It’s hard to believe that this week we celebrate the first week of fall. It’s been a busy summer for me with mixed results in the garden. The heat certainly had a big impact on many of my plants, and it was challenging to keep up with all the watering that our vegetable garden required. On a positive note, it was a banner year for tomatoes,which I seldom have great luck in growing. We brought in a bountiful amount of mulch and ended up with lots of volunteer plants including tomatoes and kale. We have lots and lots of kale!
I am the kale lover in my family. The rest of them tolerate it. I love to sauté shallots, kale and balsamic vinegar for a quick vegetable side — especially when I have an abundance. Kale is one of those veggies that is so nutritious that people often call it a “super food.” Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. Kale also provides small amounts of manganese, copper and vitamin B6. It does have a strong taste, but I find using citrus as well as massaging it helps mellow its taste.
This month’s recipe is one of my favorite uses of kale. It’s a versatile recipe that you can change according to what you have in your pantry. I enjoy using toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds if I don’t have almonds. Using a tahini-based dressing is another option if you don’t want to do a citrus vinaigrette. Butternut or buttercup squash pair well if you don’t have delicata squash. You can add goat cheese or roasted chicken and make it an entree salad. But remember that kale is the star of the plate here. You might even convert a few people into loving kale!
Tuscan Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Orange Vinaigrette
For the dressing:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 medium shallot, minced
Juice of ½ orange
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper
For the salad:
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups delicata squash, 1 inch pieces
1 bunch Lacinato (dinosaur) kale, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons (about 5 cups)
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
½ orange, segmented
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk 5 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, shallot, Dijon mustard, orange juice and salt and pepper. Set aside. (You can substitute lemon juice if you want)
Combine squash and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Transfer squash to a prepared baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until squash is tender and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine the kale and dressing in a large bowl and massage the kale for 2-3 minutes. Massaging is key here as it softens the kale. If you don’t have Lacinato kale, you might want to massage the greens a bit longer.
Add the squash and almonds to kale; toss well. Garnish with segmented oranges.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.