This vegan balsamic marinated kale, bulgar & roasted tomato salad makes the perfect light dinner or satisfying lunch. Roasted cherry tomatoes are served over a bed of balsamic-marinated kale and bulgar wheat. Feel free to dress it up with more toppings (think: nuts, seeds, diced avocado, etc.).
I’ve been on a roasted tomato kick for the last month, and I can’t seem to shake the craving. In addition to vibrantly decorating the surface this salad and lending an eye-catching pop of color to the pasta recipe I shared a couple weeks back, roasted tomatoes have been gracing many of my weeknight meals with their presence. And I don’t see this roasted tomato trend falling away from my dinner routine anytime soon, because I just can’t quit it.
I initially threw together this salad on a hunger-fueled whim. I had no intentions of sharing it here, but it turned out to be one of those happy kitchen moments when a last-minute meal turns into something worthy of chatting about. So after making it twice more and declaring it one of my favorite kale salads, I started to feel like I was holding out on you.
So without further ado, here it is in all of its marinated, veggie-licious glory…
To make it, you’ll start by roasting the tomatoes.
Simply toss a bunch of halved cherry and/or grape tomatoes with a dainty drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt, spread ’em out over a lined baking tray, and roast for 20-ish minutes until they’re golden, wrinkled, and tender.
While the tomatoes are roasting, you’ll cook up a bit of bulgar wheat. Bulgar is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially cooked, and it’s most commonly known for its starring role in Tabbouleh. To keep this recipe gluten-free, feel free to use quinoa instead.
As the bulgar cooks, thoroughly wash the kale (if you need a reminder why this is an important step, take a gander at this post) and whisk up the balsamic marinade. The “marinade” is made with four ingredients: balsamic vinegar, tamari/aminos, tahini, and pure maple syrup.
Once the marinade is ready, pour it over the torn kale leaves, roll up your sleeves, and get massaging. Between the acidity of the balsamic and the massaging, the kale begins to soften and gently wilt as it soaks up the marinade. Then, add the cooked bulgar and toss.
Divide the salad between bowls and top with the roasted tomatoes. You can also toss the tomatoes into the salad, but I love the look of those orange and yellow tones skimmed across the surface.
Balsamic Marinated Kale Salad with Bulgar & Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes (or a mix of both), halved
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup whole grain red bulgar*
- 1 cup filtered water
Balsamic Marinated Kale Salad
- 1 large batch curly kale, thoroughly washed and patted dry
- 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons runny tahini
- 1 tablespoon bragg's aminos or tamari, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Roasted Paprika Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss to coat and spread out into an even layer across the pan. Roast the tomatoes for 18 to 22 minutes or until they're tender, blistered, and just beginning to turn golden-brown on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool on pan.
For the Bulgar
- Combine the bulgar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Strain off excess water and fluff with a fork. Let cool.
For the Marinated Kale Salad
- Meanwhile, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces, discarding the stems. Add it to a large mixing bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, tahini, aminos or tamari, and maple syrup until emulsified.
- Pour as much of the dressing as desired over the kale, roll up your sleeves, and use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for 2 to 3 minutes or until the leaves begin to soften. The more you massage the kale, the more tender and flavorful it will become. Season with black pepper.
- Add the cooked bulgar to the kale salad and toss to coat.
- Divide between serving bowls or plates and top with the roasted tomatoes.