Kale Butternut Squash Salad with Beans, Cranberries and Nuts
Serves 2 as a main meal
If you’ve cooked the squash slices ahead, this salad comes together very quickly. It also keeps well in the refrigerator for a day; just save the cranberries, nuts and orange zest to add right before serving. I like it better at room temperature than too cold.
For the Salad:
1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, sliced in half, seeded, and cut crosswise into ¼” slices
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp Moroccan spice blend (not harissa)
1 large shallot (both halves), peeled and sliced thinly
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large bunch fresh kale, stemmed and cut into ½” slices
4 oz cooked beans of your choice (I like Red Hidatsa, Borlotti, or Pinto)
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds or pecans, lightly toasted (or a combination)
¼ cup organic dried cranberries infused with fruit juice or honey
For the Vinaigrette:
1 tsp Dijon
Juice and zest from ½ orange (about ¼ cup of juice)
2 Tbsp mild extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash slices with some olive oil, the garlic, and the spice blend. Toss the shallot with olive oil. Drape the shallot slices across one end of the pan, spreading evenly in a single layer. Scatter the squash slices in a single layer on the remaining part of the pan, leaving plenty of room between them to allow for browning and not steaming. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Turn squash slices over and stir shallots. Roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Turn oven down to 300°.
- Make the vinaigrette while the vegetables are in the oven. Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Check the flavor by trying a bit with a kale leaf, then adjust seasonings to your taste.
- Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Spread the nuts on the pan and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, checking carefully to prevent burning.
- Assemble the salad. Place the kale leaves in a large mixing bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the leaves then grab handfuls and massage them roughly to break down the fibers. After a minute or two, the coarse leaves will be soft and silky, and will decrease in volume.
- Add the cooled squash, shallots, beans, and cranberries and toss. Arrange on a serving platter or individual bowls or plates. Sprinkle with nuts and orange zest and serve.
- If you have a large squash, you can slice and cook the entire squash, then save the extra slices for later use. Layer them between parchment or waxed paper then place in a bag and freeze them for quick additions to salads and soups.
- Beans can also be prepared in advance in large batches and frozen. Take out only what you need and either steam them or thaw in warm water. This is a great way to add a bit of protein and fiber to sautés, soups and salads.
- You can buy pre-made spice blends or make your own. Here are a couple options for you: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/moroccan-seasoning-mix-141053; https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/moroccan-spice-blend-109356
p.s. I made this salad for dinner last night and it’s so filling, I think you can get 3 lighter meals out of this recipe.