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Friday, January 3, 2014

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad With Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinagrette


Today is Day 3 of my gratitude project and I am thankful for having found a career I love and am passionate about.  Believe me, given the sub-arctic temperatures this week, it would have to take something I truly love to get my ass out of the house today!

This year, we got invited to friends' for New Year's Eve dinner and the event was pot-luck.  I was asked to bring a side dish.  At first I was thinking about doing a kale salad with dates and turkey or tempeh bacon, but then I started thinking about doing some sort of kale/squash combo. 

Coincidentally, I was perusing a new recipe on Eats Well With Others, one of my favorite food blogs, and I came across another recipe that involves both kale and squash and sounded great.  Joanne seems to share my affinity for making one pot/bowl meals combining lots of veggies and flavours and she is incredibly creative.

Of course, I never stick to an original recipe, so I made a bunch of changes to appeal to my own tastes.  Among other things, Joanne's recipe, which you can find here, has brie croutons.  I omitted those, and added some dried cranberries instead.  Also, I used garam masala to spice the pecans, instead of cumin seeds, and powdered erythritol instead of sugar to sweeten them.  In addition, I reversed the quantities of oil and vinegar in the dressing to make it lighter and zingier.  It turned out great and was a big hit at the party. Every last bit disappeared.  If you like sweet/savoury dishes, you will love this.

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad With Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinagrette (Adapted from this recipe)

1 butternut squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
Salt and black pepper, to taste
 
10 cups baby kale leaves
 
1 cup whole pecans
2 tbsp powdered stevia, erythritol or xylitol
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp water 
 
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp powdered erythritol or other sweetener
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt, to taste
 
Preheat the oven to 400F.
  1. Toss the squash chunks with salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until tender. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Put the kale in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the pecans with the sweetener, spice, seeds, water, and salt. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. For the vinaigrette, puree the cranberries, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and sweetener in a food processor or blender. Add in the olive oil and salt to taste. 
  5. Toss the kale, roasted squash, pecans, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve.
This recipe has been submitted to this week's Wellness Weekend and Gluten-Free Friday.
 
Have a wonderful weekend...I hope you too love your job so you don't get those Sunday evening blues!!