Okay, I have roasted my first butternut squash and unpacked my sweater box, I am finally ready for Fall now. Actually, I have already roasted three butternut squashes, so I guess I am in full Fall mode.
I had a version of this salad at one of my favorite restaurants recently, and ever since then I have recreated it a few times, a few different ways, and this way right here in the winner.
This site is no stranger to marinated kale salad, and I would like to think that I have a small arsenal of kale salad favorites for each season. This fig and butternut squash combination is my current favorite fall version. It’s easy to throw together if you have guests coming over, and it is a fun combination that some might not expect.
I used to be one of those "I don't do fruit in salad" people. But, as you can see here and here, I guess I can no longer claim to be one of those people. As long as the sweetness of the fruit's purpose is to balance out the savory, I am all about fruit in my salad. Especially this salad.
fig + butternut squash + marinated kale salad with a balsamic reduction
4-6 as an appetizer
1 small butternut squash
several figs, quartered
a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
the juice of ½ a lemon
a bunch of kale (about 4 cups), center ribs removed and chopped
1/2 cup of really good balsamic vinegar
a shallot, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandolin)
hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds
Roast the butternut squash:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
- Peel the butternut squash and slice it into cubes. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes until the squash is tender.
- Remove from the oven, and set aside.
While the squash is roasting, prepare kale and figs, and make the balsamic reduction:
- Place the chopped kale in a bowl, squeeze the lemon over the kale, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and massage the kale using your hands. Set aside until you’re ready to serve.
- Place a medium sized frying pan over medium heat and place a little bit of olive oil in the pan. Sear the figs for a couple of minutes on each side until they begin to caramelize, remove and set aside. Then, in the same pan, add the balsamic vinegar and reduce to half. It should thicken up and look like a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside while you assemble the salad.
Assemble the salad:
- Place the figs, squash, and shallots on top of the marinated kale. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over top, and finish with the hemp and pumpkin seeds. Give it a little toss and serve.