This trio makes a fall or winter salad you’ll love for your holiday table. Butternut Squash, Juici Apple and Kale Salad topped with a Warm Pancetta Dressing. Swoon. Sponsored by Starr Ranch Growers.
Dontch’ya just love a good salad? A salad that, after you eat it, you think, “wow, I am so sad it’s over!” Meet such a salad. Roasted Butternut Squash, Juici Apple and Kale Salad. (You might want to say it again slowly because I’ll admit—it’s a mouthful.) And a mouthful is what you’ll have once you make it. Your table will never be so quiet. Maybe it should be called Butternut Squa-shhhhhh Salad because everyone will be eating instead of talking.
Where to Buy Juici Apples
This salad was born out of a partnership and introduction with my friends at Starr Ranch Growers (WA), the producers of the Juici apple. A cross between a Honeycrisp and a Braeburn, the Juici apple was introduced a few years ago to rave reviews. Juici is crisp, tart but with the perfect amount of sweetness and has quickly become a new favorite. The skin on it is nice and thin too making it the perfect baking and cooking apple as well. Apple Crisp for days!
(For other Chicago locals FYI – it is carried at Jewel-Osco.) If you can’t find it at your local store, ask your grocer. Once they discover how versatile it is, they’ll have it all the time. And you’ll want to buy it!
One great Winter salad
Showcasing Juici in a salad seemed like a stellar way to let you experience all its natural flavor and beauty. And pairing it with finely chopped kale and roasted butternut squash was a no-brainer. Especially because this is a salad you can make ahead of time. The apples will not brown if sealed in a container – no lemon juice needed. We even ate it the next day (or two!) for lunch which is amazing because leftover salad containing greens isn’t my fav.
The ingredients are:
- roasted butternut squash
- chopped Juici apples
- finely chopped kale (minus the icky ribs). It is a little tedious but put on the Hallmark channel and you’ll be done in no time.
- a warm pancetta dressing that brings it all together
Warm Salad Dressing: Kale’s new BFF
You know how kale is kind of tough? That’s because it needs a friend to soften it just a bit. Warm Pancetta Dressing does just that. All it takes is a kiss of apple cider vinegar added to some sautéed pancetta and you’ve got a warm dressing that mellows the kale while marrying the crisp sweet Juici apples, caramelized butternut squash, and salty pancetta. This salad covers all the taste elements which is why you won’t want it to end. Kind of like a great night with your best pals. Serve them this salad and it’s a win-win.
For a crowd: Make a large batch for a buffet and add some cooked farro or pasta to feed a crowd.
For a few: Make as suggested and keep the ingredients separate and assemble as needed for your weekly meal prep.
More seasonal salads:
Roasted Butternut Squash, Juici Apple, and Kale Salad with Warm Pancetta Dressing
- 2 lb diced butternut squash, I buy prepacked at Costco or Trader Joes
- olive oil
- 6 oz Tuscan kale
- 3 Juici apples
- 3 Tbsp. roasted, salted sunflower seeds
For the Dressing
- 1 container diced pancetta
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, more if needed
- Preheat oven to 400°
- On a rimmed baking sheet, place butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast for approximately 35 minutes until caramelized and browned.
- When done, remove from oven and set aside
- Meanwhile, remove the hard ribs from the kale pieces and thinly slice.
- Core the apples and cut them into a 1- 1½ dice.
- In a medium skillet set to medium heat, saute the pancetta until crisp about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the vinegar to the pan and stir the pancetta and vinegar together to make the dressing. Add more if needed.
- Assemble the salad and spoon over warm dressing. Top with sunflower seeds and serve immediately.
- If you don't use all the dressing, you can save it and reheat it in a microwave for about 10 seconds. Add a touch more vinegar after heating to bring it to the right consistency.
- Toss with leftover pasta or farro as an option and top with crumbled gorgonzola.