I love your produce, but why must you be so cold?
Root veggies, citrus, kale, pomegranates – I love ’em all. The flavors of the season are big and bold, which I can only imagine Mother Nature created as some sort of compromise to bring us joy during these frigid temperatures.
After the snow globe that was this weekend, there is no denying that winter is in full force. Feeling both freezing and inspired, I headed to my local Trader Joe’s, ready to stock up on all the winter flavors.
Butternut squash? Heck yeah.
Beets? Throw em’ in the cart.
By the time I made it to the checkout, my cart resembled the winter farmers market and I just knew that something great was in the works.
My chef brain went into overdrive as I drove home, starting to brainstorm what I was going to make. When the idea for a maple vinaigrette hit me, I was done. This was going to be the winter wonder salad of my dreams.
I really can’t really pinpoint exactly what makes this salad so stellar. The earthy beets, hearty butternut squash, tart pomegranate seeds, and sweet maple dressing combine to create a flavor party like no other. And then you have the textures – crunchy almonds, fluffy quinoa, crisp kale… I could go on forever.
Whether you’re loving the cold or hating it – this salad is one thing we can all appreciate winter for. Make it for dinner as a side dish to salmon or chicken, or nosh on it all week long for an easy lunch. Either way, I hope you enjoy this winter wonder salad as much as I do.
Winter Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side
- 5 oz kale; washed and de-stemmed (I used half a 10 oz bag from Trader Joe’s)
- 12 oz butternut squash; chopped (I used a 12 oz bag of pre-chopped from Trader Joe’s)
- 2 beets
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 pomegranate; seeded
- Sliced almonds for topping
- Sea salt and pepper
Maple Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- Sea salt to taste
- Cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Stick them in the oven and roast for 45 minutes or until tender.
- Once beets are in the oven, chop your butternut squash (I used pre-bagged and pre-chopped because cutting a butternut squash scared the bejeezus out of me). Add to a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the beets and butternut squash are roasting, prep the maple vinaigrette. To make, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir vigorously to combine. Note: oil and water will separate, so make sure to mix again before pouring on the salad.
- Place washed/de-stemmed kale in a large mixing bowl. Pour half of the dressing onto the kale and massage with your fingers. Set aside.
- Once beets and butternut squash are done roasting, set aside to cool. Once the beets have cooled, remove the outside skin and chop into bite sized pieces. Be careful – beet juice stains!
- Once beets and butternut squash have cooled, add quinoa, beets, butternut squash to the mixing bowl with the kale.
- Remove seeds from pomegranate (I use this method) and add to the bowl.
- Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette over the ingredients and mix to combine.
- Top with sliced almonds for serving.
XO – Bailee