This butternut squash kale salad is the perfect fall salad filled with delicious brussels sprouts, chickpeas, fresh clementines and roasted walnuts - and then drizzled with a simple maple mustard vinaigrette.
Comforting fall food does not necessarily mean unhealthy food. This salad is chock full of healthy ingredients while we can still enjoy the cozy warmness of fall that we all love.
Other healthy fall food I can recommend are honey banana bread, 3 minute garlic butter kale, curry coconut carrot soup and chicken shawarma. Or if you read this during summer - grilled peach and bacon salad, mango prosciutto salad or strawberry arugula salad!
The 5 perfect elements of a fall salad
As I mention in my arugula summer salad, there's five elements you should consider to create the perfect salad. This makes making a balanced salad so much easier. To create this fall salad, I used these ingredients within the five categories:
- Green: The something green in this salad is obviously the super nutritious kale, but also the brussels sprouts
- Sweetness: Clementines, maple syrup and butternut squash. Clementines add both freshness and sweetness to this salad!
- Something crunchy: Roasted walnuts, but you can use whatever nuts you prefer.
- Creamy: The parmesan on the brussels sprouts and chickpeas is so, so good!
- Dressing: This maple mustard dressing rounds off this salad perfectly.
All this considered, I think this is a pretty epic and healthy homage to fall.
A quick overlook on the health benefits of this butternut squash kale salad
- Butternut squash is low in calories yet high in nutrients such as vitamin A, C, magnesium and potassium. All this is great to aid weight loss, promotes eye health and can prevent heart
- Kale is a superfood that is packed with vitamin A, C and K, lutein, powerful antioxidants and tons of minerals. Kale is also good for eye health and weight loss, but also lowers cholesterol, prevents blood clotting.
- Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of protein, vitamin A and K. Brussels sprouts can be good for improving bone health and vision, managing diabetes and great for your skin.
- Garlic is not only the most delicious thing, it is also packed with manganese, vitamin B6, C, selenium and fiber. Garlic can combat sickness, reduce blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels and so much more.
- Walnuts have healthy fats, including omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, potassium and more. Walnuts helps lower the cholesterol, they can ease inflammation and lower your chances of blood clot.
There are of course many more health benefits of all these ingredients, and also many of the ingredients I didn't mention. All in all, this butternut squash kale salad is packed with the good stuff both nutrition-wise and flavor-wise!
How to roast butternut squash
Butternut squash is easy to prepare in the oven. Start by pre-heating the oven to 400F (200C). Chop the ends of the butternut squash so that it stands more sturdily on your chopping board. Peel it using either a knife, ostehøvel or a vegetable peeler (1-2).
Once it's peeled, use a heavy and sharp knife to cut through the butternut squash lengthwise to get two equal sized pieces. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and strainy meat and either discard or roast the pumpkin seeds as a wonderful snack!
Now chop the butternut squash into equal sized pieces (4), they won't be completely uniform but that is ok. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and combine with all the ingredients listed under butternut squash in the recipe card - apart from the maple syrup.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender (they slide off your fork when pressing them). A couple of minutes before taking them out of the oven, combine with maple syrup.
Shaved brussels sprouts
At the same time, prepare the brussels sprouts. These can be in the oven at the same time as the butternut squash, but preferably on two separate sheets as it is a lot of veggies.
Cut the stem off the brussels sprouts and remove bruised leaves. Place them in a food processor and pulse until you get your desired level of shaveness (yes, this is now a word). Drain chickpeas and dry as best as you can. Combine with all of the ingredients listed under brussels sprouts - apart from the parmesan cheese.
Place on the baking sheet and bake first for about 20 minutes, and then take it out and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, increase temperature to 430F (220C) and roast for an additional 5 minutes.
If you want more tips on how to use brussels sprouts, check out these recipes:
- Pan fried crispy brussels sprouts
- Baked honey balsamic brussels sprouts
- Blackberry glazed lemony brussels sprouts
Maple mustard garlic vinaigrette
This maple mustard garlic vinaigrette really tops this salad off nicely! You can use whatever dressing you think is best, but it's hard to beat this sweet and tangy combination in my book. All you got to do is to shake all the ingredients together in a jar with a lid.
Super quick wilted kale
Just before serving, you can begin with the kale and walnuts. In a large casserole, add oil and garlic and once that is fragrant, add in the chopped kale. Give it a good mix, place the lid on and let it wilt for about 2-3 minutes.
I've also used wilted kale as a side dish, like in this garlic kale recipe. Just a quick way of getting a lot of flavor and getting rid of some of the bitterness in the kale. You do not have to do this, but if it takes less than 5 minutes, I will gladly do it each time.
Chop the walnuts and roast them in a dry pan on medium heat until they smell nutty. Slice the clementines as you wish. Serve with roasted butternut squash, shaved brussels sprouts and maple mustard vinaigrette!
For an extra filling dinner I also sometimes include a chicken breast or pork tenderloin, but it's filling enough on its own. Scroll down a little to find a printable recipe card.
Did you like this butternut squash kale salad? I think you will love these too:
- Strawberry Arugula Summer Salad
- Creamy Pasta Salad with Chorizo
- Grilled Harissa Chicken Salad with Pineapple
- Mexican Inspired Mango Salad
- Lemon Chicken Winter Salad
- Healthy Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Tomato
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