Not a big kale fan? This kale salad recipe might just change your mind!
I used to be afraid of kale. It just seemed so healthy, and–I am going to go ahead and say it–boring and tasteless. So why would anyone try it? For me, when I first tried kale it was hidden in salads, most specifically in a salad at one of my favorite eating establishments for the last 35 years of my life, Houston’s. Houston’s has an incredible kale salad with peanut dressing. That salad was the “gateway drug” that led me to try kale not only in salads, but also in other dishes like in soups and sauces.
And now? I always have kale in my refrigerator so I can toss it in a dish. I crave the crunch and slight bitterness, and yes, I feel better–and healthier–when I eat it. Which leads me to the subject of this post; I would like to introduce you to my favorite kale salad recipe: kale salad with blackberries and roasted butternut squash with a Dijon maple syrup dressing from fitfoodiefinds.com. It is one that I make on a regular rotation because it is filled with many ingredients that are easy to find year round and are tasty in their own right: blackberries, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and goat cheese.
One important trick to remember for any kale salad recipe is that it needs to be massaged, which sounds a bit strange, but necessary (and actually very easy) to break down some of the tough, fibrous qualities of kale. All you need to do is, once the kale is washed and chopped, just add a tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl and, with your hands, rub it all together for a few minutes.
While waiting for the butternut squash to roast, make a zesty Dijon maple syrup dressing. Once the squash has cooled, pick a salad bowl and toss all of your ingredients together. In the original recipe by fitfoodiefinds, the pecans and pumpkin seeds are roasted in advance with maple syrup. This is a delicious step indeed, but I also love to add just raw pecans and roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, which is how I wrote the recipe below. In the end, it really just comes down to your personal preference. Enjoy and please drop me a line if you happen to try this kale butternut squash salad – it is anything but boring and tasteless!
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year! xoM
Kale Salad with Blackberries and Butternut Squash
For the Dressing
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- pinch of pepper
- dash of Tabasco optional
For the Salad
- 10 oz. Lacinato kale, deveined and chopped thin
- 12 oz. pre-cut butternut squash (like at Trader Joes's), or 1/2 of a butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 cup pecans, raw
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), roasted and salted
- 12 oz. blackberries, washed and dried
- 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- chives, chopped
For the Dressing
- Add all of the ingredients for the dressing into a mason jar. Tightly cover the mason jar and shake the jar to combine ingredients.
For the Salad
- Place the kale in a large salad bowl. Massage 1 tbsp of olive oil and dash of salt into the kale with your hands for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place butternut squash cubes into a bowl and add 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and toss until coated. Pour the squash onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place into the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- To the kale, add the roasted butternut squash, blackberries, pecans, pepitas, goat cheese, dried cranberries and chives. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Enjoy!