Roasted squash and beet salad with shallot dressing

You may be wondering why a savoury recipe is being featured on a dessert blog. Well, I’ve decided to mix things up a bit.

Since completing my Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition, I’ve been fascinated by the growing wealth of evidence of the amazing power of nutrition and how it can influence health outcomes. There is often a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of nutrition, especially these days, when accurate information and research manipulated for marketing purposes are often mistaken for one another. We need to consider nutrition–and food–in its whole or wholistic form, not as single nutrients or as “bad” food or “super” food. It’s all about balance!

Kale from my garden. I’m so proud.

So I’m here to start sharing my own fabulous whole-food, plant-based meal and snack recipes that work for me, along with my usual sweet treats. Although the majority of my meals are simple, I occasionally end up with something pretty spectacular and I wonder, Why am I not sharing this with others?!

Let’s start with a salad I’ve been enjoying a lot lately.  With the cooler temperatures coming our way, I like to warm things up with the addition of roasted or steamed sweet potatoes, squash, beets and other colourful fall produce. So that’s exactly what I added to this salad, along with my favourite leafy greens and a handful of shredded carrot, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds. This salad is topped with my current go-to salad dressing–made with roasted shallots, white wine vinegar and a few simple spices.

Since kale is a cool-weather crop, this is the time to eat it. Those who are new to kale (I’m looking at you, Mom) often wonder how to prepare it. Being introduced to such a nutritional powerhouse that ends up tasting rather bitter is kind of a turn off. I’ve learned a few simple tricks that can turn your kale experience into a delicious success.

Three tips for preparing kale:

1. Buy fresh kale and use it up as soon as you can. Look for kale that has a rich green colour with crisp leaves. If it sits around too long, it will start to wilt and taste bitter. I found it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before use. If it wilts too soon, don’t throw it out! Add it to full-flavoured soups or stirfrys or make kale chips!

2. Remove the stems when you chop it up. The stems are the bitter part of the plant. Strip them from the leaves with a sharp knife and discard.

3. Massage the dressing into the leaves and let it sit for about 15 minutes. A kale salad tastes best when the dressing has had a chance to soak into the leaves. This also helps soften the leaves, which is especially important if you are using the curly variety. For best results, use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves.

Print Print

Roasted squash and beet salad with shallot dressing

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1/2 small butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 beets, quartered
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup arugula (or more kale)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Dressing:

  • 4 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water (see notes)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
    2. Place the cubed squash on a sheet pan and lightly coat with oil spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Add the shallots for the dressing on the same pan if there's room, or another small pan.
    3. Place the beets in the middle of a piece of tin foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold up the tin foil by folding the two ends in the middle to cover the beets.
    4. Place the squash, shallots and beets in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until soft, turning the squash and shallots halfway through. The shallots should be starting to caramelize at this point.
    5. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the other ingredients for the salad. Add all ingredients to a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing:

    1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

To assemble:

  1. Massage the dressing into the kale salad. Divide among plates and top with roasted squash and beets. Serve.

I try to use very little oil in my meals, and this includes salad dressing. For a smoother dressing, feel free to replace the water with your choice of oil.

      

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5 Responses to “Roasted squash and beet salad with shallot dressing”

  1. veganlisa — October 29, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    I’m so happy that you’re going to start sharing your amazing salads with the world!!!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — October 30th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

      Thank you, Lisa! I know you appreciate the goodness of salads as much as I do. xo

      Reply

  2. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur — December 1, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

    Roasted squash and beets, well really roasted vegetables in general, are my ultimate go-to once the temperature starts to dip. This salad looks great – a nice, light way to enjoy those hearty winter staples!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — December 3rd, 2012 @ 11:20 am

      Thanks, Jodye!

      Reply

  3. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan — April 30, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    It’s always awesome to mix things up, especially when it involves this beautiful salad!

    Reply

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