Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette.
I promise this is not another boring butternut squash kale salad!
It may look a little underwhelming, but just wait until you taste it.
Oh my, the flavor is so good.
This is one of those salads where you will think about the flavor the next day and want to make it again. It’s true.
This is one of those salads that is almost too easy. It can surely be a great side dish – I feel like I’m always searching for a new kale salad! Just made another one last night for the super bowl – as a side to all the snacks. It’s accompanies most meals and kale salads always hold up great if you have leftovers.
But it’s also hearty enough that if you’re not starving, like on a day that you had a big lunch or you’d just like something lighter for dinner? It works. It’s filling and satisfying thanks to the squash. The pepitas bring the crunch and the goat cheese is so dreamy and creamy!
The dressing though! Oh this dressing. I became obsessed with this idea of jam dressing, especially apricot dressing. Which is hilarious because it’s not like I’m a huge fan of apricots or anything. But!
I just LOVE this vinaigrette so much.
Grab some apricot preserves and you can have this year round. It’s slightly sweet but also tart and just adds so much depth of flavor to the salad. And of course, you can use any jam that you’d like! This is one of my tips in my next book and I just couldn’t wait to share. Got jam? You can have an exciting and unique vinaigrette then too.
Aside from the roasting of the squash, the salad comes together quickly and without fuss. I used lacinato kale here but you can always use curly green kale. Make sure to massage the kale with the tiniest drop of olive oil – it helps to remove the bitterness from the greens. It also allows them to be chewy in a GOOD way – not chewy in a tough way. You know?
It’s an important step that you can’t forget!
All that’s left to add? The goat cheese and pepitas. Almost TOO easy, right? Sure, I could have added some dried fruit or a cucumber or an avocado. But I’ve really loved making these “base” recipes lately that allow me to enjoy great flavors AND possibly account for leftovers.
By that, I mean that this salad makes a great base. The flavors are not overly polarizing so you could add some leftover shrimp or chicken to this. You could even add a soft boiled egg or something like that for a little more ooomph.
This salad is:
All the things!
These are just my favorite kinds of recipes! HELLO DINNER.
Butternut Squash Kale Salad
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash, about 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
- 1 head lacinato/tuscan kale, leaves torn from stems
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup roasted pepitas
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the squash on the sheet and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and chipotle pepper. Toss well. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the squash has started to caramelize.
- While the squash is roasting, chop the kale leaves. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle on 1 to 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale, massaging for a few minutes. Let the kale sit for 5 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the kale and toss. Add on the crumbled goat cheese and the roasted pepitas. Add on the squash. Drizzle with the dressing and serve!
- In a bowl or jar, whisk together the vinegar, preserves, garlic, salt, pepper flakes and pepper. Stream in the olive oil while whisking until emulsified. Drizzle on the salad! This stays great in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
In it for meatless monday!