If there were ever a month for butternut squash, it’s November. Everywhere you look there are butternut squash recipes! Squash is so versatile, and I do enjoy seeing and trying all of the creative dishes out there during this season. But while I do like squash, it’s not something I go out of my way to cook or order at a restaurant. I’ll take a bite when it’s on someone else’s plate, but I’m not usually ordering it for myself. Butternut squash to me is like Fleetwood Mac. I’m not buying the record, but I’ll listen to the songs when they come on the radio.
Except for The Chain – I love that song. The harmonies are amazing. And hell yes I’m singing along any time I hear it. And if you’re with me, chances are I’m making you sing one of the parts. So I guess this Butternut Squash & Kale Salad w/ Chipotle Ranch Dressing is the food version of The Chain for me.
Squash, Salad and Rock n’ Roll
It’s an incredible seasonal blend of sweet and creamy butternut squash, roasted with lots of salt and pepper, contrasted with the bite of fresh kale and tossed with tangy dried cranberries, salty pepitas and toasted pine nuts. Cause who doesn’t love a sweet and salty combo? I feel like this salad is something you’d get at a restaurant on their seasonal menu. It literally screams fall. And this is a squash dish that I’d actually order! Not just because of the ingredients, but because of the dressing.
I’m all about salad dressing. You could put a plate of plain lettuce in front of me and if it had a great dressing on it, I’d eat it happily. Conversely, you can give me all the fun ingredients in the world, but if the dressing is boring, I’m probably going to be a sad girl. The dressing for this Butternut Squash & Kale Salad w/ Chipotle Ranch Dressing is really special. I’ve been getting into taking a basic ranch dressing and adding different things to it to complement whatever salad I’m pouring it on. For example, the avocado lime ranch dressing that goes on my Layered Southwestern Salad has become one of our all-time favorite salad dressings, and a regular staple in our fridge.
The Magical Chipotle Chili in Adobo
This dressing takes a basic ranch and amplifies it with smoky, earthy chipotle peppers. There’s no heat whatsoever in a chipotle pepper (at least I don’t taste any), so you can really adjust the amount you use based on how much sweet, smoky flavor you like. For this salad, we’re only using 1 pepper so you’ll have the rest of the small can to do with what you please. I transfer the rest of the peppers to an airtight container, store them in the fridge and mix them into barbeque sauces on the nights when we have chicken for dinner, or taco sauce on Mexican nights.
This Butternut Squash & Kale Salad w/ Chipotle Ranch Dressing makes a great weeknight meal during the season of over-indulgence. I’ll be making it for myself and the kids tonight while the big guy is out of town, and topping it with some rotisserie chicken. It also makes a really pretty holiday salad for your Thanksgiving table, especially if you layer the ingredients in a beautiful glass bowl. I hope that however you choose to enjoy it, you’ll make it soon! Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, cubed
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cups Tuscan kale, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup salted pepitas
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. minced chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubed squash with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, toast the pine nuts: Heat the pine nuts in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Continue to move them around the pan until they start to brown and become fragrant. Remove onto a paper towel.
To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a glass jar or plastic container with a lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined.
Assemble the salad ingredients in a large bowl, place roasted squash on top and dress generously.