You all know it’s that time of year where everyone is setting goals like crazy. Whether it’s getting in the gym, losing weight or heck even trying to pay off debt, all of us are looking for that reset button, including me! I didn’t work out on January 1 mostly because our church had a chili cook off and I for sure wasn’t going to miss that one so right out of the gate I didn’t start off too well. However, the next day I was able to hunker down and get after it while also whipping up and eating this Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe. This is one of my wife’s favorite salads that I make and it’s incredibly versatile. By that I mean you can accessorize with toppings as much or as little as you’d like. I personally love that because I can tailor it by what’s in season and available to me from my local grocery store. One of my other objectives for this 2017 year is to eat cleaner and in season. Sure there will be some recipes I create that may have a tomato in it during the winter months or even some berries, but those mostly come from folks I work with, and ugh I got bills to pay J. For now, we’ll just focus on making this Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe, and a little look back at 2016.
This past year has been incredibly challenging for me. I had some body aches, a minor surgery, an ER visit, and a couple other ditty’s that set me back. It’s crazy because I’m only 35, which I feel is still fairly young, and man did I feel like I fell apart a bit this year. My lower back made me miserable and the surgery recovery was no fun either… However, throughout all of my minor setbacks I can now look back and be thankful for everything that happened. I feel incredibly humbled and blessed still that I get to do what I love and spend a solid amount of time with my family. Time has become my new currency and I want to spend as much of it as I can with my family. The aches, and pains, and recovery time has taught me that my body will eventually fail me someday and that I’m here temporarily on this earth and am just passing through… In addition, to be thankful during the times when I’m 100% healthy and feeling great. While I still am feeling a few aches to kick off this new year, I’m going to remind myself on just how faithful God is and how much he is growing me and blessing me. Ok Reverend Billy, let’s do this recipe J.
The best my body felt in a long time was a few years ago when I did a 21-day fix through one of my good friends who works at Beach Body. I ate really well, got in some great cardio and slept like a champ! I want to find my way back to that so I wanted to kick off this year by exercising, sleeping well and making great food, starting with this Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe. It’s a wonderful combination of kale greens, seasonal vegetables and perfect sweet-tart combination from the apples and dressing that really brings this one together. One of my favorite parts about this salad is just how easy it is to make. I also love the fact that this is an all kale salad that actually tastes really good, because to be honest I’ve had a few that would go really well with a trashcan. The dressing and other ingredients on top really offset the bitter taste from the kale, and quite frankly compliments it more than it masks it. I told you my wife loves this salad, but I think even more than that she’s happy when I eat healthy greens.
The research that has been done from people who eat greens regularly versus people who do not is staggering. There are stories where people eat a raw food diet and literally unclog their 80% plus blocked arteries. While I’d never be able to commit myself to a lifestyle like that, I still need to do a better job of eating more leafy greens.
So in the end sorry for all of the sad and hopeful stories of 2016 and 2017, but I hope in the end it will inspire you in some way to eat a little better and get some exercise. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous future to all of us.
Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe
For the Salad:
- 1 acorn squash sliced into ½” thick slices seeds removed
- 1 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- ½ thinly sliced red onion
- 3 bunches of roughly cut fresh kale stems removed
- 1 each cored and sliced Granny Smith and Fuji apple
- 1 thinly shaved bulb of fennel
- 3 stalks of thinly shaved celery
- 1/2 cup of pistachios
- 3/4 cup of dried cherries
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
- 2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Coat the squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and al dente, or slightly crunchy. Chill.
Next whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved and submerge the onions. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a large bowl toss together the kale, some of the pickled red onions, apples, fennel, celery, pistachios and cherries and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss together. Finish with Parmesan cheese and top off with chilled roasted acorn squash.