We’re going light and healthy today. I wanted to share this salad with you before I continue with my usual posts of goodies, baked treats and desserts. I have been LOVING kale chips** lately. I often make an entire baking sheet full, which is about 1/2 to 3/4 of a bunch of washed, torn kale and could easily eat the whole thing. Problem lately is that I have two boys who have decided they like them, too, and any time my kids like a vegetable, I let them have as much as they’d like!
So I often have kale in stock and would never even have thought of it as an edible food until the last year or two. ;) I’ve had it in some soups, but have never tried it raw in a salad, but decided to look around (on the internet) for any ideas and ran into this salad that not only had kale, but also another thing I had in my kitchen pantry that needed to be used. I bought a butternut squash probably last fall—probably more than six months ago! And it was still sitting pretty in my cupboard, but I decided that I should use it up. So I went looking for something light to make with the butternut squash and kale and I found this recipe at Lisa’s blog, Lisa Is Cooking. I followed most of the recipe, but since it called for raw red onions, of course, I left those out! ;) I adapted a few other things in the recipe, but for the most part got it from the link to Lisa Is Cooking.
I love this salad! Of course, no one else in my family would even try it. grrrr (Not even the kale chip likers.) Didn’t bother me—I’ve been enjoying the salad for lunch and dinner for a few days now. Even if you think you don’t like kale (or squash!) you should give this a try!
Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiced Pecans, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Lisa at Lisa Is Cooking
1 small butternut squash
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pecans
1 egg white
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bunch kale
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the whole squash in the microwave for about 3 minutes. (You don’t have to do this, but it softens it just a little tiny bit so it is much easier to slice in half.) Cut it in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half into half and peel each piece. Cut each piece into about 3/4 inch cubes. Toss the cubed squash with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until it is tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white with the cayenne pepper, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk until the egg white is foamy. Toss the pecans in the mixture until well coated. Place the pecans on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer (don’t dump the extra egg mixture on the baking sheet). Toast the pecans in the 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until they are crisp. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet on a wire rack.
Cut the ribs from each kale leaf. Then tear each leaf into about one inch pieces. Wash the leaves in a salad spinner or bowl. Pick them leaves up out of the bowl so you’re not dumping the dirty water back onto them. Spin them dry in the salad spinner. Place the washed/dried kale in a large bowl. Pour about three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over them and massage it into the kale with your hands, squeezing it. This tenderizes the kale.
Add the roasted and cooled squash and pecans to the kale. Toss to combine. Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste to the salad and toss to coat. Taste and decide if you’d like a little more vinegar and/or oil and adjust according to taste.
I think this salad has gotten better with age. I love the taste of the kale as it has softened a little over a day or two. Kale just might be making an appearance in more salads around here! As for the butternut squash, stay tuned next week for what I did with a half cup of it pureed! See in the picture above the kale salad sitting on a plate next to another salad? I’ll be sharing that soon, too. It’s quinoa, mango, blueberries…….love it, too!
Now bring on those 4th of July treats! ;)
**Never had Kale Chips? So easy—try these as a replacement to your favorite store bought potato chips. You might not be sold at first try—but keep eating them and just like Lays, you won’t be able to eat just one.
Oven Baked Kale Chips, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!
1/2 bunch of kale, ribs removed and torn into 1-2 inch pieces (washed and dried)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay the kale on a baking sheet and toss lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper, sprinkle with optional parmesan cheese if desired (I love it!). (As much in a single layer as you can.) You can also just add the cheese as soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven if you’d like.
Bake the kale for 12 minutes. Check to see if all the pieces are crispy. Bake another 1-3 minutes if they are not all crispy. Sometimes I remove the ones that are and leave the ones that just need another couple minutes.
Put the warm, crisp kale chips on a plate and try not to eat them all! Healthy!