Thanksgiving is not too far away. You making plans for something new, or planning on the old favorites? Admittedly, this is an American holiday, so those of you from other parts of the world are a little left out--but hey, why not take advantage of our frenzy to make the most delicious meal of the year? What could that hurt? My Diner news this month is the annual Thanksgiving issue--mostly specializing on extra special side dishes. This is one that will be featured.
Not only is it beautiful--it is really healthy too. It is loaded with things I love. The super sweet roasted Kabocha squash...gorgeous purple (officially red) kale, bacon, pecans and a touch of cheese. Oh yeah! And the textures-- if you never tried kabocha, its creaminess may surprise you. Contrast that with the crisped kale and salty bacon. This one is topped with a bacon vinaigrette and a touch of Parmesan. It would be a perfect salad for the Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Purple Kale and Kabocha Salad
1/2 Kabocha squash (reserve other half for another recipe)
2 tbsp olive oil
5 strips bacon
1 bunch purple kale
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 drops stevia or sweetener equal to 4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp toasted, chopped pecans
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash kabocha squash, but do not peel it. Cut it into wedges about 1 inch at the thickest part. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently to coat. Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and browned on the edges. Set aside half of the slices. When cool, cut the slices into bite sized chunks.
In a large skillet, fry bacon slices until crisp. Set the bacon aside, reserving the fat in the skillet. Wash kale and remove tough stems. Dip each leaf into the bacon fat and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Remove and cool.
Make a simple vinaigrette from the remaining bacon grease in the skillet. Stir in the vinegar, and stevia.
To assemble salad, use kitchen shears to cut kale leaves into bite size pieces. Place the kale on a serving platter. Top with kabocha chunks. Spoon the bacon vinaigrette over the salad. Top with pecans, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
The thing I love about kale salads is their durability. This salad is not going to wilt even with the dressing. The caramelized squash tastes great at any temperature and the combination of flavors is delightful. Don't think you have to save this for the holiday, though. Just add a little protein, and you have a great dinner. It can be served as a warm salad also.