Happy Fall, y’all! With fall comes brisker weather — which as someone who is always warm, I quite enjoy — along with delicious foods. Pumpkin, anyone? See also: Brussels sprouts, squash in all shapes and sizes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, etc.
I recently prepared a multi-course vegan meal for a group of wonderful women. A couple of friends came up with the idea for an event, GATHER: Your Mat, Our Table. The event included an hour-long rooftop yoga class and then a delicious vegan meal prepared by yours truly using almost completely local ingredients. Here’s the menu lineup (and credit to the farms that supplied the goods, AKA the veggies):
Lacinato kale, cinnamon-roasted butternut squash and pomegranate salad with candied pecans and a fig-balsamic dressing
Roasted Brussels sprouts with orange zest and toasted hazelnuts
Purple and sweet potato fritters with spiced apple sauce
Butternut squash and lentil curry over coconut-lime cauliflower “rice”
Caramel apple bar
*Lacinato kale, purple and sweet potatoes from Green Acres Indiana Farm; Butternut squash, red onions, red peppers, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts from Geneva Lakes Produce; Apples from K & K Farms*
This was my farmer’s market haul for the event:
Many of the awesome ladies at the event were asking for recipes, so I figured I would do a series of posts. I want to first highlight my personal favorite dish of the night (and one of the easiest to make!): a roasted butternut squash and kale salad.
I’m all about color and texture in my recipes, and this one really offers it all. Crispy kale, the “pop” of pomegranate, the smooth, creamy texture of roasted butternut squash plus candied pecans on the side to add sweetness and crunch.
Drizzle it with a super-simple Mission fig balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got a major crowd favorite.
Fall Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad
This salad is vegan but to add a little more protein, try topping with grilled chicken, salmon or to keep it vegan/vegetarian and up the protein, add some lentils or chick peas to the mix.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 bunches lacinato (AKA dinosaur) kale, preferably organic, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil, preferably cold-pressed
- 1 large pomegranate
- 8 oz. pecan halves
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. fig balsamic (you can find at specialty grocery stores or olive oil/vinegar shops) Substitute balsamic vinegar if you can’t find fig balsamic
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the ends off of the butternut squash then cut in quarters. Scoop out the seeds. Using a sharp knife, cut the peel off, then dice into 1/2″ cubes.
- Toss diced butternut squash and red onion with coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until desired level of char (I like mine really charred).
- While squash and onions are roasting, add kale to a large bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Using hands, massage oil into the kale. This will take out some of the bitterness and make the kale a better texture. Put the massaged kale in the fridge to marinate while you prep everything else.
- To remove the seeds from the pomegranate, roll the pomegranate gently around on the table (before cutting into it). You will hear and feel the seeds loosening. Then, cut the pomegranate in quarters and scoop out the seeds. Keep seeds refrigerated.
- Add 2 tsp. coconut oil to a pan and heat for 1 minute, then add pecans, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to pan and toast, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Using a whisk, mix vinegar, 3 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. maple syrup.
- On top of “massaged” kale, add pomegranate seeds, roasted butternut squash/onions and candied pecans. Drizzle with dressing.
Stay tuned for more fall recipes coming your way. And while I’m not generally a “vegan” cook, these recipes have mass appeal and include REAL foods that anyone can get behind. Hope you enjoy!