Winter Salad

I am the first person to admit that I am not a huge salad fan. Yes, even though I am a dietitian, I do not like traditional salads. Raw leafy greens are always super awkward to eat, and all of that chewing takes me FOREVER to finish eating. I do however enjoy what I think of as chunky salads... where the vegetables are in bitesize pieces that I can easily eat without having pieces of spinach sticking out of my mouth. I also thoroughly enjoy fall/winter veggies (think squash, beets, all manners of root veggies). It is starting to get cold outside and I find the warmth of squash, beets, etc comforting. This recipe is a mash-up of chunky, easy-to-eat salad style and comforting, delicious winter vegetables. My favourite thing about this recipe is that it is versatile. I have one version that I create just as a vegetable side for meals, and I have a second version that is more of a main course. Although it does take a good chunk of time to make, it is easy to double the recipe and save the extras for leftovers throughout the week. I hope you enjoy! 

Winter Vegetables

Prep Time: 50-60 minutes

Serves: 8 as a side

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large butternut squash
  • 3 large beets, no stems
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 lemon or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some for baking
  • 1 tbsp dried mint, plus some for garnish.
  • ground pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

** I usually wear a glove to prepare both the butternut squash and the beets to avoid getting the butternut squash starch film and the beet juice dye all over my hands**

  1. Bake squash and beets:
    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and dice butternut squash into approximately 2cm cubes and place in baking dish. Wash and dice beets into approximately 2 cm cubes and place in baking dish.
    • Brush both squash and beets with small amount of olive oil for baking. Squeeze approximately 1/2 lemon over both beets and squash. Add small amount ground pepper for baking.
    • Place beets on top rack and butternut squash on middle rack in oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning both beets and squash halfway through. Once squash is golden and tender remove from oven, setting aside to cool. Leave beets in for an additional 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Blanch kale:
    • While baking squash and beets, bring large pot of water to boil. Stem and wash kale, then add to boiling water. Blanch the kale for approximately 1 minute or until it becomes a bright green colour. Drain kale and run under cold water to stop cooking process. Then squeeze out excess water and chop coarsely. 
  3.  Make salad dressing:
    • Whisk together vinegars, 3 tbsp olive oil, mint and garlic in small mixing bowl.
    • Pour over both beets and squash and toss.
  4. Finishing touches:
    • Place kale on serving platter leaving open space in centre. Arrange beets and squash in centre, sprinkle with small amount additional mint for garnish. Enjoy!

Winter Vegetable Salad

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4 as a main

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Additional Ingredients:

  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 as above. Toss beets, squash, kale, and chickpeas in large mixing bowl. Separate into 4 servings and divide feta and walnuts between them. Enjoy!

 

Tip: Sometimes I will add 1/2 cup cooked quinoa per serving to stretch this recipe out even further and add a delicious whole grain!