Pecan and Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
This satisfying and nutritious salad is the perfect balance of flavors. Naturally sweet pecans and butternut squash combine with hearty kale and are topped with a light, citrus orange vinaigrette.
- 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or pecan oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 pieces thick-cut bacon
- 2 heads lacinato kale
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- Orange Vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or pecan oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Maple Toasted Pecans:
- 1/3 cup raw pecans
- 2 tsp olive oil or pecan oil
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine chopped butternut squash, olive oil and sea salt. Stir until combined. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stir, then roast another 5 to 10 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the squash is roasting, add the bacon to a small skillet over medium high heat and cook until it reaches desired level of crisp (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Place on a cutting board and allow to cool, then chop into pieces.
- Add all of the ingredients for the orange vinaigrette to a small blender. Blend until completely combined (note: you can also whisk the ingredients together in a bowl if you don’t have a small blender).
- In a small skillet, add all the ingredients for the maple-toasted pecans. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until toasted and sticky, stirring often. Be sure to monitor the nuts closely, as they burn easily.
- Wash, dry, and chop the kale leaves and place them in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and use your hands to massage the juice into the kale leaves for 1 to 2 minutes, until you can feel the kale leaves are more tender.
- Add the pomegranate arils, roasted butternut squash, chopped bacon, and maple-toasted pecans. Drizzle in desired amount of orange vinaigrette and toss everything together to combine. Serve alongside your favorite entrée.