Is there a better season than fall? I'm convinced that fall is the only season I need in my life. Sweaters, squash, and everything good happens this time of year. Spring is pretty great too, but I would gladly trade summer or winter for a few more months of fall.
Before I share the ingredients with you, I have to be honest here. I am not a big kale lover. We used to avoid it but I've learned a few tricks to make it more enjoyable. YES, kale can actually taste good and you don't have to chew the same bite for hours. Here are 3 tips to make your kale salad go from dull to delicious.
- Chop it up into small pieces and cut the ribs out of the leaves.
- Use a nut-based dressing (like I use in this recipe). I've learned that thicker vinaigrettes stick better while lighter vinaigrettes slide right off the leaves.
- Apply the dressing 30 minutes before you eat the salad. If you're really ambitious, you can even massage the dressing into the leaves.
If you try that and you still don't like kale, try cooking it down a little first... If all else fails, add bacon.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20- 30 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes | Serves: 4
For The Salad
- 1 delicata squash, seeds removed
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries (can use 1/4 cup of dried cranberries if you want to skip this step and toss the craisins in at the end)
- 2 TBSP EVOO
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed, & leaves chopped
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
For The dressing
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 whole garlic clove
- 2 TBSP EVOO
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400. Cut the ends off the squash (so you have a flat surface and can stand it up). Slice the squash down the center lengthwise. Remove the seeds/pulp. Cut the squash into half inch thick halfmoons.
- Toss the squash pieces and 1/2 cup fresh cranberries in 2 TBSP olive oil. Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the squash. Put in the oven for 20- 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden. While the squash is baking, begin the next steps.
- Wash the kale. Cut the ribs out of the leaves. Chop the leaves into small pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
- Blend walnuts, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and garlic clove in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds- 1 minute. Stir olive oil, salt, and pepper in by hand until combined. Pour desired amount of dressing in the bowl of kale and toss together. I think it's better to go heavy on the dressing! Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator though you'll probably want to add more dressing once you add the other ingredients to the salad.
- At this point the squash should be finished baking. Remove from the oven and add the squash and cranberries to the kale salad. Crumble goat cheese into the salad bowl. Add 1/4 cup craisins If you didn't use fresh cranberries. Gently toss ingredients together. Stir in more dressing if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!