I have been super MIA. This time of year I seem to get so sucked into laziness as the days get shorter and the sun and warmth disappear. This makes it particularly hard to snap a photo of dinner when dinner is a bowl of roasted veggies we eat at 9pm.
With my husband and I both in grad school (me full time, him part time) and both working (him full time, me part time) we often find ourselves home late only to look at each other and almost simultaneously say "wanna order sweetgreen". Maybe I am SUPER basic, but I freaking love sweetgreen. Something about being able to order a hardy, filling salad that's comparable to something homemade feels like such an easy satisfying choice.
And being the total creature of habit that I am, despite going to sweetgreen maybe 20 + times I order the same thing literally every time: The Harvest Bowl no chicken. Sometimes I add tofu, sometimes I add falafel, sometimes I add nothing but it's so damn good on it's own.
With thanksgiving coming, I knew I wanted to recreate my beloved salad at home. I spruced it up with pomegranates and used warm roasted butternut instead of the cold sweet potato slices and it is everything. Prepping all of the different elements takes some time - which is part of what makes sweetgreen so damn tempting for folks who are busy, but it is worth the effort if you have some extra time. And because kale is basically the most badass green you can totally eat the leftovers the next day without them getting soggy! This will for sure be on our thanksgiving table this year!
Serves 4 as a large meal, or 8-10 as an appetizer/side
Inspired by: sweetgreen
1 small butternut squash
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large pomegranate (or about 3/4 cup arils)
1 large bunch of kale (~10-12 oz), de-ribbed and thinly chopped
1 large honeycrisp apple, cored and diced into large cubes
3 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Meanwhile peel the butternut, then slice in half and discard the stringy center and seeds (or toast them with olive oil and salt for a tasty snack). Dice the butternut and then toss the cubes with oil and a liberal amount of salt. Bake the butternut for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you assemble the rest of the salad.
Make the rice. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes (or per the instructions on your rice container).
Slice open the pomegranate and remove the seeds. I find the easiest way to do this is to quarter the pomegranate then submerge one quarter at a time in a large bowl of water. Underwater carefully tear away the pith, removing the rubies. The rubies will float to the top of the water and the pith will fall to the bottom!
Roast the almonds. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees (alternately you could roast the almonds in a small toaster oven - that's usually what I do). Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour about half of the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Top with the roasted squash, wild rice, pomegranate seeds, almonds, goat cheese, and apple. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, toss and serve!
I came home from teaching a private Sunday morning craving something hearty, healthy, maple syrupy and very Fall. This salad is epic and checks all of those boxes. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I've never been much of a "salad person", but I'm trying to be. And I'm finding the more things you put into a salad, the tastier it usually is.
This salad celebrates Fall in a big way. It's apple-forward, with a cozy maple-y dressing, crunchy warm toasted almonds, tart dried cranberries, hearty quinoa and creamy goat cheese. And let's not forget the king of the health food world, Kale. Oh hail Kale. But seriously, this salad is just lovely. It's definitely making it onto my Thanksgiving table and I hope it makes it onto yours.
On another note, I'm taking the GRE tomorrow. And not to sound desperate, but I could use all the prayers/positive vibes/well wishes I could get. You see, there's math on the GRE, and I have to write, you know, academically for TWO essays. All I know how to write about is FOOD! So writing this post is my attempt at procrastinating on those last couple pages of vocabulary words. But seriously. Send those good vibes my way. Thank you!
Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Serves 4-6 as a side
For the Salad:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1 large bunch of Kale, (12-14oz)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 very large Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and add to boiling water. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in a large pinch of salt, fluff with a fork and set aside.
Preheat the oven (I use my toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. (Note: these make a fantastic snack on their own!) Roughly chop and set aside.
Wash and de-rib your kale. The central rib of the kale is very bitter, discard the ribs or save them for juicing. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Add dried cranberries, almonds, quinoa, apples, and goat cheese. Toss and serve.
Notes: Because of it's sturdiness kale salads actually make great left-overs. The kale does a great job of holding its shape and doesn't get soggy.