I’ve been in a major salad rut. Maybe it is the fact that I’ve eaten basically the same salad for 5 years or the change of seasons, but suddenly I want nothing to do with my normal spinach salad lunch. I’ve been experimenting with different lunches for the past few weeks and I just hit the salad jackpot. Seriously.
Massaged kale (yes massaged, more on that in a minute) with sweet butternut squash, tart and crunch pomegranate seeds, creamy white beans and a maple-dijon dressing….how can this possibly end badly?! Especially when you add the optional parmesan cheese. This salad is delicious and satisfying, especially as the weather turns cooler. I died and went to salad heaven today, and I’m okay with that.
Nutritionally, this salad is jam-packed. Kale and pomegranate are 2 of the most antioxidant-dense foods on the planet. The butternut squash and white beans aren’t too shabby either. You get an array of colors for a good variety of antioxidants and it is nutritionally balanced. Carbohydrates from the squash and beans, protein from the beans and cheese, fat from the olive oil and a heaping serving of vegetables from the kale.
A few tips before launching into the recipe:
1.Massaged Kale: Raw kale can be tough to chew and tough to digest but massaging it, literally, helps soften it and break down some of the fibrous portions. Spend 5 minutes working the dressing through the kale like you’re massaging it makes a world of difference
2. Finely Chopped Kale: Yes, you can chop the kale with a knife but kale is so big and unruly I prefer using kitchen shears. I put all the kale into a massive bowl and cut through all the kale multiple times with my kitchen scissors until I have a finely chopped bowl. Smaller pieces also make kale much more manageable both in chewing and digesting.
3. De-seeding a Pomegranate: Those delicious little seeds are really lodged inside the pomegranate. The easiest way to get to those jewels is to 1) Cut the pomegranate in half horizontal 2) Over a bowl, whack the outside of the pomegranate with a spoon. The seeds literally just shake out. Don’t do this wearing white because red juice WILL get on you.
- ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch cubes)
- ½ Tbs. olive oil
- ½ pound kale, cleaned & destemmed, finely chopped (see above)
- 1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pomegranate, deseeded
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast for vegan
- 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cubed butternut squash with ½ Tbs. olive oil and roast for 20 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil to make the dressing.
- Place kale in a large bowl. Pour half the dressing over and massage until soft.
- Assemble: add beans, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and cheese (if using).
- Toss and serve. Kale is hardy and will last for 2 days without getting soggy.
Bon Appetite. Spice up your winter salads this week 🙂