Who can refuse the vibrant color and tangy-sweet flavor? Step up, my friends! Fill your bowl with this healthy, in-season cranberry, kale and roasted butternut squash red quinoa.
After a few frosts, we decided it was time to collect all the tuscan kale, a.k.a. lacinato kale. That’s how this gorgeous cranberry, kale and roasted butternut squash red quinoa salad showed up for lunch and dinner.
During the summer, I created a Garden Tuscan Kale Beet Green Salad using young and tender kale leaves. If you can find baby kale leaves at the store this season, I strongly recommend you try out that healthy salad recipe. For the tougher mature kale leaves, giving them a little hot water bath (blanching) will give the best taste.
Not only does blanching help soften the leaves, but it also shrinks down their volume so you actually serve more dietary fibers per serving. Win-win.
Kale salad can have many versions. It’s so versatile. When pairing with available seasonal fruits and other vegetables, you can easily tweak the flavor profile. Now, it’s the perfect time to add cranberry, roasted butternut squash, pecan, and red quinoa together. I even made cranberry dressing to enhance the tangy-sweet flavor.
Both fresh and frozen cranberries work for this recipe. I always buy a few extra bags of fresh cranberries when they are on sale and freeze them for other recipes later. If you are looking for some cranberry recipes for the upcoming holiday, here are somethings you may want to check out:
With the addition of red quinoa, this vibrant kale salad can be easily served as a side-dish instead of just a simple salad. Tag me (#lightorangebean) on Instagram because I want to see your creative tweaks on this salad.
- 4 oz tuscan kale leaves
- ¼ cup sliced fresh cranberry
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash
- ¼ cup pecan briefly chipped
- 1 cup cooked red quinoa cool to room temperature
- 1 cup cranberry
- ¼ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- Bring 4 cups of water in a large saucepan to a boil over high heat. Add the kale leaves into the boiling water and let it cook for 30 seconds until the leaves have slightly shrunk.
- Drain and rinse blanched kale leaves immediately to prevent further cooking. Remove the excess water with a salad spinner. Use a knife and cutting board to finely chop the kale leaves into small pieces.
- Toss together all the salad ingredients.
- In a high-speed blender, blend all the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Pour approximately ¼ cup of the dressing onto the salad. Toss gently until it’s well mixed. Add more dressing as needed.
- This salad can be served immediately. It tastes better if you refrigerate it for an hour and serve cold.