Make Your Own: Massaged Kale & Butternut Squash Salad

Make Your Own: Massaged Kale & Butternut Squash Salad

Amanda Furbee

The Art of Making Winter Salads for Optimal Digestion

As winter comes rolling in, there's no need to kiss your colorful, crunchy salads goodbye. Contrary to popular belief, salads are not exclusively summer fare. In fact, winter is the perfect time to explore the rich and deep flavors of seasonal vegetables in your salad bowl. As the weather cools down, it becomes even more important to consume meals that support your digestion. Among these, a well-crafted winter salad stands out. With butternut squash and kale as your key ingredients, you can create salads that not only offer a delicious, nourishing meal but also support optimal digestion. 

Understanding the Importance of Eating Seasonal Foods

Embracing the rhythm of nature by consuming seasonal foods is a practice that has been at the heart of traditional diets for centuries. The consumption of foods that are grown and harvested in their respective seasons comes with an abundance of benefits. Such foods are usually harvested at their prime, which means they are at their freshest and most flavorsome. Not to mention, they are packed with nutrients that tend to wane over time. The most significant aspect of eating seasonally is the alignment it provides with the natural cycles of the environment, contributing positively to overall health and vitality.

Unveiling the Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash and Kale

Let's delve into the health benefits of butternut squash and kale, our primary ingredients. Butternut squash, a common winter food, is a nutritional treasure trove, brimming with vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. It boasts a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that makes it an ideal salad ingredient. Turning to kale, a robust winter vegetable, it's loaded with vitamins K, A, and C, in addition to being a noteworthy source of calcium, iron, and protein. The contrasting flavors of these two power-packed ingredients make for a delightful and nutrient-rich salad.

The Benefits of Salads for Digestive Health

Salads are your digestive system's best friend, thanks to their rich fiber content. Incorporating salads into your diet can enhance your body's natural waste elimination process, as fiber aids in moving food through your system more efficiently. Fiber also plays a vital role in nourishing the beneficial gut bacteria, which in turn fosters a healthy gut ecosystem. Moreover, salads are a great source of raw fruits and vegetables which are naturally high in enzymes. These enzymes assist your body in the breakdown of food, making digestion more seamless. The fiber, enzymes, and gut-friendly elements together make salads a winning choice for promoting a smooth and healthy digestive process.

Creating Delicious and Nourishing Winter Salads

The key to a satisfying winter salad lies in the blend of flavors and textures. Start by roasting your butternut squash to bring out its natural sweetness, creating a balance with the slight bitterness of kale. Add other seasonal favorites such as tart pomegranate seeds or cranberries for a pop of color and crunch, or toasted nuts for an added dimension. For the dressing, try a light yet flavorful olive oil and lemon vinaigrette sweetened with a hint of honey or maple syrup. The beauty of winter salads lies in their diversity, so feel free to get creative and mix things up!

For the roasted butternut squash, add our Herbal Dip Blend for the perfect flavor combination. 

Our Herbal Dip Blend is made up of yummy favorites like onion, garlic, and dill, with vitamin-rich nettle, parsley, and thyme plus sea salt and black pepper. A perfect addition to your dips and dishes.

The Art of Massaging Your Salad

Massaging kale can make a world of difference in both its taste and texture. To do this, first, separate the leaves from the stem. Next, drizzle a portion of your dressing onto the leaves. With your hands, rub the kale for a few minutes. This process breaks down the fibrous, tough cell structure of kale, resulting in a softer texture. It also alleviates some of its natural bitterness, making it more palatable. The end result is a tender, flavorful base ready to be mixed with your roasted butternut squash and other salad ingredients. This technique of massaging your salad is an essential step towards achieving a delightful and digestive-friendly winter salad. Remember, a good salad is not just about the ingredients you use, but also the love you put into preparing them.

Keeping Your Winter Salads Exciting

Maintaining variety in your salad rotation is key to sustaining your interest and enthusiasm. If you find yourself falling into a salad rut, it's time to mix things up. Get creative with your ingredient choices; perhaps try incorporating roasted beets for a rich, earthy flavor or citrus slices for a zesty kick. Experimenting with different types of cheese can also add an unexpected twist to your usual fare. Additionally, consider the concept of warm salads, a delightful fusion of hot and cold ingredients that creates an interesting contrast in temperatures. Remember, the more diversity in your salads, the more exciting they become. So, get adventurous with your winter salads and keep your taste buds guessing!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 6 to 8oz of kale leaf shredded or chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoon of Herbal Dip Blend
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8-10 baby carrots sliced down the middle
  • 1 cup of shredded purple cabbage
  • 2-3 green onions sliced into rounds
  • 1.5 cups of roasted pecans
  • 1.5 cups of roasted butternut squash
  • 4oz of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Make Your Own: Massaged Kale & Butternut Squash Salad

Roast your Butternut Squash

  • Start by roasting your butternut squash. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then, peel the squash and cut it up into 1-inch cubes.
  • Take the cubes and place them in a bowl with enough olive oil to cover the cubes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of the Herbal Dip Blend to coat the butternut squash.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, or until the squash is soft. 
  • Pull out of the oven and let cool. 

Salad Preparation

  • Take your kale and mix 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the kale. Get your hands into the bowl and gently massage the kale with these ingredients. It only takes a few minutes. Just long enough to cover all the kale with these ingredients. 
  • Once your kale is massaged you can add the carrot, cabbage, butternut squash, cranberries & pecans to the kale. 
  • Mix everything together. Then top off with the goat cheese and green onions.
  • More than likely, you won’t need another dressing with the massaged kale, but a nice balsamic or just oil and vinegar pair nicely. 
  • Top off with some chicken or salmon for an extra protein boost. 
  • Enjoy this delicious winter salad.

We take great pleasure in creating products and recipes for you. However, if you are interested in going more in-depth to make all of your own herbal products, we will be offering our Make Your Own Product Series as a recorded class in the future.

To set up an herbal consultation with me email: info@theherbshoppepharmacy.com 

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