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Easy Family Recipes: Kale & Butternut Squash Salad

Kale and butternut squalsh salad recipeIts time to start working those fabulously healthy, dark leafy greens into your diet, and this is the perfect recipe to use as you get started. Kale is all the rage right now, due in no small part to being a winter green, and is beginning to make it’s presence known on restaurant menus all over the country.

I did a cooking demo for a garden club a few weeks ago and was desperate for something to appeal to the members visually, taste great (of course), and be good for them without feeling like health food. I stumbled upon a kale salad recipe from a restaurant in NYC called Northern Spy. Even though the recipe looked pretty darn good, I did a little more research into eating raw kale and found that massaging the kale lends tons of extra tenderness to the final dish; something I was all for, as I find raw kale to be a bit too bitter and tough for my personal taste.

So I did what any good cook loves to do, which is change the recipe around here and there to include a new technique and get a few ingredients swapped about. Make no doubt about it–this is definitely a riff on an already excellent recipe by Northern Spy, with just a few changes, including the whole massaging thing.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad
serves 4

1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 large bunch Kale, de-stemmed and cut into strips/bite-sized pieces (choose your variety; I’m finding the curlier edged stuff at my local grocery but would love to locate a bit of Dinosaur kale)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup toasted, chopped Hazelnuts
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, not shredded, but cut into small little bite-sized pieces
2 more tablespoons good quality Olive Oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Just look at this gorgeous kale! And yes, I did cut the squash smaller for roasting.

kale and butternut squashPreheat your oven to 450-degrees. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle to taste with a little bit of salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and toss, then roast an additional 15 minutes, until tender. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle the 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt over the kale and begin to massage the salt into the kale, but not in a wussy, sad kinda way. You need to vigorously twist and turn to be sure to work the salt into the kale.

You’ll start with this…

Kale after

And end up with this…

This is where you’ll notice, after a minute or two that you’ve lost quite a bit of volume in your kale, and that it looks a bit shinier and glossier. This is very good.

Add the cooled butternut squash, toasted hazelnuts, Parm, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and lemon juice, and then toss really well to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as you deem necessary. (Be sure you taste before adding the s&p, as you’ve already added salt to your dish when massaging the kale.)

Healthy, tasty, and truthfully, a total snap to prepare. Doesn’t that look delicious?

Kale and butternut squalsh salad recipe
If you’d like to take a peek at the original recipe, you can see it here. Now, go forth and be healthy!

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