Favorite Fall Salad
Just as the title says, this is my favorite fall salad.
Sweet and crispy roasted butternut squash, hearty kale dressed in my Garlicky Citrus Dressing, toasted pepitas, and grated parmesan make this salad a stand-out at all of my fall gatherings. She makes frequent appearances from late September all the way up to her grand finale—my Thanksgiving table! Needless to say, she's booked and busy, but she can absolutely make the time to appear on your table as well if you make and treat her right.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
Lacinato kale (also known as "dinosaur kale")
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, or a mix of both
Red Pepper Flakes
WHAT YOU'LL DO:
Hello and welcome to my favorite fall salad. As you can see above, I have not given specific amounts to this salad. It's really the combination of elements, not their ratios, that define this salad. Simply put, you cannot do it wrong!
Please preheat your oven to 425º.
Grab your squash, remove skin and seeds, and chop into cubes that are approximately 1" or so. See the step-by-step below for how I tackle this process!
Coat your cubed squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, going as dark and crispy as you like. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Place your pepitas in a frying pan and toast on medium heat, tossing frequently, until nice and brown. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile slice your kale into thin ribbons. Place ribbons into a bowl and add a few glugs of olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the oil and lemon juice into the kale. This softens the leaves and makes the kale significantly more edible. Use "lacinato" or "dinosaur" kale for salads—it really makes a difference!
Add some of your Garlicky Citrus Dressing and grated cheese to the kale, using your hands to coat evenly. We will be adding more of both at the end, so just add enough to coat the kale!
Now we assemble the salad. I prefer to do this on a shallow platter, but you can absolutely do it in a big bowl as well!
Lay the dressed kale on the platter first—this is the foundation of your salad. Then artfully arrange the cooled roasted squash and toasted pepitas on top. Finish off the salad with extra dressing and grated cheese. Can you even handle how FALL this salad is?
Dig in and enjoy!
Make it step-by-step with me below!
LET'S DO THIS ONE STEP AT A TIME:
1. First up, your gourdgeous butternut squash. Preheat your oven to 425º, please.
2. Slice her top and bottom off, as well as right at her waistline.
3. Place your squash halves flat side down on and work your way around their perimeter, slicing off their skin.
4. Slice your skinned halves in half again lengthwise. Remove seeds with a spoon.
5. Chop your squash into cubes. Mine usually around 1" cubes, but I don't fuss.
6. Place squash in a bowl and add enough olive oil to coat squash, plus salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat squash evenly.
7. Place squash on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not cram your squash, and use a second baking sheet if needed.
8. Bake in 425º oven for 45 mins to an hour, going as dark and crispy as you like! Remove from oven, set aside and let cool.
9. Add your pepitas to a frying pan and toast them over medium heat, tossing frequently in the pan so they don't burn. Set aside to cool.
10. Meanwhile grab your washed kale and slice it into thin ribbons. LOTS of people would remove the stems here, but not me. I like the crunch and the ease! But by all means...
11. Add a few glugs of olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon juice to your kale.
12. Using your hands, massage the oil and lemon juice into the kale. This process softens the kale and a makes it a significantly more pleasurable eating experience.
Also you have to use "lacinato" or "dinosaur kale" here. Other, lesser kale is just not the same in a salad, trust me.
13. Add some of your Garlicky Citrus Dressing and grated cheese to the kale and use your hands to coat evenly. We will be adding more of both at the end, so just add enough to coat the kale!
14. Add your kale to a platter. This will be the base of your salad. I prefer to do this salad on a platter and not in a bowl, but both are entirely perfect ways to do it.
15. Arrange your cooled squash on top of the kale in the most aesthetically pleasing way as humanly possible. Anything else seriously effects the way the salad tastes and is totally unacceptable.
16. Sprinkle the cooled toasted pepitas across the top of your salad in a way that expresses the entirety of your being. No pressure.
17. Finish off the salad with extra dressing and grated cheese. Can you even handle how FALL this salad is?
18. Dig in and enjoy!