This Harvest Kale Salad is Paleo, Whole30, and Low Carb. Every bite of this salad is loaded with incredible autumn flavors from nourishing kale and Brussel sprouts, delicata squash and smooth balsamic vinaigrette.
Harvest Kale Salad (Paleo, Whole 30, Low Carb)
This Harvest Kale Salad is a perfectly nourishing salad for all your fall and winter festivities. This salad embodies all the amazing flavors of autumn produce.
Roasted delicata squash, sliced green apples, red onions all on a bed of nourishing kale and shaved Brussel sprouts. The delightful toppings are pomegranate seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and I added a sprinkle of micro greens for a bonus nutritional punch.
Kale is undoubtedly a healthy green vegetable. As are the Brussel sprouts. And I use them quite extensively in my home cooking because they are both rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals. However, they both have a dark side….
Why Raw Greens are not Always Best
Simply put, some vegetables are more nutritious when slightly cooked. Cruciferous greens such as spinach, chard, and kale contain a chemical known as oxalic acid, which can be irritating to the intestinal tract. It can also block nutrient absorption.
The oxalic acid binds with minerals such as magnesium and calcium and may cause them to crystallize throughout the body. This process can damage tissues and thus, creating inflammation in the body. (source)
The good news is that there is a simple way to reduce the oxalic acid in these vegetables.
By cooking them!
If you’re skeptical about eating cooked greens in a salad, I assure you this salad will win you over. That’s because you don’t have to cook the vegetables to mush. We are slightly roasting them in the oven for 15 minutes only (on the same pan as our squash!). The kale and Brussel sprouts still retain their shape, color, and texture but without the compromising effect of oxalic acid.
Related: 11 Tips for Optimal Nourishment
Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
The best part about this dressing is how simple it truly is. Just add all the ingredients to a pint size mason jar and give it a good shake. All set to go.
Another Simple Tip
I’m a firm believer in using what you have in the kitchen to make a recipe work. If you don’t have Italian seasoning in your pantry for delicata squash, use a bit of dried basil, parsley, and oregano, or whatever other dried herbs you have. In fact, you can go even simpler and just use traditional salt and pepper to season it.
Likewise, use whatever variety of kale you have at the market. I happened to have curly but feel free to use Lacinto, Red Russian or whatever you have available to you. Just be sure the consistency and texture of the subbed veggies match what’s in the recipe card. (Spinach would not be a good sub for kale as it will cook a lot quicker).
Helpful Tips for this Harvest Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- To save time, I bought already chopped kale and shaved Brussel sprouts at Trader Joe’s. My shaved Brussel sprouts came in a bag of 12 oz which is roughly 3 cups.
- The amount of greens doesn’t have to be precise, just use what you have available to you and what’s easiest.
- I roasted delicata squash and kale with Brussel sprouts on the same pan. I used an extra large pan that I have when roasting vegetables. After 15 minutes of roasting, transfer the greens onto a large salad bowl and spread out the squash slices to resume roasting them.
- This salad makes a generous party size salad. I topped it with some micro greens for an added nutritional boost.
- This Harvest Salad is good (without the dressing) for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Toss the avocados if uneaten otherwise they will turn brown and soggy but the rest of the salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Helpful Items for this Harvest Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Italian Seasoning: I make my own (see recipe for that here) but this is a good clean product.
- Deep Extra Large Sheet Pan: This one links to an aluminum one. I don’t ever use aluminum in my cooking and opt for stainless steel instead. However, I was not able to find one on Amazon (and actually don’t recommend that you buy this one). I purchased my large sheet from a local restaurant supply store – so be sure to check them out for a deep pan. I’m only linking this one here so you have an idea of what I used in my recipe. If you don’t have a deep, extra large sheet pan, just use 2 large baking sheets. Use what you have but I use this deep sheet pan on a weekly basis for all my roasting needs. 🙂
- Mason Jars :makes salad dressings a cinch. Toss all the ingredients and give it a shake.
- Large salad bowl: I’m eyeing this one, complete with servers and a bamboo lid that can also be used as a cutting board. Genius! Going on my wish list!
Harvest Kale Salad
Harvest Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut ends of delicata squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and pulp and cut to make 1/4" thickness half-rings.
- Season delicata squash with Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drizzle avocado oil and toss well with hands. Spread in single layer on one half of a large, deep baking pan.
- On the other side of the pan, toss chopped kale and shredded brussel sprouts. Season with salt and pepper if desired but not necessary.
- Roast for 15 minutes. After that time, transfer the greens into a large salad dish.
- Turn the oven to low broil. Spread out the squash slices out more on the pan and place back in the oven to broil for 3-4 minutes. Keep a close watch to avoid burning the squash.
- Remove squash and allow to cool completely.
- In a small jar, combine all ingredients for salad dressing and shake vigorously to blend everything.
- To assemble the salad, spread cooled squash over the greens, followed by sliced green apples, sliced avocado, chopped onions, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate anvils.
- Pour balsamic vinaigrette over the salad and enjoy. The salad (without the dressing) can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
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