The temperature is dropping and slowly we see the sleeping-bag jackets come out of the woodworks and grace the streets of New York City. This is the time of year when we gradually begin to swap the starter salads for the starter soup not only for its delicious flavors but also for the warmth that travels through your body when your hands cup the heated bowl, relaxing your shoulders and emitting a sigh of relief from your mouth.
However, the winter harvest season breeds such beautiful and nutritious fruits and vegetables that marry so beautifully that a salad is the best way to showcase their flavors and colors. The foundation of this salad was influenced by Sarah Britton of My New Roots blog. The dark contrast of the poppy seeds against the gleaming orange of the butternut squash almost makes you not want to eat the salad, but then you pop one poppy seed-crusted roasted butternut squash in your mouth, warm out of the oven and it’s game.over.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hard not to find nutritional aspects of this salad. (1) The beta-carotene in butternut squash, a powerful antioxidant that is converted into Vitamin A in your body to promote healthy eyesight (2) the amount of carotenoids found in kale (it has the richest source of all leafy-green vegetables) acts as a cancer fighter, helps regulate estrogen, protects against heart disease and may help regulate blood pressure, not to mention the ridiculous amounts of calcium in this dark leafy green, which fights against osteoporosis and (3) if riches were determined by antioxidant content instead of money, pomegranates would the billionaires of the world and not to mention, their iron, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber content is astounding.
This dish really combines fall and winter power-players in the nutrition field, and are excellent for preparing the body heading into what will hopefully be a mild winter. Yet another good reason to eat seasonally.
1 medium butternut squash 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon canola oil 3 tabelspoons poppy seeds a few sprinkles of sea salt
3 cups packed shredded/roughly chopped dinosaur kale Juice of ½ lemon pinch of sea salt ½ pear, cored, halved and thinly sliced 1 pomegranate, de-seeded
[sweet white wine vinaigrette] 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar ½ teaspoon agave 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard sea salt pepper 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
What you’ll need… baking sheet, a wooden spoon and a bowl of water
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
Peel squash and cut in half (lengthwise), scoop out the seeds and cut into cubes. Toss with oil, minced garlic, poppy seeds and sea salt until evenly coated. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until fork tender (but not mushy), about 35 minutes (30-40 minutes).
While the squash is roasting, shred the kale by slicing it into very thin strips (you can also use the regular curly kale instead of dino kale), add the juice half of lemon and some salt and massage into the kale allowing it to wilt. Set aside while you make the dressing.
[sweet white wine vinaigrette]: mix all ingredients together except the olive oil. Then while whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle the olive oil in to emulsify. Pour over wilted kale and toss to coat.
Remove the seeds from the pomegranate by first quartering it and then hitting the skin with the back of a wooden spoon over a bowl of water, allowing the seeds to drop into the water. You will notice that the white pith will float to the top and the good seeds will sink to the bottom. Pick out all of the white pith before draining and drying the pomegranate seeds.
Once the butternut squash is finished, cool for 5-10 minutes before adding it to the kale. Toss with the pear and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with lemon zest if desired. Feast!
Nutrition Information: Each serving is 175 calories, 8 g of fat, 4 g of protein, 28 g of carbohydrates and 7 g of fiber.