Winter Kale Salad by John Platt

This recipe has seasonal ingredients, looks good on a plate, tastes great, and is great for you too! At first glance it might seem a little complicated, but once you have the basics done and on hand, it comes together easily. 

Makes about 4 nice-sized salads.

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 ¼ cup blended olive oil

1tsp Dijon mustard

1tsp Madhava wildflower honey

salt and black pepper

Put all ingredients in an appropriately sized container with a tightly fitting lid and shake until thoroughly combined.  Taste and check seasoning. You can adjust the amount of oil to achieve the level of acidity that works for you.

For the salad:

1 bunch organic kale, any variety

1 medium organic butternut squash

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup dried cranberries, rough chopped

1 wedge Haystack Mountain Queso de Mano

fresh ground black pepper

(optional) 2 cups bread for croutons

Wash the kale, spin dry, remove thick center ribs, and slice into 1/8-inch strips (chiffonade). Set aside and chill. Peel the butternut squash, carefully split it lengthwise, and de-seed.  Cut off bulb end save for other dishes. Carefully slice (or very carefully use a mandolin) the top portion into 3” long by 1/8” strips.  Toss strips with a little oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread out on a small cookie sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes, or until barely tender and cooked. Toss the pumpkin seeds with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a small sauté pan or cookie sheet and place in 350-degree oven until lightly browned and “popped.” To make croutons, toss 2 cups bread cut into ¾-inch cubes with ¼ cup oil, a pinch of salt & pepper, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or rubbed dry sage.  Toast in a 350-degree oven until golden and crisp (about 12 minutes).

To finish: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cheese.  Lightly toss with just enough dressing to barely coat the greens. Arrange on plates, and, using a vegetable peeler, pare shavings of cheese over salad.  A couple of grinds of black pepper and you’re good to go.

Note: Whole leaf spinach could be substituted for kale.  Use whatever dried fruit and nuts you like best. Parmesan could be substituted for the Queso de mano. 

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