This colorful, nutrient-rich salad is savory but slightly sweet. The crunch from the walnuts and pomegranates provides a nice contrast to the soft roasted butternut squash, and the flavors are all brought together with a bright lemon maple vinaigrette. Even if you are a lover of traditional Thanksgiving dishes (I am too), you can still enjoy all the classics while adding this vegetable-forward, lighter addition to the spread.
Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad
Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving: 200 calories, 11 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber, 105 mg sodium.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds, peeled cut into 3/4″ cubes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (can also sub pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds)
- 2 large bunches (about 2 lbs total lacinato (Tuscan) kale, stemmed and thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon, divided)
- Sea salt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place cubed butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the top. Add whole garlic cloves, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the butternut squash with oil and spices. Spread butternut cubes evenly around pan and roast for 30-40 minutes until squash is fork tender.
While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just golden brown, 2–3 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the kale by slicing it into thin strips. Add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt and massage into kale to wilt. Set aside.
Note: if you are prepping the day ahead, only add the lemon and massage the kale the day it’s served.
When the squash and garlic are done roasting, remove the garlic pieces and add them to a medium bowl or food processor. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and shallot; whisk or pulse until smooth..
In a large mixing bowl, combine kale with about 3/4 of the dressing, and toss until kale is lightly coated. Add more dressing to taste, and reserve any leftover for another use.
Add roasted squash and pomegranate seeds to the kale; toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with toasted walnuts.
Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.