Roasted Squash Salad and Kale Pesto

Roasted Squash Salad and Kale Pesto

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones and laughter! Here’s an easy winter-inspired salad recipe if you’re already thinking about what to make for the next holiday.

1 large butternut squash
2 apples
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs. grainy Dijon mustard
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper
8-10 cups of mixed salad greens and spinach
2-3 cups radicchio, chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1) Preheat oven to 400
2) Roast the squash and apples: Peel and cube the butternut squash. Cube the apple. Combine everything in a bowl and mix with 1/4 cup each of olive oil and maple syrup, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender. Finish off with 3 minutes under the broiler to brown. Once finished, remove from heat and let cool. Turn the oven temperature to 375.
3) Make the dressing: Combine 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup and the cider vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and fresh pepper in a container with a lid. Shake vigorously. This is much more than you’ll need for the salad, but the dressing lasts sealed in the fridge for up to two weeks.
4) Toast the hazelnuts: Spread on a baking sheet and bake for around 8 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and beginning to brown. Be careful not to burn, as it happens very quickly! Place the nuts in a clean dishcloth and let cool. Rub the nuts around in the towel until most of the skin falls off. Chop coarsely.
5) Assemble the salad: Place the salad greens, radicchio, roasted squash and apple, hazelnuts, and cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing, toss, and serve.

Lemon Kale Pesto

Are you bored of kale recipes yet? Maybe you have a few bunches that you bought with good intentions, but they’re still sitting in the fridge? Here’s a simply delicious way to use up those green leaves of goodness. In fact, many other seasonal leafy greens such as arugula or broccoli raab will work in place of kale. Added bonus, it lasts for up to a week in the fridge and is also freezable.

I’ve made this recipe with lots of DirectionFive classes and it’s always a big hit. Last week, the kids walked into the kitchen at the Corte Madera Rec Center, saw a pile of kale (again) and moaned a bit. I proved them wrong, as always, and even our pickiest eater ate a whole bowl of kale-topped brown rice and quinoa pasta. The savoriness of the toasted seeds and zestiness of the lemon and nutmeg completely hide the kale and can liven up many dishes.

Kale pestoIngredients:
1 bunch kale
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 pinch of sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon
Optional: 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Wash, de-stem, and blanch kale leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove leaves from water, drain and squeeze out excess water. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container (the less air the better) and just add a bit more olive oil if it begins to lose it’s moisture or green color.

Serve with soba noodles, whole grain pasta, or over steamed veggies! For Thanksgiving this week, we even topped our mashed potatoes with it.

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