Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Musings, Recipes | 0 comments

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year when the memories of those bountiful Christmas meals past are fading and the reality of tight clothing is upon us. Or maybe it’s just me. Whatever the inspiration, I am eating a lot of salads these days and trying to pack flavor and nutrition into one big happy meal.

This salad is a meal in itself if you are feeling virtuous, but also a delicious side for pork chops, roast chicken or seared salmon. Already cubed squash is available in many produce departments now as is already cleaned kale. The baby kale mixes are a great substitute, tender and sweet. Pine nuts, almonds or hazelnuts can be substituted for the pistachios.

Be gentle in the tossing of this salad to keep the components intact. It gets better with time and will keep up to a week in the fridge.

Here’s to a healthy, delicious and svelte 2015!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
(makes approximately 1 ½ quarts)

6 cups cubed butternut squash (2 pounds)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups curly kale leaves, de-stemmed, washed and dried
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons toasted, coarsely chopped pistachios
Zest of one lemon, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely slivered mint

Preheat the oven to 400°.
Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, the 5-spice powder and the balsamic vinegar. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until the squash cubes are tender and starting to brown and caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

While the squash is roasting, combine the shallots, red wine vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl and macerate for at least 15 minutes.

Return the cooled squash to the large bowl. Cut the kale leaves into ¼” slivers and add to the squash. Add the feta, the pistachios, lemon zest and mint and gently stir together. Add the shallot mixture, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and stir together, again gently, to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or red wine vinegar to taste.

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