partly because we’ve been traveling and partly because i’ve been eating way too many cookies, i’ve been craving salads lately. some days i’ve even had salads at two different meals (alas, this is a Thing for me – i don’t normally eat so many salads, unfortunately). if i’m eating them with other things, then i don’t worry too much how filling they are going to be. if the salad is the meal, though, then it has to be hearty and satisfying, like this kale and roasted butternut squash salad.
this salad was loosely inspired by one of my favorite salads, the kale salad with pecorino and walnuts over at smitten kitchen. the main ingredient that i borrowed from that salad is the garlicky sautéed panko breadcrumbs. beyond the subtle crunch that they add, the garlic flavor plays really nicely with the kale.
i then threw another of my favorite recipes into the mix and borrowed the roasted butternut squash, shallot, and goat cheese idea from my butternut squash, sage, and goat cheese pizza. beyond that, i stuck with the tried-and-true combination of dried cranberries and toasted pecans to round the whole thing out. yum.
one of my favorite things about kale salads, aside from the fact that they’re healthy or whatever, is that the kale actually gets better the longer it sits with dressing on it. unlike typical lettuce salads that get slimy and gross if you store them after they’ve been dressed, the kale holds up really well even with dressing.
this salad will keep nicely for at least a day or two in the fridge, even with dressing on it. the only part that doesn’t keep super well is the panko, so if you’re planning to store the salad, you may want to store the panko separately. the upside of the salad’s storage longevity – beyond the obvious – is that you can make a batch of this kale and roasted butternut squash salad and have tasty lunches waiting for you in the fridge, ready to grab and go each morning. healthy new year lunches? check!
ps – not into kale? check out my other roasted butternut squash salad, made with shaved brussels sprouts (love!) and arugula…
- 4 cups (15 ½ oz. / 440 g. / 1 large) peeled, seeded, diced butternut squash
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 10 oz. (284 g.) tuscan kale, washed, dried, and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup (1/2 oz. / 13 g.) panko
- ¼ cup (1 oz. / 28 g.) chopped pecans, toasted
- 2 oz. (57 g.) goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup (2 oz. / 57 g.) dried cranberries
- preheat the oven to 425° F. toss the butternut squash and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. bake for 7 minutes, toss and add the shallot. bake for another 7 – 8 minutes, until the squash is tender. set aside.
- while the squash is roasting, combine the extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice in a small jar with a lid. put the kale in a large serving bowl, shake the dressing to combine, and pour over the kale. toss the kale until it’s evenly coated in dressing then set aside to tenderize while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- in a small skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. add the garlic and panko. stir constantly (they burn quickly if you turn your back!) until both are golden brown. remove from heat and set aside.
- to the bowl of kale, add the roasted squash and shallots, the pecans, goat cheese, and dried cranberries. sprinkle the toasted panko crumbs on the top of the salad. serve immediately.
if you’re not going to eat all of the salad at once, store the panko breadcrumbs separately so that they stay crisp. kale is sturdy so the dressed salad will keep well for a day or two when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.