I would love to be one of those people who so enjoys eating salads that they just can’t bear to part with them in the dead cold of winter. In actuality, salads do not really feel like real food to me, and in winter all I want out of life is a bowl full of warm things, even if it is just “microwaved spaghetti-os.” But sometimes I realize it’s been three weeks since I ate anything green that wasn’t a Lifesaver, and also that my hands are sort of shaking and I might have scurvy, and oh look there’s a bunch of kale in the fridge, maybe I should eat that. But since eating a bowl full of cold greens when it’s eight degrees outside is depressing, here is a salad that’s nutritious and filling and (kind of) warm.
Winter Kale Salad
1 bunch kale
1 squash (I used butternut, but acorn or kabocha or even delicata would be good), peeled and cubed
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
6 oz mushrooms
1 small onion
Some sort of cheese would probably be good if you eat cheese, I leave that up to you
red wine vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cubed squash with a few tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange squash in a layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or so, stirring every 10 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time, and you can keep the cooked squash in the fridge if you don’t care about it being warm.)
2. While the squash roasts, tear up or roughly chop your kale into a bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the leaves and use your hands to work it through the kale, gently squeezing and scrunching the greens. Within a few minutes the kale should have broken down visibly to become sort of wilted.
3. Heat a small dry pan on the stove and toss the walnuts in it for a few minutes, or until they are slightly browner and smell very walnutty.
4. Slice the mushrooms and onions (I prefer doing the onions in rings, but have no real reason for this) and sautee for eight minutes or so in a little bit of olive oil, or until soft.
5. Roughly now-ish the squash should be done; take it out and let it cool for a minute while you make the dressing. Unfortunately I cannot really advise you as to amounts for the dressing, because I am bad at measuring things. I would recommend mixing some amount of mustard with some amount of vinegar, salt and pepper, and perhaps some minced garlic or herbs if you like, and then drizzling some olive oil in while you stir it with a fork. Taste to see if you like the ratio of everything, and adjust if not!
6. Mazel tov! Now you can combine all the ingredients in a bowl together, and toss with the dressing. Eat while it’s still warm and delicious! The good news is that you can just stick any leftovers in the fridge, as the kale is hardy enough that it won’t get gross and slimy if it sits in the dressing overnight. Enjoy being able to survive a few more days of winter without your teeth falling out or needing to be hospitalized for malnutrition after eating only pasta and ramen for six weeks!