Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

I hate going to the DMV. It’s such a disaster. I spent the entire day Friday trying to change my name and most of it waiting at the DMV. I first went to the Social Security office where the person behind the counter apologized multiple times for my long 30 minute wait. Dude, 30 minutes is nothing! If every time I went to take care of some obligatory government-type business it only took 30 minutes, I’d be stoked.

The DMV is another story. I proceeded to the nearest office and, preparing myself for the worst, walked inside where there was barely even any standing room. People were yelling and pushing and right then I knew something was up. An announcement was made that the system is down and they didn’t know when it was going to be up again so everyone would just have to wait. Seeing the growing anger rise in peoples’ faces, I decided to get the hell out of there and treat myself to some lunch.

Thirty minutes later with a full belly, it was time to try this again, but no way was I going back to that same office. I found another DMV and proceeded to wait over 2 hours for a task that took about 2 minutes. I will never understand why this has to be so complicated. Ah well. I guess such is the way.

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

We are now halfway through November and well on our way to Thanksgiving. It seems like summer was just yesterday and Halloween barely even happened. Since Thanksgiving is one of the biggest food holidays of the year, I decided to take the whole month of November to celebrate it. So far I’ve made a dessert, side dishes, stuffed tenderloin and a couple of satisfying casseroles. There are still some necessaries to share with you including an amazing dressing and my famous mushroom gravy but today is all about the salad.

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

I wanted to capture all the warm coziness of autumn in this salad that can be eaten warm or cold. I also wanted to pack it full of nutritious goodness because, well, I know we’re splurging but there will be leftovers and these are the ones I want to keep. There is always at least one vegetarian at our annual event and possibly even a vegan too so I try to make things everyone can enjoy. This salad is hearty enough to stand out as the star in any regular meal and will please both veggies and carnivores alike.

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

Now kale is sometimes a controversial green. Many people don’t like it because they find it too tough and fibrous. There is a solution to this dilemma though! Here are a few things you can do to tenderize your kale: 1) steam it, 2) toss it in olive oil and let it sit overnight, and 3) give it a good massage. I chose option 3 for this salad because I wanted to keep as much of the nutrients in it as possible and I didn’t want to add any extra unnecessary calories from dousing it in oil.

Like any good masseuse, you want to rub the fibrous knots right out of those leaves so they become tender and supple. Just remove the leaves from the woody stalk, chop them up into bite-sized pieces and start rubbing between your fingers until the color darkens, the leaves release moisture and they feel silky.

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

The other main ingredient in this salad is winter squash. You can use any winter squash you like. I used a combination of butternut and tutti frutti. Squashes like tutti frutti, kabocha and delicata are easy options because they have a thinner skin that doesn’t require any peeling like butternut and acorn. Use whatever squash you like, though. Just be sure to peel it before roasting if needed.

This salad has my favorite taste combo of sweet and savory. You can also feel good that you are getting tons of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants with the kale, squash, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. So go ahead and have that larger piece of pie.

 Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

www.barbaracooks.com

Servings: 8 • Size: 2/3 cup • Weight Watcher Points+: 6

Calories: 200 • Fat: 14g • Carbs: 17g • Fiber: 4g • Protein: 5g

Sugars: 6g • Sodium: 147mg • Cholesterol: 0mg

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 6 cups cubed winter squash
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 bunch (12 ounces) kale
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 scallion, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey*
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

* Some vegans do not eat honey in which case it can be replaced with 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, nutmeg and thyme. Spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, remove the leaves of the kale from the tough stalk. Chop the kale into bite-sized pieces and massage them together with your fingers until they become darker, release moisture and feel silky. Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the roasted squash, walnuts and pomegranate seeds*.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together. Pour into the salad and toss to coat.

*If you want to serve the salad warm, microwave it on medium-high, 2-3 minutes and add the pomegranate seeds after heating.

Autumn Squash & Kale Salad

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Hi! I'm Barbara and yes, I cook! Welcome to my world of mouth-watering delicious food that you don't have to feel guilty about.
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