Warm Wilted Kale and Winter Squash Salad

This is the perfect salad for Fall. It is quick and simple and it makes a tasty lunch or dinner. The flavors may surprise you! There is no reason why simple and healthful meals shouldn’t be delicious. If you would rather make it a side-dish, then feel free. (It’s your kitchen). It pairs wonderfully with a sweet German or kielbasa sausage.

This recipe will make 2 full-meal portions or 4 side salad portions.

Ingredients

1 large bunch of Kale

3 C butternut squash or other winter squash such as acorn or pumpkin

3 Tbsp. bacon fat, divided (or you can use ghee, avocado or coconut oil but bacon lends the best flavor)

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

*4 slices of raw bacon, diced

method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Squash cut 1

We need to make the squash more manageable to peel and cut. First, cut the ends off the squash.

Squash cut 2

Then, cut the squash in half cross-wise

Squash cut 3

Now, cut the end with the seeds in half length-wise.

Squash cut 4

Next, you scoop all the seeds out. I use a melon-baller. They’re very efficient for this kind of thing. Now, use a vegetable peeler and peel the skin from each section of squash like you would a potato.

Squash cut 5

Finally, cut all the squash into little cubes. Little half – inch cubes will work perfectly. You will likely have a squash that makes more than 3 C of cubes so save the rest in a baggie in the refrigerator for another use. (Think, winter squash soup or add it to a breakfast hash.)

Now, toss the cubes in a medium sized bowl with 1 Tbsp of bacon fat (if you have it) or ghee, coconut oil or avocado oil. Add ½ tsp of salt as well as the 1 tsp of chili powder and mix it all up until the cubes are evenly coated. You can use a spatula for this or your hands. I use my hands. Put the cubes in an oven-proof dish and roast for 20 – 30 minutes or until tender (when you can stick one easily with a fork.) You don’t want them to be mushy. Turn them with a spatula every 10 or 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your kale by removing the rib of each leaf and then slicing the leaves into strips. If you like more bite-sized pieces cut them again cross-wise.

Now, you will have quite the heap of kale leaves! Get out a large soup pot or dutch oven. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp bacon fat (or other fat) over medium heat.

Kale bowl
Kale bowl cut

*If you don’t have leftover bacon fat in the fridge but still want the bacon flavor, dice and cook about 4 slices of bacon in the bottom of your big pot. Remove the crumbles once they’ve crisped and set them aside in a small bowl. Leave the leftover grease in the bottom of the pot to wilt your kale leaves. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles on top of your finished salad!

Once the fat is hot use some tongs to add the kale leaves in batches. If you can fit them all in at once, go for it, but you want to be able to turn them easily. Cook down the leaves by turning them every 15 seconds or so until all the leaves are wilted and hot. Toss in the remaining ½ tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder now. Remove from heat and sprinkle the apple cider vinegar over the leaves turning them again to evenly distribute the vinegar.

Get two plates and pile up the kale leaves first. Then, spoon the roasted squash on top. Garnish with the bacon crumbles, if you have them, and freshly cracked pepper. You could even add cheese, dried fruit or a protein such as shredded chicken. It’s beautiful, warm and delicious!

Enjoy!

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