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With fall upon us and squash, kale and pomegranates in plentiful supply, this seems like the perfect time to share this recipe for Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates salad that is slightly modified from a recipe I found on the delightful healthy food blog, My New Roots. This is a fantastic salad to take to a potluck as it is so pretty and anyone who enjoys vegetables can eat it. Unlike so many salads it lasts well, even dressed, when it cannot be served immediately. It takes a little time to make but is well worth the effort. Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates

1 medium butternut squash

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. melted ghee or coconut oil

3 Tbsp. poppy seeds

2 pinches of sea salt

3 cups packed shredded kale

1 shallot

juice of ½ lemon

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt

seeds of 1 medium or ½ large pomegranate

Maple Mustard Dressing

4 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tsp. pure Maple syrup

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. For the best texture, it is important to peel completely through the skin past the pale yellow/green flesh to the deep yellow flesh – I have learned this through experience.  Cut into small (approx 1/2 inch) cubes. Toss with oil, minced garlic, poppy seeds, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until fork-tender, not mushy (approx. 30-40 minutes).

While the squash is roasting, shred the kale by slicing it in very thin strips or tearing it into small pieces. Add the juice of ½ lemon, a pinch of sea salt and massage well into kale to wilt. Set aside but repeat the massaging occasionally while the squash roasts. This step is critical to tenderize the otherwise tough kale.

Seed the pomegranate being careful to keep the fruit of each seed intact. One suggestion is to fill a bowl with water, cut the fruit in half, then roughly pry out the seeds with your fingers and let them fall into the water. The seeds with white pith will float to the top – remove the pith as much as possible leaving the seeds, which will then sink. I simply pull it apart carefully bit by bit carefully extracting the seeds.

When the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. While it is cooling, make dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Add the squash to kale and mix. Toss with sliced shallot, pomegranate seeds, and the dressing. Garnish with lemon zest.

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