THE WASHINGTON POST – Don’t make this salad because it’s good for you.
Make it because it is gorgeously festive and utterly delicious, with thinly sliced kale that’s massaged until tender in a tangy mustard vinaigrette, topped with maple-kissed, roasted delicata squash, juicy, sweet-tart pomegranate, and a crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds – the crimson fruit and golden squash-like ornaments against the backdrop of the deep green leaves.
Make it because it is a fresh counterpoint to all of the rich fare on the table this time of year, and because it is so versatile.
You can swap in spinach or chicory for the kale, use any type of roasted winter squash, and switch up the fruit and seeds/nuts as you like, or based on what you have on hand. (Keep in mind: Roasting times vary for different varieties of squash, and delicata is one of the few you do not need to peel first).
Sure, this salad happens to be supremely healthful too, with a spectrum of protective antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and fibre. But that’s just an extra bonus to keep in mind – or not – as you dig in and enjoy it this holiday season.
KALE SALAD WITH ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH AND POMEGRANATE
– One large delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into one-third-inch-thick half-moons
– Three tablespoons plus two teaspoons olive oil, divided
– One tablespoon plus two teaspoons maple syrup, divided
– Quarter teaspoon plus one-eighth teaspoon fine salt, divided
– Quarter cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds
– Two tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– One tablespoon minced red onion or shallot
– Two teaspoons Dijon mustard
– One-eighth teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– Six cups packed thinly sliced lacinato kale leaves (from one large bunch of stemmed kale)
– Quarter cup pomegranate seeds
Position racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place the squash on a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with two teaspoons of the oil, two teaspoons of the maple syrup and one-eighth teaspoon of the salt, and toss to coat.
Arrange the squash pieces in a single layer and roast, stirring once, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender and browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the squash cool.
While the squash is roasting, spread the pumpkin seeds out on a small, rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven (lower rack) for about five minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, onion or shallot, the remaining one tablespoon of maple syrup, the mustard, the remaining quarter teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the kale with the dressing, massaging it gently with your hands to soften it a bit. Divide the kale among four serving plates, then top each with the roasted squash, and pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.