Last week was a tough week. I had to put my dog to sleep. She was my best friend, my family, and my partner in crime for 16 years – literally half my life. I miss her more than words can say and my life feels incomplete without her. Seriously, even finding a picture of her for this post made my heart break.
This salad is how I’m coping…
When I think of comfort food, I think of this salad. For those of you who don’t believe a kale salad qualifies as comfort food, I urge you to try this before making your final judgment.
I love kale and it’s not just because I am one of those health food junkies who thinks it’s trendy to like kale – I seriously love it. Was the texture offputting at first? Of course, but once I learned how to properly prepare it, I started to crave it. It’s not just the taste, I love the way it makes me feel – which likely comes from the fact that Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ANDI scale.
Note: If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Fuhrman, I highly recommend you check him out. He is a nutrition and natural healing expert and a big advocate of eating a micronutrient-rich diet. He has helped thousands of people heal and recover from chronic diseases through their diet alone and his ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scoring system helps consumers easily identify the nutrient density of foods.
Now, back to my love letter to this salad. Not only is this roasted butternut squash salad super easy to make, it is also equal parts comforting AND healthy.
You get a good dose of nutrients from the kale, healthy fiber and antioxidants from the butternut squash, protein from the cannellini beans, and a little sweetness from the Deglet Noor dates.
I always prefer using dates in salads instead of other dried fruit (most dried fruit is basically candy), because in addition to natural sugar dates also provide fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Although the cannellini beans would be fine on their own, I highly suggest taking a minute to toss them with garlic powder and salt and let them marinate in the refrigerator for a bit while you prepare the rest of the salad. Sometimes I even prepare them the day before and let them sit that way overnight.
The butternut squash is simply tossed in coconut oil (healthy fat), nutmeg, salt and pepper – and it tastes AMAZING. Honestly, a lot of it gets eaten before it even makes it into the salad. I like adding it to the salad when it’s warm – it ups the comfort level. Be careful when cutting the squash though, it is not easy. Sometimes I buy precut squash at the grocery store to save myself the anxiety of cutting it. If anyone has any tricks, please let me know!
This salad is:
and Super Satisfying
If you make it, and I recommend that you do, let me know how it goes! Share in the comments and tag the photo #dietconfessionals on Instagram.
Creamy, comforting kale salad with roasted butternut squash, garlicky beans, and Deglet Noor dates for a little sweetness. Topped off with my favorite Almond Butter Miso Dressing. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
For the Salad:
- 5–6 cups chopped green curly kale
- 2 cups radicchio (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped Deglet Noor dates
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (if massaging kale)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (if massaging kale)
- Creamy Almond Butter Miso Dressing
For the Butternut Squash:
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (peeled)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
For the Garlic Beans:
- 1 can (15oz) cannellini beans – drained, rinsed, and blotted dry
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (try to use a baking sheet with rolled edges to keep the butternut squash from sliding off when you take it out to turn it).
- Add the cubed butternut squash to a large mixing bowl with melted coconut oil, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg and toss until the squash is well coated.
- Arrange prepared squash on the baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake squash for 15-20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes (I also like to turn the squash over a bit to make sure it’s baking evenly) or until it’s lightly browned and tender. Set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, place cannellini beans in a small mixing bowl. Add the garlic powder and salt and toss to combine.
- Cover the beans and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or do this the day before to save time).
- Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Use your (clean) hands to massage the lemon juice and oil into the kale to soften it – you will feel it softening.
- Add the sliced dates and radicchio (if using) to the kale and top with Creamy Almond Butter Miso dressing.
- Finally, add the garlic beans and roasted butternut squash.
- Reconsider your previous belief that a kale salad can’t be comforting 🙂
- I often prepare the kale the night before, tossing it in some of the Almond Butter Miso dressing and letting it marinate overnight. In this case, you can skip the step where you massage the kale.
- If you can’t find or don’t like butternut squash (or just want to switch it up) you can easily sub sweet potatoes instead.
- Nutrition facts are an estimate and for the salad only.
- Serving Size: 2
- Calories: 586
- Sugar: 40.6
- Carbohydrates: 111.3
- Fiber: 24.5
- Protein: 20.4