Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Squash Seeds, and Apple-Mustard Dressing
Community meeting dinner and cooking demonstration, 12/15/11 – variation of this mix-and-match salad
Gardens aren’t just for the summer. This salad is made with very late-harvest ingredients. Kale can survive long into the winter, and late-fall squash can be stored all winter long. There are many kinds of kale, and all of them work well in this recipe (other greens like spinach or swiss chard also work well). Any kind of squash would also work here, but butternut has smooth skin and is easy to peel, which makes it a good choice for this recipe. The whole recipe comes together in less than 40 minutes, but you only have to work for 20 of them.
- 1 small butternut squash*
- 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided between squash and dressing
- 3 pinches salt, divided between squash, seeds, and dressing
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Pinch hot red pepper (optional)
- 2 bunches kale (any variety, or other leafy green such as spinach or swiss chard)*
- 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon is best, but any kind will work)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (brown or white, or you can use honey)
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350.
1) Roast the butternut squash:
- Cut the squash between the rounded portion and the straight portion, then cut the rounded section in half.
- Use your fingers to take the seeds out of the squash, and set the seeds aside in a small bowl.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the stringy part the was around the seeds and throw it away.
- Peel the skin off the squash using a vegetable peeler or a knife.
- Cut the squash into ¾ inch cubes.
- Put the squash in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 large pinch of salt. Toss it with a spoon or your hands to get it evenly coated.
- Place the squash on a cookie sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a knife or fork slides in with almost no resistance.
2) Roast the seeds:
- To the bowl with the seeds, add 1 teaspoon oil, and 1 pinch of salt, plus cinnamon, and hot red pepper (if using). Mix together.
- Spread the seeds on a foil-lined cookie sheet (they can stick) and bake for about 30 minutes, until the seeds are crisp and golden brown.
3) Prepare the kale:
- Wash the kale with cold water and shake it out or blot with a towel to dry it.
- If the kale has big, thick stems, strip the leaves off by holding the bottom of the stem firmly in one hand and using the other hand to strip off the leaves, running it from the bottom to the top of the stem. Discard the stems or save them to cook later.
- Pile all the kale leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. With a large knife, slice the kale into ribbons about ½ inch wide.
- Put the kale into a large salad bowl.
4) Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, 1 pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and mix well
- Pour the dressing over the kale and toss to coat. Set aside until the squash and seeds are done.
5) Put everything together:
- When the squash and seeds are done, add them to the bowl with the kale.
- Toss everything together and serve.
Yield: 6-8 servings
*Squash and kale can both be grown in Nebraska, although squash can be stored much longer than fresh kale, which needs to be blanched and frozen for long-term storage.