If you haven’t tried kale salad yet, it’s time to get on it! This trendy dish has been making the rounds for a bit now and for good reason. Once massaged (yes, an actual hand kneading massage) kale turns into a much gentler version of its normally coarse leaf. In my version here, I have gently dressed the greens in a sweet orange dressing and tossed them with roasted butternut squash and crunchy pomegranate seeds. The result is a bright Christmas Wreath looking salad that is not only beautiful to look at, but super healthy to eat. Winner, winner – it’s kale for dinner!
This salad can be made vegan or vegetarian with the addition of some Parmesan cheese. It is an easy dish, but will require a little preparatory “hand work” in advance.
Here’s what you’ll need:
12 Cups of chopped Kale, any kind – (around 2 bunches)
1 Cup of Roasted Butternut Squash (click here for specific directions)
1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
the Zest of 1/2 an Orange
1 TBS Orange Juice (from the 1/2 orange)
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
*1/4 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
First, roast your butternut squash (per directions) and set aside to cool completely.
In the meantime, place the olive oil in a glass bowl or jar and add the garlic and orange zest. Set aside and let the flavors infuse together for at least 15 minutes; the longer the better.
While the dressing is infusing, wash, dry and de-stem the kale. Cut into thin ribbons or chop small. Place into a bowl and, with your hands, knead thoroughly. You will notice the kale breaking down and turning brighter green as you massage. You can taste to gauge readiness, but it should be pretty obvious to your eye as well.
You will also need to remove the seeds from the pomegranate. There are multiple ways to do this, but I like the water method. Cut the pomegranate in half and then pull apart to smaller sections. While submerged in the water, use your hand to gently pull out the seeds. The white pith will float to the top and easily separate itself from the fruit that sinks. Strain off the water and unwanted bits and set the pomegranate seeds aside.
When ready, use a tight mesh strainer and pour the olive oil infusion into another bowl, separating out the garlic and zest bits. Add the orange juice and balsamic vinegar to the strained oil; mix vigorously and emulsify.
Sprinkle salt and pepper directly on the kale and drizzle the dressing on the greens evenly (wait to mix). Place the pomegranate seeds and butternut squash on the kale and gently start tossing all the ingredients together with your hands. Lift and mix the salad, spreading the dressing evenly without smashing the squash or popping the pomegranates. If you are using Parmesan, add and toss a few more times until mixed through. Set aside and eat at will; the dressing will not wilt the greens like a normal salad. Enjoy!