When it comes to conversating, there are sensitive topics for each of us that cause us to clam up or feel anxiety. For instance, ex boyfriends or girlfriends are red hot no-no’s for some people. The last time the gym was hit? Let’s bump that date up by 6 months and call it good. A lady may not want to say how much alcohol she reeeeally drank last night, and she may want to divulge the amount of chocolate consumed even less. Men? How do we feel? About anything? Let’s not go there.
I tend to be an open book when it comes to just about everything. There’s no veil of mystery surrounding this girl – you can read me like Little House on the Prairie any day of the week. There is one topic, however, I like to avoid talking about. It may not make sense considering I’m a food blogger. Are you ready for my big reveal? I’m not partial to talking about food. In fact, I’d really rather not.
As strange as it may sound, talking about my recipes can cause my conversation parts to go into hibernation mode. Power down. Particularly vegetable-centric recipes. Talk to me about burritos, and I’m more likely to be a Chatty Cathy. Ask me about kale salad, and I’ll sit mum with stone-cold frozen demeanor, because my inexorable obsession with vegetables renders me speechless. And I kind of want to own them. All of them. Ever. The vegetables.
Nevertheless, this salad is one that requires a great deal of praise, so I’ll un-hibernate my conversation parts and let this thing flow. I can’t promise eye contact. You may need to be patient with me through my long pauses and obnoxiously loud sighs. Ignore my stone-cold demeanor. Readyyyyy? Okay!
This salad is made with dino kale (or dinosaur kale because of its thick, bumpy leaves, resembling dinosaur skin), which is my favorite type of kale to use for salads. Its texture is more favorable to me than other types of kale, and I like thinly slicing the leaves to make fun chopped salads. Combined with other roasted butternut squash, sweet and tangy apple, pecans, spicy onion, and a delicious dressing, this salad has everything a great salad should in order to cover all flavor and texture bases.
In spite of the chilly weather and the comfort of warm, filling meals, fall is my favorite time of year for salads. Fall and winter vegetables are awesome for roasting. Squashes, sweet potatoes, and root vegetables are in season, and they make tasty and nutritious additions to a salad. It may seem counterintuitive to add cooked food to a raw salad, but if you have never tried doing so, I highly suggest it!
While most people I know wouldn’t use the words “salad” and “delicious” in the same sentence (unless to describe what a salad is not), this one is a show stopper. The orange-sage dressing alone is commendable of worship. It is fresh, zesty, earthy, and warm, making it a wonderful accompaniment to the butternut squash, pecans, and apples. This is real holy matrimony.
This kale salad is high in nutrients, and it can easily be an entrée salad by adding cooked quinoa. It is filling, healthful, and leaves you satisfied and refreshed. We can make this salad for dinner and have great dinner conversation…we can talk about anything! Provided we don’t talk about the salad.
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 orange, juiced (1/2 cup of juice)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 head dino kale, leaves chopped into strips
- ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
- ½ cup whole pecans, roasted
- Cooked quinoa or brown rice for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Lay the chopped butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and cinnamon over the butternut squash. Using your hands, mix everything together so that all pieces are well-coated. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Once finished cooking, allow the butternut squash to cool (if you prefer the squash cold, refrigerate it before serving in the salad).
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the salad dressing.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the squash, kale, red onion, apple, and pecans, and toss with the desired amount of orange-sage dressing.
- Serve with cooked quinoa or brown rice.