Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
This is one of my new favorite autumn/winter recipes; it is nourishing, grounding, and delightful to the tastebuds. The slight sweetness of the butternut squash and pecans is balanced by the pungency of the red onion and the slight bitterness of the kale. In addition to tasting delicious, this seasonal dish is quite nutrient-dense and high in fiber. The squash and kale are both excellent sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, plays a key role in immune health-- making this a wonderful recipe for “cold and flu season”. The ghee, coconut oil, and/or olive oil are all super nourishing fats, and the pecans provide some protein and more good fat. Ideally all the ingredients should be organic, but especially the kale, as it is one of the veggies that is most heavily sprayed.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of kale, cut into thin ribbons (I use dinosaur kale, but any kind should work)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil or ghee
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup pecans, chopped (and lightly toasted to bring out flavor, if desired)
1 tbsp. real maple syrup
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
unrefined salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
½ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large flat baking pan with the ghee or coconut oil. Add the diced squash pieces and toss with a sprinkling of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake the squash for about 30-40 minutes, until tender and slightly browned, but not burnt.
2.) While the squash is roasting, prepare the kale on the stovetop. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium-low heat. Once the oil is warm, add the sliced onion and saute about five minutes. Add half of the kale, and once that half has cooked down slightly, add the other half, along with 1 tsp. unrefined salt. Saute the whole mixture together for about 10 minutes on low heat, until the kale is tender.
3.) Once the squash is roasted, place it in a large bowl. Add the sauteed kale/onion mixture to the squash, along with the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Mix everything together. Add the chopped pecans, and once cooled slightly the feta cheese, if you are using it. This salad can be served warm or cold, and will keep in fridge about three days.