Recipe: The Big Fall Salad

From Instagramming a picture of avocado toast, to binge watching the latest Netflix TV series in one sitting, to posting a Buzzfeed article on Facebook about the either of the above, it seems as if it can be hard to keep up with the many trends of Millennials. Enter the latest and greatest seasonal trend for the average American 20-something; Friendsgiving. Friendsgiving is a Thanksgiving themed dinner that is usually served potluck style where friends get together before Thanksgiving (or during Thanksgiving) and celebrate what’s traditionally a family holiday, with each other.

Friendsgiving is unique in the fact that it is one of the few trends that is not inherently narcissistic. No matter if you are hipsterbasic or somewhere in between, Friendsgiving is a time for Millennials to gather together, reunite and catch up, give thanks for their friendships, and of course, do what they do best, drink. And, if you are a kitchen junkie like me, Friendsgiving is a great time to experiment with new recipes, show off your cooking skills to a new audience and practice some fall favorites for the big family Thanksgiving event.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a “Friendsgiving” potluck dinner myself. When attending dinners and get togethers, I am always faced with the challenge of bringing a dish that is healthy and meets my dietary needs and one that the average eater will enjoy. Luckily, with awesome blogs and cookbooks out there, such a Oh She Glows and Edible Perspective, its not too difficult. I think my mom is always a little worried I will turn off the crowd with some sort of weird, ethic, vegan, pile-of-mush type of dish, but I know that the best way to get people to try new-to-them, healthy dishes is by making them look as visually appealing, normal and inviting as possible.

I attended a few dinner parties and holiday dinners this fall and one ingredient that consistantly dazzled and pleased the crowd from both a visual and palate standpoint is delicata squash. Something about the unique shape and colorful, edible skin really gets the crowd going. Delicata squash is low in calories and high in nutrition and flavor. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. It’s small shape and size and thin skin make it one of the easiest squashes to work with. Unfortunately, squash season is coming to a close, but I thought I’d bust out delicata one more time for Friendsgiving.

I made a couple versions of this salad so far but this one was by far the best. There are a lot of components to this dish but I think you will find it is worthwhile in the end, it’s a huge crowd pleaser and the leftovers make for an excellent lunch the next day.

Curly kale gives this salad a sturdy, cold weather base, while the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and maple mustard vinaigrette added a classic fall flare. I decided to use millet instead of a more typical grains, due to its warming properties and strong nutritional profile. The roasted brussels sprouts and red onion round out this dish by giving it some depth of flavor. And of course, the delicata squash is the star of the show.

I quadrupled this recipe for the Friendsgiving potluck dinner but I’d say this recipe will comfortably serve 4 people.

The Big Fall Salad 

Ingredients 

  • 1 head of curly kale
  • 1/2 cup of millet
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3 cups of shaved brussels sprouts (1 full bag of Trader Joe’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 delicata squash
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 batch of Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup whole grain seedy mustard
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Mix shredded brussels sprouts, red onion with olive oil, maple syrup and salt & pepper to taste
  3. Roast for about 20-30 minutes or until crispy. Let cool.
  4. Combine the 1/2 cup millet with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes,) fluff with a fork and let cool.
  5. Cut the squash into thin rings, place the squash on a baking sheet, spray with olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes (until brown), flipping once halfway through
  6. Chop the kale into bite sized pieces
  7. Whisk or blend the dressing ingredients together (I prefer to blend for a smooth consistency)
  8. Combine the kale, millet, brussels sprouts/onion, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and lightly toss with the dressing
  9. Arrange the roasted delicata squash rings atop of the salad
  10. Serve with extra dressing and enjoy!

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I also made this Oh She Glows Saweet! Potato Casserole with a Crunchy Nut Crumble that I highly recommend. Sweet without being overly sweet and much healthier to some of the more traditional sweet potato side dishes, this could almost make a delicious breakfast dish or even a dessert!

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Happy Friendsgiving and Familysgiving to you all! Looking forward to celebrating more on the blog throughout the week!

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