Nom of the Month – Hearty Beet, Acorn Squash and Kale Salad

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January tends to be the one month in the year where everyone is attempting to set those darn New Year resolutions – get in shape, stop procrastinating, make more dolla bills.. the list goes on. My goal: eat more veggies. As an RD, I can say that I am guilty for sometimes not eating enough fruits and vegetables with the reason being (like many of you) that they just don’t taste that great. So, with some inspiration from diving into Oh She Glows (I’ve been attempting some of these delicious recipes!), I came up with this salad. As a Vancouverite, the root vegetables are in season and kale is always on a Vancity kid’s grocery list.

As the terrible dietitian AND Vancouver girl I am, I have never worked with kale, so I decided this would be a new experience for me! The salad is pretty easy to make and is AWESOME to store for the week. The longer the kale sits in the dressing, the yummier it tastes. Plus, you can mix all the veggies together in the dressing and keep it for the week without it getting gross and soggy (the perks of using hearty root vegetables and kale). For the indulgent, yum, umami taste, I sprinkled some feta on top – it made it taste a lot less healthy although you’re eating a decent number of servings of veg with this bad girl of a salad!

As per usual, I added some tips/tricks and substitute ingredient recommendations. You can mess around with the proportions of the ingredients as you wish or add/subtract ingredients per preference!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale leaves (approx 5-6 leaves) – washed and ripped into 1 inch (3 cm) pieces
  • 3 beets – peeled and chopped into 1 inch (2-3 cm) pieces
  • 1 acorn squash – sliced into 1 inch (2-3 cm) rounds
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup – if you find this too sweet, sub with orange juice
  • 1-1.5 tbsp (15-20 mL) Dijon mustard – add more if you like a thick dressing with a bite

Toppings/Garnishes (per serving)

  • 1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) feta – crumbled (adds an indulgent, salty factor)
  • 1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) hemp seeds (adds a soft, umami factor)
  • 1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) dates – pitted and finely chopped (adds a yummy sweet/chewy factor)

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the cut up beets. Mix with 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil with salt/pepper per your taste). Place on a baking tray. Do the same for the squash in a separate bowl and place on the same tray as the beets.
  3. Bake the vegetables for 30-40 minutes until squash is soft. The beets will still have a crunch factor.
  4. As the veggies bake, mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, maple syrup and mustard. Mix half the dressing into the kale, making sure all the pieces of kale are covered in dressing. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Cool the beets and squash.
  6. Serve salad with kale topped with beets, squash and your toppings of choice (I like all of the above!)
  7. NOM!

Serves 4-6 individuals

Tips:

  • If you like more dressing in your salad, double the batch of dressing.
  • Mix the beets and squash separately when seasoning before baking to prevent the red beet colour from transferring onto the squash!
  • Don’t like dates? Try raisins or dried cranberries!
  • Don’t like feta? Sub for your fav salty and firm cheese of choice!
  • I didn’t add any salt to my dressing since the vinegar/mustard adds enough of a flavour kick, but add seasoning per prefs.
  • If you want a salad for the week, all the ingredients can hold up for long periods of time already dressed! I find the kale and beets taste a lot better when it marinates for a day.

Have some delish salad recipes to share to help readers (and myself!) eat more veggies? Please share in the comments section! 🙂

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