Holiday Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Kale salad tossed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette, topped with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and candied maple pecans. Perfect for the holidays!

Holiday Kale Salad- tossed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette and topped with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and candied maple pecans!

After making three batches of cookies in the past week, I really needed this salad. Not because the cookies were unhealthy. That’s not how I roll. It’s because they were fails…every.single.last.little.round.one.

I’m just thankful that Brandon’s not a picky eater. He’s been happily munching his way through them all while I sit back scratching my head trying to figure out how to make the texture more like cookies and less like cardboard.

But I decided to stop thinking about it and just make something that I know I can rely on. No standing by the oven with anxious anticipation. No peeking behind the door to get a glimpse at how it looks. No waiting for it to cool so I can see what defeat tastes like. Just me and my hands with a big ol’ head of kale and a few of my favorite toppings.

Holiday Kale Salad- tossed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette and topped with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and candied maple pecans!

I’ve got a ton of kale salads on here but this is the first time I’ve made it with a mustard dressing. Which is probably because I have a love/hate relationship with mustard.

Brandon learned this the hard way during the first year we were dating. At the time I was very hungry {read: very angry} and he was kind enough to make the trip to Publix {way back in the Florida days!} and grab us a few veggie subs while I waited at home with my blood sugar steadily dropping. Then as soon as he got home, I rushed to unwrap mine and the scent of mustard hit me smack in the face. Y’all, I had a melt down. I’m talkin’ hair growing from my face, claws coming out, screams heard from two houses down. I was so mad that he didn’t remember that I don’t like mustard on my sandwich that I stormed out of the house in a fury and drove back to Publix and get myself a new sandwich. I’m sure it was all he could do not to break-up with me right then and there.

But now he won’t forget! I do NOT do mustard on my sandwich.  :)

Apple Cider Mustard Vinaigrette

Except for this sandwich. That, I love. And I also love mustard in this salad dressing. It’s mixed it with shallot, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt and even though it sounds really simple, it’s quite lovely. Simply lovely!

The toppings are also fairly simple. Especially if you cheat like I did and buy butternut squash that’s already peeled and cut. I blame it on the cookies.

Candied Maple Pecans Roasted Butternut Squash

The easy butternut squash is roasted and paired with pecans that are made my favorite way: toasted with just a little bit of oil, maple syrup and salt. Then everything is finished it off with dried cranberries (the same juice sweetened ones that I used in the granola) and crumbles of gorgonzola cheese. All of the flavors are so perfect together, I can barely stand it.

Unfortunately we’re not going home for the holidays this year but if we were, I would definitely be bringing this to dinner. I know it would be a hit!

Holiday Kale Salad- tossed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette and topped with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and candied maple pecans!

Holiday Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

2 cups cubed butternut squash

2 tablespoons high heat oil such as sunflower or canola

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt & pepper

2 bundles kale, de-stemmed and chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

Apple Mustard Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss the butternut squash in one and a half tablespoons of the high heat oil and then spread it onto the cookie sheet. Roast it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile wash the kale and remove the stems, then chop it into bite size pieces. Dry it thoroughly then place it in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients (peeled shallot, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard and salt) to a food processor, blending until smooth. Add the dressing to the bowl with the kale and massage it in with your hands for about 15 seconds.
  4. Next, prepare the pecans by tossing them with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup and salt to taste. Lay them out on the parchment paper and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes. You can do this during the last 7 minutes of the cooking time for the squash.
  5. When the squash and the pecans are done, remove them from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes. Then add them to the bowl with the kale along with the cranberries and the cheese and toss together. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.
http://makingthymeforhealth.com/holiday-kale-salad-roasted-butternut-squash/

Holiday Kale Salad- tossed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette and topped with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and candied maple pecans!