Every once in a while I make a meal specifically with myself in mind. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a hard thing to do, because when you love to feed others you tend to put their likes, wants, and needs ahead of your own. When those other people also happen to be your children, well, you really have no hope of choosing meals catered just to you because you’re likely too worried about their nutritional needs, picky palates, or desire for nothing but meat all the time (oh sorry, is that just my kids?).
This harvest kale salad definitely wasn’t made with my boys in mind, although they did eat a bit of it, mostly because I suggested it would be a good idea for them to do so. No, this salad was made because it happened to be what I was craving one sunny Sunday not too long ago, when apples were newly available at the market, a few fresh squash were crowding my countertops, and the oversized bunch of kale I enthusiastically purchased the day before was smothering the other contents of fridge. I hauled everything over to my workspace, and applied a few of my favourite salad-prepping principals to the dish:
- Combine both cooked (squash) and fresh (apples) produce.
- Add something crunchy (the pepitas).
- Add something cheesy (goat or feta).
The result just joyously shouted, “fall!” from the dinner table, and while Rob and I tucked into the dish, the boys were more enthralled with the roasted garlic sweet potato mash and green beans with pesto, not to mention the fake fried chicken, which I obviously made specifically for them.
Harvest Kale Salad
If kale isn't your thing, this salad also works well with baby spinach. Just skip the bit about massaging the dressing into the greens and serve it on the side of the salad.
- Olive oil
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 4 medium shallots, quartered
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 bunch of kale, rinsed and dried, ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the squash and the shallots in a medium bowl and toss to combine.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then spread the squash and shallots on a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until the squash and shallots are tender and lightly golden, about 30 minutes.
3. Place the kale in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, vinegar, maple syrup and ½ cup of olive oil for the dressing; season with salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle some of the dressing over the kale. Using your fingers, ‘massage’ the vinaigrette into the kale leaves, evenly coating them. Let rest for a minimum of 15 minutes.
5. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl and top with the roasted squash and shallots. Toss and drizzle with more dressing, if desired, before serving.