Everything I am about to share with you is a gift for the remainder of your Thanksgiving week. It’s a hug in the form of greens. It’s positivity sandwiched before and after your indulgent Thanksgiving day. In case I’m confusing you here, it’s actually a salad, but it accomplishes both hugs and positivity.
You are going to want to eat it today if my pictures do it any justice. AND since you will be in the grocery store with every other single person in your city tomorrow (ugh!), you are going to want to just grab more kale and squash because a) they are both probably on sale and b) you know Thursday might make you crave green food for the weekend. Kale leading you in and kale leading you out.
If by chance you’ve been asked to bring a salad to your Thanksgiving festivities? Bring this one. Even if your family is like mine and for some reason has taken it on as their cause to dislike kale. I say, bring it on.
It is one of the best salads I’ve had in awhile, like since my last kale salad craving I suppose. Around this time of year, I tend to seek a salad to lighten my lunch life. Last year I was on repeat with the beloved Kale and Brussels Salad below.
But this year, this week, this month, has me looking and loving my lunch again thanks to our recent trip. A week ago I had just flown to meet up with Tim in NYC and sat down at the hotel restaurant, Marta, for a lunch date with myself. Tim recommended the Pollo Salad which was delicata squash, Brussels, kale, perfectly pulled chicken, toasted pumpkin seeds and some fantastic dried cheese. I went from this lunch to 3 more days of incredible meals all over NYC, but this salad did not leave my mind come Monday. I think it’s because it was beautiful but also felt attainable in the near future.
Delicata squash, friends. Do you all know about this? I might be the only one who has somehow skipped over this particular squash in the past, but this is why I LOVE eating out and traveling. It’s the exposure to a world of people and food that is different but so very good. I very quickly found delicata squash at Whole Foods last week, as if I’d walked by it a million times. No worries, this is what I know now: you don’t have to peel it. What? Delicata is revolutionary squash eating for the lazy/busy person. The thin skin cooks perfectly and holds the soft squash together in one great bite. Such a bonus.
If I were bringing it to Thanksgiving, I would skip the chicken obviously, but for lunch, I’d do it just this way.
Here is my salad selfie for the rest of November, sandwiched of course before and after some brown sugar pecan topped sweet potatoes.
- 1 delicata squash halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 big handfuls of brussels sprouts ends removed and halved
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large bunch of kale leaves removed from thick center stem and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup raw and shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts pan fried or grilled sliced into strips
- Pecorino cheese grated or thinly sliced optional
- 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of honey can skip if you prefer savory
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Spread your raw pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for 8 minutes. Continue toasting if some are still green, until evenly brown but not burned, check every few minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Shake a little salt on top and stir around, scrape onto a plate to cool.
- Toss squash pieces and halved Brussels with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a rimmed cookie sheet. If vegetables look dry, add a little bit more oil to make sure they are lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.
- For the vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a small jar and shake well or whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When your vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes, stir and check to see if squash and Brussels are tender by poking with a fork. If you prefer either vegetable to be cooked more, return to oven for 5 minutes more at the most and taste to your liking.
- To prep salad, toss kale pieces with a couple of tablespoons of dressing at a time, making sure that each piece gets coated. Give greens a good stir and see if you need more dressing if so add a spoonful more.
- Spread your greens on a large serving platter or individual plates.
- Top your plate of greens with warm squash, Brussels, and chicken pieces. Sprinkle with 1/2 of your pumpkin seeds and grate pecorino cheese on last if you are using.
- I like to leave extra dressing, cheese, and pumpkin seeds on the table so individuals can add more as desired.
Makes 4-6 servings.