You really need to try this Autumn Kale Salad with Butternut. It is seasonal and delicious, and pretty easy to put together. Top it all with a maple dressing and it is 100%!!
Let's start with the components in this salad:
- Kale, massaged for tenderness
- Roasted butternut squash
- Apples, I used gala
- Toasted pecans
- Crispy bacon
- Creamy maple poppyseed dressing
- A few pomegranate arils, for a beautiful pop of color
- Anything else you feel like throwing in!!
Roasting the Butternut Squash
Roasting butternut is simple. If you haven't done it before, don't be intimidated! I rarely buy prepped veggies but prepped butternut squash is one that is really pretty good. If you want the short cut, buy it cubed and ready to go. I will show you below how to prep the whole one. Start by peeling the squash with a vegetable peeler. Next, but off the top and bottom of the squash. Make sure your knife is good and sharp, and this will be no problem. I only used the neck for my salad, so I cut that off. Next, cut into ¼-1/2 inch slices, then into ¼-1/2 cubes.
Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup. Then bake at 425 degrees. With these small pieces, it will go quickly. Mine took about 10 minutes. Check it for tenderness and a golden brown color. That's it!! So simple, right?
Massaging the Kale
While the butternut is roasting, let's get started on the greens. A note on the kale. It is not my favorite green. I will be the first to admit this. But, I do like it SO MUCH better when it is massage. Massaging it reduces the toughness of the green and also pulls out some of that bitterness.
If you haven't ever massaged Kale before, here is what you do- Remove the stem, I show this in the photo below. Cut your kale to the size desired. I like to go a little bigger when I am massaging, otherwise, it becomes too limp too fast.
Then drizzle with a touch of olive oil, lemon, and a sprinkle of salt. Gently massage the kale. Don't overdo it though, it happens pretty quick. Tough kale is pretty bad, but so is mushy kale!
Once the kale is ready, fry up the bacon chunks, cut the apples up and get out the remaining ingredients. If you are vegetarian or vegan, just leave out the bacon. It is still good without it!
Making the Maple Poppyseed Dressing
This dressing is so simple to make. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl or jar for mixing. Blend well for the best flavor. Pure maple syrup is a must, please don't use the fake stuff. I promise you will not get the same results! I buy mine from Costco and feel like it is a pretty good price.
Assembling the Autumn Kale Salad with Butternut
Let's put this thing together!! There are a few ways to plate this salad. Either put all everything together in a bowl and gently mix (you don't want to break up that beautiful butternut). Or you can start with your kale base, then add all ingredients on top.
Or, you can serve it mixed all together as shown below. This is a personal preference and up to you!
Once it is done, drizzle with that dreamy dressing and it is ready to go!!
With your leftover butternut squash, what about making these tasty butternut squash and crispy bacon toasties?
Maple Poppy seed Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoons poppyseeds
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- salt to taste
- Combine olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic, and poppy seeds to a small bowl or jar. Mix well. Now, add your salt to taste. I used a dash (⅛ teaspoon), but add it to your preferences. That is it. It is ready to go!!Now, it is great to use right away. If not, store in the fridge, sealed, for up to 5 days. It is best if you bring it to room temp. Just make sure to mix well every time you use it. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
Autumn Kale Salad with Butternut
- 6 cups kale
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 strips bacon
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 apples cubed I used gala, but you can use whatever you have a preference for
- 2 tablespoons pecans, rough chop
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
- 1 recipe maple poppyseed dressing recipe included on post.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, set aside. Drizzle cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix to coat. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven. While it is baking, prep the rest. Cut your bacon into chunks. Fry until almost crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate. Let's start on the kale. Remove it from the stem. A simple way to do this is show in the photos on the post. Push your thumbs and index finger along the stem, pushing the leaves off the stem. This way is quick and easy! If you prefer to cut the leaves off, you can do that too! Cut the kale into larger chunks. Drizzle it with your 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Gently massage in for several minutes. You don't want the kale to turn to mush, just to soften it a bit. Everything should be ready to go at this point. Let's start assembling! You can add everything to your serving bowl and mix. This is beautiful, as shown in the photos on post. Or you can add your kale as the base and add the other ingredients, separated on top. Either way, it looks great! For the dressing, it can be drizzled and mixed in, if it will be served right away. If not, have it ready on the side and let people use it as they dish the salad up. This salad is best served the day of. If you have leftovers, store in the fridge in an airtight container. It can be held for 1-2 days. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!