Kale Salad with Delicata Squash
Lately I have been obsessing over delicata squash- which is exactly the kind of thing someone who really love food ( and the fall) would say BUT trust me it is that good. I have been preparing it almost weekly at home as I know it will be out of season soon but my absolute favorite way to enjoy is is leftover and after it has been cooled. I typically will roast the squash for dinner but save any leftover to use for a salad or to enjoy with my coconut yogurt the next day.
Another one of my recent obsessions has been pumpkin seed oil. I love mixing up foods, oils, and spices that I use to ensure a variety in my diet to keep things exciting and avoid getting bored. This variety also helps ensure a greater spectrum of nutrients and phytocompounds as well. I have tried pumpkin seed oil from the grocery store but nothing compares to the pumpkin seed oil I get here locally from Vomfass in Rice Village . The pumpkin seed oil from this local oil and vinegar shop is rich and vibrant in color and certainly has a much more rich and nutty flavor compared to others I have tried. Pumpkin seed oil is a low heat oil and in fact I don't recommend cooking with it at all. Instead I would use it for dressings or even to drizzle on top of vegetables or dips to enjoy the flavor the most. Pumpkin seed oil is also an excellent source of phytocompounds. One of which is Beta-sitosterol which has the ability to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by inhitibing absorption and has even been shown to promote prostate health. Delta-7-sterol is another phytocompound found in pumpkin seed oil which can promote the balance of a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is linked to hair loss in both men and women and has been shown to be elevated in patients with PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Although many don't think of kale (or salads for that matter) as exciting; this kale salad is the exception and can be enjoyed as it is or with protein on top. This recipe is filled with so many flavorful ingredients and is just as exciting to look at as it is to eat.
2 bunches of lacinato or dino kale
2 delicata squash
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil ( Vomfass)
1 tbsp Pomegranate Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar (Vomfass)
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
3 tbsp pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup pomegranette seeds
Begin by roasting your delicata squash. Preheat oven to 350F. Wash your delicata squash and cut in half length wise and cut off ends. Remove seeds from the center of the squash and discard or save the seeds to roast in the oven for a snack. Cut the squash halves into 1/4-1/2 inch "half moon"pieces. Place squash onto lined baking sheet and toss with melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake on center rack for about 20 minutes. Option to broil directly under broiler for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and place into glass container and store overnight in fridge or allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. This will make an entire pan of squash and so you will likely have leftovers after prepping your salad.
Begin to prep kale salad by washing and drying the kale leaves. Remove the kale leaves from the stems using a knife or ripping the leaves downward starting from the base. Cut the kale leaves into bit size pieces and place into large salad bowl. Begin to massage kale by adding a small amount of salt and oil (pumpkin seed or olive) to the kale and begin to squeeze the kale with your fingers like you would if you were kneading bread. This process allows the kale to break down and become not only sweeter in taste and less bitter but also easier for us to digest. Next prep your dressing by whisking your pumpkin seed oil, vinegar and salt to taste. If using a sweeter vinegar you might not need any sweetener such as the maple to balance our the flavors. Add desired amount of maple to salad dressing if need by before pouring over kale. Next add in 1-2 cups of your delicata squash (you might have leftovers) before topping the salad with the pepitas and the pomegranate seeds.