Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through the first week of November and I can see, smell and feel that fall has settled in to our part of the Midwest. The trail behind our house is on fire with vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red and the leaves are falling like confetti. The beauty and bounty that autumn brings is a gift to be celebrated, so here I am to share this gorgeous salad with you.
Crunchy, creamy, sweet and kale-licious (is that a word?) this salad is sure to brighten up your midweek dinner plans and become the most popular side on your Thanksgiving table. Filled with seasonal, healthy ingredients like apples, kale, delicata squash and shallots this is a vitamin and fiber-filled plate of color that just so happens to be vegan, paleo, gluten, dairy, soy and corn-free. It’s the perfect salad for entertaining no matter what your guests dietary restrictions may be.
Fall is a party and you are SO invited! As long as you bring the wine, okay?
Now, let’s make some salad to pair with our grape juice.
Salad: Serves 4 as a Side or 2 as an Entrée
- 1 lb. delicata squash
- 1 T. avocado or coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced (about 2 T.)
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 pound lacinito or tuscan kale, tough stems removed and roughly chopped (about 3 large stalks)
- 5 C. baby kale (one, 5 oz. container or bag)
- 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 fuji or honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 C. toasted almonds or cashews, roughly chopped
Maple Tahini Dressing: Makes Approx. 1/3 C.
- 1 T. maple syrup
- 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 T. tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 T. hot water (as needed, to thin)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bring all ingredients to room temperature.
- Wash the squash (do not peel!) and cut in half lengthwise to reveal the seeds. Scoop out the seeds and discard or save for another use, then slice the squash into 1/2 inch thick pieces and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Toss the squash with oil, salt and pepper and arrange on the baking sheet in neat rows to make sure they aren’t touching each other. This will ensure the squash roasts rather than steams. Place the squash in the oven to roast for 7 minutes.
- In the meantime, place the sliced shallot in a small bowl or dish and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Set aside. Separately, place both types of kale in a large bowl and massage with the lemon juice to tenderize the leaves.
- After 7 minutes, remove the squash from the oven, flip them over and place back into the oven for an additional 5-6 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Maple Tahini Dressing: In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk all ingredients together except the hot water. The dressing will be extremely thick and should turn off-white in color the more you stir. Add hot water 1 T. at a time and whisk until desired pourable consistency is reached.
- Assembly: Remove the shallots from the small bowl and discard the remaining vinegar. Add shallots and apples into the large bowl with the kale and toss to combine. Place the kale mixture onto a large serving platter or shallow serving bowl, top with the squash, drizzle the dressing over top and finish with chopped nuts, salt and pepper to taste.
*To toast your own nuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place raw nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and stir the nuts so that the ones on the outer edges get moved into the middle of the pan and vice versa. Return to the oven and check on them every 3 minutes until their smell has intensified and they’ve become deeper in color. Be careful not to burn, this can happen really fast so keep a close eye on them while they are toasting. This shouldn’t take longer than about 11-12 minutes total. Remove them from the oven, let them cool and then chop them up for your salad.
Pretty, kale-icious (it’s a word.) and nutritious, this is what salad dreams are made of. Trust me when I say you’ll want to pour this dressing all over everything. Enjoy a plateful on its own or serve alongside your choice of protein for a bigger meal and don’t forget the wine. I hope you love this taste of fall as much as I do!
If you try this recipe or have any comments, questions or notes please leave them below.