Gluten Free, Salad, Winter, Fall

SPICY BUTTERNUT + KALE CHOPPED SALAD

I have photos and thoughts to share of the newest addition to our team, baby Cleo Jane, but will get my act together on that next week. She blazed her way into the world three weeks ago and it is taking a little time to adjust, as expected - the rough nights paired with day time toddler tantrums - but I have been finding myself craving some sense of routine and normalcy regardless. It's a funny thing to carry on with life per usual after another person joins your family. I know the long nights slow, and then end, eventually. I can only say after doing this once before that newborns are easier than a walking, talking, child but also so hard in a completely different way. So, in an effort to keep moving forward, I have been cooking a little between the meals our gracious community of friends have brought by. I am trying to go on walks, slow ones and we have someone watching Curran one day a week so we can get some work done. Slowly but surely, we'll get there.  

This is a quick take on a veggie taco salad that I made in hopes that it would keep well in the fridge and Hugh could wrap it up in a tortilla and add chicken to make a quick meal of it. It feels healthy but still rich enough with the cheese, chips and avocado to actually satisfy. I imagine adding lentils or another bean of choice would help fill it out but I have a newborn with enough of a gas problem that this is likely to set her off in the middle of the night as is. So use this as a starting block or leave it as written. When trying to eat a little lighter, it's salads like this that don't leave me eating a grilled cheese after. Perhaps a personal problem ;) 

SPICY BUTTERNUT + KALE CHOPPED SALAD // Serves 4-6

As it goes with salads, you can alter the amount of add-ins to your taste. A little more cheese, add shredded chicken or roasted tofu or beans if you'd like, but it is plenty of a meal as it is in my opinion. The dressing is light and very simple. If you like extra to keep on hand, simply double or triple the numbers below. 

1.5 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tsp. taco seasoning (I like Penzeys or make your own)
1 large bunch of lacinato/Tuscan kale
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for garnish
1 avocado, diced
handful of tortilla chips

// dressing //
juice of one juicy lime
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400'. Put the squash on the tray and drizzle with the olive oil, taco seasoning and a few pinches of salt only if your seasoning does not contain salt. Toss to coat and spread in an even layer. Roast in the upper third of the oven for 25 minutes or until just softened and the edges begin to brown. Remove and cool completely. 

Remove the stems from the kale and chop it well. Put it in a large mixing bowl with the green onions. Whisk your dressing ingredients together, pour it on the kale and massage it into the kale with your hands. This will soften up the leaves. You may do this a couple hours in advance, keep covered in the fridge. 

When ready to assemble your salad. Toss the pepitas, feta, avocado and cooled squash with the greens to combine. Crumble the tortilla chips on top along with a little extra feta cheese. 

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