I really look forward to fall for the leaves changing, pumpkin everything, and all of the delicious and nutritious foods that are in season during this transition. Or at least that's what I tell myself to cope with the colder, shorter days :)
I love eating salads year round but I don't love just noshing on cold, raw veggies in the winter. There's a reason you crave cooling foods that are high in water in the summer like watermelon and cucumber and warming foods in the winter like soups and certain spices like cinnamon we commonly see in dishes and baked goods. There is also some evidence to show that by eating warming foods, less energy is required to create heat in the digestive tract and thus, leaves more energy for digestion and allows the body to better absorb it's nutrients.
From a nutrition standpoint, this salad achieves balance with a plant based protein (farro), a leafy green (kale), an acid for digestion (vinegar), healthy fats (oil and nuts), warming spices (cinnamon), and seasonal produce (kale, squash and apple). Yay!
This salad comes together easily and can be your main dish or an easy side. Serve this beauty right away or keep in the fridge for a few days. I recommend warming for a tiny bit in the microwave if taking directly out of the fridge (if you're ok with using this, a quick nuke shouldn't affect the nutrients too much) or just letting sit at room temperature for a bit before eating.
Let me know if you make it, and how you like it! Do you enjoy this time of year? What's your favorite squash?
Hearty Harvest Salad
Prep Time : 10 minutes | Total time : 20 minutes | 4 servings
1 large bag of pre-washed kale or 2 heads of kale washed and de-stemmed
1/2 large butternut squash
1 honeycrisp or other seasonal apple
3/4 cup farro
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1.5 tablespoons dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425. Peel and cube butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a dash of salt & pepper, and cinnamon. Place in oven for about 20 minutes until cooked and browned, stir once.
2. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil, add farro. Boil for 10 minutes and drain excess water, allow to cool.
3. While squash is cooking, place kale in a large bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar and begin to massage. Work the oil and vinegar into the leaves for a few minutes until they soften and darken in color.
4. Chop apple into 1/2 inch cubes and toss with kale. Add cooked farro to bowl and toss to combine. Add chopped walnuts.
5. Remove squash from oven, allow to cool slightly and combine with other salad ingredients.
6. Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt & pepper to taste and pour over salad, stir to coat.