Have you ever heard the phrase “eating seasonally”? Many health experts and chefs agree that it’s wise to include foods in your diet that are harvested at the same time of year you eat them. Eating seasonally is not just a trendy food movement; it’s a strategy with staying power because it’s better for your body and for your wallet. In much of the United States, we’re entering the peak season for butternut squash, and this kale and quinoa salad features the nutrient-packed vegetable in all its autumn glory.
Butternut squash has many health-promoting features, as well as a long storage life. It is considered a nutrient-dense food, providing much nutrition in few calories. Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is important for eye health and immune system function. Furthermore, its seeds are rich in protein, healthy fats and zinc, making it a satisfying snack.
Kale is known as a superfood, and for good reason. A green leafy vegetable, kale is low in calories (one cup weighs in at just 36 calories), and has zero grams of fat. Because it is high in fiber, it aids in digestion and elimination. And with nutrients like vitamins, folate and magnesium, it is nutrient-rich like butternut squash.
The spicy avocado dressing elevates the dish to a new level and unifies all the ingredients. A great way to maximize the flavors of fall, this dish is one way to eat seasonally and pack your meals full of nutrition.
Kale and quinoa salad with butternut squash and spicy avocado dressing
Ingredients — For the salad:
- 8 cups kale, thoroughly rinsed
- 1 cup butternut squash, chopped into small cubes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup chickpeas (rinsed if from a can, or cooked if dry)
- Splash of avocado oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cumin
Ingredients — For the dressing:
- 2 ripe avocados
- Squeeze of lime
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (Use less or more according to your preference for spice)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cover a roasting tray with parchment paper, then spread squash and chickpeas on the tray. Drizzle with a little avocado oil, and sprinkle cumin and salt.
- Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, tossing at 15 minute intervals to make sure they are evenly cooked.
- Meanwhile, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Once done, transfer to a bowl to cool.
- De-stem the kale and rinse thoroughly. Chop roughly, then place it all in a large bowl.
- Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, combine and blend.
- Pour the dressing over the kale. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale for three to five minutes, stopping when the leaves are soft and somewhat wilted.
- When all your other components are prepared, mix them in. Serve immediately.