Warm Winter Salad | Paleo

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It’s been a pretty bi-polar winter in Chicago. Which isn’t a surprise or anything, it’s just the way it is. We had a major snow storm during super bowl weekend and got smashed with 15 inches. Then a week later it was in the high forties and we were all reminded that we had neighbors. Which is a funny thing about Chicago. Once it’s warm out again, you’re reminded how populated of a city it is. Walking around in the winter is the best because you feel like you get the whole city to yourself. Anyway. It’s been a bi-polar winter. Which means what I crave goes all out of whack. Sometimes I want soup since it’s cold, other times I want chili because it feels like fall, and sometimes I just want s big ol’ salad with some fresh vegetables.

The weekend when it was abnormally warm was when this salad was born. I wanted a salad, but I also wanted something that was going to warm my insides. Introducing the warm winter salad. I actually really liked how this one turned out. Very different than other things that I put together and it was fun to do. It seems like a lot of steps but I swear it goes quick and isn’t that complicated – just read it through!

Warm winter salad
Serves 4-6 as a side salad

1 butternut squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 bunch kale
1 1/2 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 lb. bacon (cooked)*
1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, minced
3 Tbsp. reserved bacon fat*

Dressing:
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Preheat oven to 400.

  1. Peel, cut in half, and scoop out center guts of butternut squash. Cut into ~1/2 inch pieces and place in a medium bowlIMG_7519
  2. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, seasonings and roast for 30 minutes (stirring once halfway in between)
  3. While squash is roasting, add about 1 Tbsp. of bacon fat into a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once shimmery, reduce to medium low heat. Add carrots and onions to pan and saute until onions are just about translucent. While veggies are sauteing, de-vein kale and roughly chop
  4. Once carrots and onion are done, set aside in a large bowl. Turn up to high heat and place another tablespoon of bacon fat in the skillet. Once very shimmery and pan is hot, put kale into the pan. Don’t stir! Leave the kale for about a minute and then stir once to get a different part of the kale into the hot pan. They should be crispy and almost a little burnt
  5. After the kale is mostly crispy (should have dark brown and still some green spots) place in the bowl with the carrots and onion
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  6. Add the last tablespoon of bacon fat to the skillet over medium heat and once melted, add cabbage. Treat similarly as you did the kale. Let it crisp for a minute, then stir, repeat 4 or 5 times until cabbage is wilted with some brown crisp. When done, add to other veggies
  7. Once squash is done, remove from the oven and put 1.5 cups of squash into the large bowl. (The rest you can save for leftovers!) Chop bacon into bits and add to the salad
  8. Add all dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until well combined and has started to froth. Add to salad, combine well and serve!

*If vegetarian, can omit bacon and use coconut or olive oil instead of bacon fat.
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