kale squash Bowl

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ingredients

  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

  • Cinnamon and nutmeg, for seasoning the squash

  • 2 cups wild rice (can substitute brown rice or quinoa)

  • ½ cup red onion, chopped

  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (aim for juice sweetened)

  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pecans would also be delicious)

  • 3 cups kale, stemmed and chopped into fine ribbons

  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

    Vinaigrette ingredients

  • Juice from ½ lemon

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 tsp honey (or more to taste)

  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
     

 

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make it

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Add the squash to a cookie sheet, drizzle with avocado oil and season with a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Add to the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  2. While the squash is roasting, cook the wild rice according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain any remaining water and set aside.

  3. Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and use a whisk to combine everything.

  4. Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and drizzle a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette over top. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale- it may feel weird to massage your greens, but don’t skip this step! Massaging the kale helps break down the fibre and makes it more tender.

  5. Once the rice and squash have cooled, you can add them to the bowl with the kale. Add in the onion, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Season the salad with a few pinches of salt and black pepper and use tongs to mix well. Once mixed, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the dressing. The wild rice will soak up a good amount of the vinaigrette so you can always make more if you want more.

  6. This salad tastes best when it has a chance to “marinate” so I recommend making it a few hours ahead of time to let it sit. The kale is a hearty green so it doesn’t get soggy- it’s even good for a couple of days!

    Tip: Try this salad warm! Instead of letting the wild rice and squash cool before adding them to the kale, combine everything while still warm. The heat from the squash and rice will gently soften the kale and you’ll have a yummy warming side dish.

It’s safe to say that it is officially winter here in Winnipeg. I’m actually one of the few people who doesn’t mind the cooler temperatures. What I love most about winter is being able to bundle up in a big sweater, scarf and drink tea all day long. I also love the comforting, warming meals like soups, stews and cozy casseroles.

While I love all those warming meals, they can definitely be a little heavy and some days I find myself craving something lighter. I love having salads year round because you can pack in so much nutrition into one bowl. The winter months can be a little drab and dreary, so I find focusing on nutrient rich meals is the best way to support my body and my mind through them. Winter can be particularly difficult for many people; fuelling your body with nutritious meals is the best way to keep yourself feeling vibrant!

Salads aren’t typically a winter dish, but I wanted to create one that is a little bit heartier- or “winterize” it, if you will. Those light and crisp salads are great for the summer months but during the winter, those lighter recipes just don’t cut it. The squash and the wild rice in this recipe bring the complex carbohydrates, which helps make this salad more filling.

I used kale as the base for this salad because it’s a heartier green and it works so well with the squash and wild rice. What I love most about kale is how well it stands up in a salad- so well in fact, you can make this salad a few hours or even days in advance! Kale has great fibre content so it doesn’t get soggy or wilted. I’ve made this salad and enjoyed it three days later with no signs of wilting or sogginess. There are so many great textures in this salad and it’s one of the many reasons it’s so satisfying!

It will come as no surprise to you that this salad is also incredibly nutritious as well. Both the squash and kale a great sources of the carotenoid beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a pre-cursor to vitamin A, which is an important fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A helps protect your eyes, acts as an antioxidant, supports the immune system and is beneficial for skin and bone health.

The squash, kale, wild rice, pumpkin seeds and cranberries all come together to form a perfectly balanced and filling salad. You’ll feel satisfied after enjoying it and it will help keep your body nourished this winter. It stands on its own as a meal but it makes a great side dish as well. It would be fantastic as a side dish to roasted chicken!