I made this kale and roasted butternut squash salad for Laurel over the weekend. Her reaction? "This might be the dish that infiltrates Thanksgiving."
I can't remember when a new dish was successfully introduced to our family's traditional Thanksgiving dinner. With so many family favorites like "my Mutha's cranberry sauce" or "Irv's sweet potatoes" or "Mario's brussels spouts," there really isn't any real estate on the table for experimental dishes.
But I'm tempted to take Laurel's advice and carve out some space for this salad. We'll see how it goes over. It's not like I'm trying to make people eat vegan turducken, so it should be ok. Right? Even if it goes untouched, the good thing about this salad is that it holds it's form and would make the perfect healthy, day-after-Thanksgiving lunch. --Bec
Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
**The following filled my salad bowl (see photo above). You may want to double this if you are serving a kale-loving family of 5 or more.
1 large bunch of Lacinato kale (it's the dark green variety with the flat leaves)
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into small squares
1 chopped, skin on apple
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
juice from half a lemon
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt & pepper
Prepare the butternut squash (here's how).
While the squash is cooking, remove the ribs from the kale leaves and slice into shreds.
Toss the shredded kale with the lemon juice, olive oil, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
When the squash is cooked and cooled to room temperature, toss together the remaining ingredients.
Make ahead: this entire salad can be prepared ahead of time. For best results, keep the kale mixture separate and toss in the squash, apples and cheese just before serving. Make sure to arrange a few of the butternut squash pieces on top of the salad to entice the kale salad doubters. If you make the salad ahead and store in the refrigerator, take it out in time to warm up to room temperature.
One more thing: We like this salad as is, with just the lemon juice and olive oil as dressing. If you are less of a salad minimalist, try tossing in this shallot vinaigrette.