A raw kale salad may not sound the most appealing to everyone, but trust me-- this is one of the best salads out there. The salt and lemon juice helps break down the cell wall of the kale and tenderize the leaves. As a result, the tough, bitter leaves transform into a delicate, flavorful salad! Roasting the butternut squash also results in a sweet, caramelized flavor, which pairs nicely with the nuttiness from the almonds. These all are balanced by the saltiness and creaminess from the cheese. Even if you're not a kale fan, try this recipe out-- I guarantee you will be converted!
This is also perfect to pack for lunch! Something light yet filling that will not induce a food coma. I doubled the recipe to make 4 servings, and packed the leftovers for lunch the next day!
currently listening to:
EXO- Miracles in December (click here for english subbed version)
kale: high in fiber, low in calories, and zero fat; high in iron and vitamin K; packed with antioxidants (carotenoids, flavonoids); anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids; high in Vitamins A & C and calcium
butternut squash: low in fat; high in fiber; rich in carotenoids (beta-carotene- protects against heart disease; vitamin A- essential for maintaining integrity of skin and mucus membranes and for eye health) and vitamin C; good source of potassium (important for bone health) and Vitamin B6 (essential for proper functioning of immune and nervous systems); high antioxidant content; contains folic acid (essential for pregnant women; helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects)
1/2 cup butternut squash, or other winter squash
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale (any kind- curly, lacinato, dinosaur)- about 2 1/2 cups finely sliced and ribs removed (see picture below)
1/4 cup toasted almonds (whole, sliced, or slivered)
1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped cheddar or parmesan (can grate hard cheese or use store-bought grated or shredded)
fresh lemon juice
serves 2 (I made double the portion in the pictures)
prep time: 10 min
cook time: 30-40 min (roasting the squash)
adapted from food 52
original recipe from Northern Spy Food Co. in Manhattan's East Village
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Prepare the squash (peel and seed- directions here). I was lazy and just bought squash that was pre-chopped! Dice the squash into little cubes.
3. Toss the squash cubes in olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Lay the cubes out on a baking sheet that is lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
4. Roast the squash for 40 minutes (depending on the size of your cubes) until caramelized and tender. Toss the cubes with a spatula every 10-15 minutes, so that they do not stick to the pan or burn!
5. While the squash are in the oven, prepare the kale. Remove the ribs, and finely slice the leaves. Transfer them to a mixing bowl.
6. In the last part of the baking time, toast the almonds in the same baking sheet as the squash: 10 minutes for whole almonds, and 5 minutes or so for sliced almonds. Keep an eye on them, so that they do not burn! For whole almonds, toss the pan once halfway through the cooking time. Once the squash and almonds are done, remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
7. In the mixing bowl, toss together the kale, almonds, cheddar or parmesan, and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with shaved pecorino cheese if desired.