unfortunately, I’m not often surprised by food. I choose and create recipes based on ingredients and flavors I know I like, and I’m not afraid to try the things I like in new combinations. For example, I like pumpkin, beets, and lime so I’d probably like roasted pumpkin and beets on an arugula salad with a ginger-lime vinaigrette.

(Actually, that does sound a little weird. It might not be the best thing ever, but I’d probably enjoy it well enough because I like the individual ingredients.)

It’s rare that I decide to make something I’m not totally positive I’ll like, but that’s what I did with this warm skillet of sweet potato, kale, and andouille sausage.

It was born as a spin-off of EatingWell’s Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad, while I was looking for a way to use up some andouille chicken sausage leftover from my gumbo. I like the idea of a warm salad, but I didn’t think the arugula and white potatoes were the right fit for a smokey, spicier sausage. So I went with heartier kale for the greens, and sweet potatoes for a nicer contrast with the andouille sausage. I kept the maple-mustard vinaigrette, adding shallots, garlic, and a pinch of Cajun seasoning.

Even as I took my series of photos and I could see the colors and smell the flavors together, I still had a little fear of this being a total bust. What if kale and grainy mustard and sweet potatoes made absolutely no sense with spicy sausage? But as soon as fork arrived at mouth, I felt that same wonderful thrill of opening up a gift someone picked out just for you. Something you never would have picked out for yourself or didn’t realize you needed, but it’s exactly what you want.

Have you recently found yourself loving a meal more than you expected? What was it?

Warm Sweet Potato, Kale, and Andouille Sausage Salad
Printable Recipe
1/2 lb diced, peeled sweet potatoes
1 medium-sized bunch of kale
2 links andouille chicken sausage, such as Trader Joe’s brand
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
pinch of Cajun seasoning
salt, to taste

Place the sweet potatoes in a large, microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water. Cover and begin microwaving for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the kale to yield a half pound. Wash it, then add to the sweet potatoes in the microwave a few minutes into the cooking time.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Slice the chicken sausage thinly and add to the skillet, cooking until browned on both sides. When the potatoes and kale are finished steaming and the sausage is browned, add the sausage to the bowl with the potatoes and kale. Set aside.

Add the olive oil to the skillet, and cook the shallots and garlic for one or two minutes. Add the cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, and Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, kale, and sausage to the skillet and turn to coat and heat through. Season to taste with salt.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 387.2
Total Fat: 14.6 g
Cholesterol: 75.0 mg
Sodium: 1,146.8 mg
Total Carbs: 39.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.7 g
Protein: 25.7 g

And in other news, I received an award! It’s been a long time since that’s happened. The “Creative Writer” award comes from Nicole. Here’s the deal. I need to leave seven creative little-did-you-know’s about myself, but only one is true. The other six are false. I will leave it up to you to figure it out!

Here are my tidbits:

1) My sister is my best friend
2) My husband and I are high school sweethearts
3) My favorite game in gym class was kickball
4) I got certified to teach canoeing lessons
5) I’m a chocolate whore, but my favorite dessert of all time is apple crisp a la mode
6) I own the elusive purple Kitchenaid stand mixer
7) If it weren’t for the foodie blogosphere I wouldn’t be ridiculously obsessed with kale chips

Can’t wait to hear your guesses!

Now, let’s pass it on. Here are some bloggers I’d love to learn more about:

1) Jill of QuarterlifeWellness
2) Sophie of Yumventures
3) Lisa of The Pursuit of Happiness
4) Tyler of Raspberry Runner
5) Lucia of So, What are You Making for Dinner?
6) Dawn of Florida Coastal Cooking

Happy almost-Friday everyone!

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20 Responses to “Warm Sweet Potato, Kale, and Andouille Sausage Salad”

  1. 1

    katiehealthforthewholeself — March 11, 2010 @ 12:54 pm Reply

    Hmmmm this sounds delicious!I'm going to guess that you and your husband were high school sweethearts. :)

  2. 2

    yumventures — March 11, 2010 @ 2:08 pm Reply

    Thanks for the award! I'll have to do it this weekend =) Your meal looks incredible, I could tell just by the pictures that the flavors would work well together. This sounds silly, but in England we don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and growing up we always made fun of how gross it was! But when I moved here I tried it for the first time, and loved it! Who knew? =)

  3. 3

    Dawn — March 11, 2010 @ 2:12 pm Reply

    I printed this one off Cara! I'm planning to hit the farmers market on Saturday and they always have the most gorgeous Kale and of course I love all things sweet potato.

  4. 4

    Elina — March 11, 2010 @ 3:22 pm Reply

    This sounds really good!!! I'm saving it. Can't wait to make it :)

  5. 5

    quarterlifewellness — March 11, 2010 @ 3:32 pm Reply

    Yay!! I will def be doing this fun award soon! Also, I guess that you have the purple mixer, and if so I am sooooo jealous!!

  6. 6

    beeskneeslife — March 11, 2010 @ 5:56 pm Reply

    Awesome! I love when a recipe not only looks amazing, but I already have almost all the ingredients. Only thing I need is the kale!

  7. 7

    preventionrd — March 11, 2010 @ 8:40 pm Reply

    The savory sausage with the sweet squash — I can see where that dish would be a wow-factor!!I love those enchiladas I made last night! I wasn't impressed with the ingredient list, but the turnout — amazing!I think this is true: 6) I own the elusive purple Kitchenaid stand mixer

  8. 8

    grace — March 11, 2010 @ 9:04 pm Reply

    what a great post, cara! i love how you've compared your enjoyment of this dish to receiving an apt and unexpected gift–very clever. it looks like a winner of a dish to me!meanwhile, i don't have a clue which of your tidbits is true–they're all fully believable!

  9. 9

    Kerstin — March 12, 2010 @ 3:32 am Reply

    Mmm, that's my kind of dish – I love all the ingredients!

  10. 10

    sra — March 12, 2010 @ 11:37 am Reply

    Hi, came over from the vegan blog where you left a comment on my post! That's a really bright salad, would love to taste it.I've received some v thoughtful gifts myself so I know what you mean.

  11. 11

    Lucia from Madison — March 15, 2010 @ 9:26 am Reply

    Wow I have never received an award for anything! I will work on my list this week, something to think about on the commute. And I love this recipe. I would like to introduce more kale in our diet.Thanks Again!

  12. 12

    Dawn — March 15, 2010 @ 1:35 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh I just saw the award! Thank you SO much! I will do a post about it. I guess that the true one is number five? (I couldn't decide between five and seven).

  13. 13

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — March 15, 2010 @ 9:55 pm Reply

    Love this meal – the flavors, the colors, the combination of the ingredients, everything! I'm a big fan of chicken sausage; I would have used the same substitution. And pairing the sausage with the maple-mustard vinaigrette sound amazing!

  14. 14

    kermiefrg — March 16, 2010 @ 12:00 am Reply

    Wow, thanks for the award! I feel so honored! ::blush::I'll definitely be checking out your upcoming passover posts for some new ideas!-Lisa

  15. 15

    Mom on the Run — March 16, 2010 @ 3:33 am Reply

    I must make this dish. All flavor combinations that I love. Great blog!

  16. 16

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — April 5, 2011 @ 1:16 am Reply

    Love this meal – the flavors, the colors, the combination of the ingredients, everything! I'm a big fan of chicken sausage; I would have used the same substitution. And pairing the sausage with the maple-mustard vinaigrette sound amazing!

  17. 17

    sra — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    Hi, came over from the vegan blog where you left a comment on my post! That's a really bright salad, would love to taste it.I've received some v thoughtful gifts myself so I know what you mean.

  18. 18

    Kerstin — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    Mmm, that's my kind of dish – I love all the ingredients!

  19. 19

    Kathryn — November 6, 2011 @ 4:07 pm Reply

    Super yummy – so much so that I had both servings for dinner last night. I shared your recipe on my blog http://katseasykitchen.com/2011/11/06/warm-sweet-potato-kale-and-andouille-sausage-salad-from-caras-cravings/ and blogher.com site. Of course I fully credited you as the source!

  20. 20

    Kathryn — November 6, 2011 @ 4:07 pm Reply

    Super yummy – so much so that I had both servings for dinner last night. I shared your recipe on my blog http://katseasykitchen.com/2011/11/06/warm-sweet-potato-kale-and-andouille-sausage-salad-from-caras-cravings/ and blogher.com site. Of course I fully credited you as the source!

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