In need of a hearty and colorful fall salad? We have one that’s so hearty it feels weird just calling it a “salad.” It’s a Butternut Squash Amaranth Salad with kale and cashews. And it has enough heft to carry the weight of a full meal. (Bonus: it’s vegan too.)
True, we normally think of salads in the summertime when there’s so much fresh produce. But fall has such great salad potential! Think of the beautiful squashes, pumpkins (OK, they’re also squash), root vegetables, onions, potatoes, and hearty greens like kale that you can use in a salad.
For a fall salad, we also love adding hearty grains to bring more texture and flavor. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain like quinoa that is high in protein and nutritional value. You can cook it just like you would cook quinoa (or rice, or similar grains). We got our amaranth from Rancho Gordo (not a paid announcement, we just love the company) but you can find it in most well-stocked grocery stores in the grain section.
(Note that in the picture, the flowers are also amaranth, but we’re not eating those.)
Of course you can serve this salad warm (and have the kale slightly wilted) but room temperature is fine too.
Fall Salad with Butternut Squash and Amaranth Recipe
Fall Salad with Butternut Squash and Amaranth
A hearty fall salad made with butternut squash, amaranth, and kale.
For the Salad
- 1 cup uncooked amaranth
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups kale leaves, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash, chopped and cubed
- 1/2 cup cashew pieces
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 tsp honey
- salt to taste
Cook the amaranth: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the amaranth, stir, return to boiling, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until water is absorbed and amaranth is chewy to taste.
In a large bowl, toss the amaranth with the kale leaves and red onions. Set aside.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and honey, Pour over the kale and amaranth and toss to combine.
Stir in the butternut squash cubes and cashews. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
One thing you’ll notice in the recipe is the order in which we added the ingredients. We found that with a lot of stirring, the butternut squash tended to get mushy. So we advise you to add the dressing to the kale and the amaranth and stir it all together first. Then after that you can add in the butternut squash (and cashews) and just toss it all together gently.
P.S. Do you know how to roast a butternut squash? You can refresh your memory with this recipe for Butternut Squash Hummus.
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