In spite of the title, this isn’t a post about the economy! It’s a how-to post, dedicated to constructing a really satisfying salad in winter, without those warm climate salad ingredients that we in the northern realms seem to crave.

What brought this on? A discussion with a friend: she lives on salads! We had a great chat exploring how to think outside the salad bar.

One stroll through the farmers market, or vegetable isle in your local supermarket, presents all sorts of wonderful lettuce and tomato substitutes. One of my favorites is squash. Using butternut, pumpkin, or danish, this salad is beautiful as well as delicious. The sweetness of the squash is a scrumptious compliment to the lemon vinaigrette, which also helps to break down the kale or chard ever so slightly. I used fresh squeezed lemon juice from my freezer! And there are a rainbow of substitutions here too, so take your pick.

As a matter of fact, I found coming up with measurements challenging since I usually make this with whatever I have. You can use these amounts as a guideline, or just do your thing to explore the gold.

Now get out your well honed chef knife, cut through that squash, and dice your way to a dish you will look forward to every winter!

Winter Salad With Squash And Kale

(With a nod to my local co-op’s Emerald City Salad, where this all started.)

Serves 6 (or 2!)

2 cups cooked wild rice chilled (make this days ahead!)
6 cups Kale, chard, or a mix (remove stems and chiffonade)
1/2 small fennel bulb very thinly sliced (use your mandeline if you have one)
1/2 cup finely dice red onion
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley (don’t be tempted to omit this: the brightness adds a great level of flavor)
2 -2 1/2 cups medium diced1 1/ squash (approx 2# butternut whole, 1# danish, or a couple small sugar pumpkins) At times I make this salad with almost all squash and just a a cup of chard/kale, and the parsley for greens. So you could easily reverse the order of squash to greens.
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste

Vinaigrette: or use your favorite vinaigrette, just don’t overdress. The salad should be barely dressed.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Toss with rice to marinate. Set aside

Peel and medium dice the squash. Heat olive oil over medium high in a large saute pan. Saute the squash until just soft and a little crusty. Try not to get the squash too soft. Remove from heat.

Lightly salt to taste. Cool.

Combine  greens, fennel, onion, parsley and squash in a bowl. Chill.

Just before serving toss dressed rice with veggies.

This keeps dressed in the fridge several days, if it lasts that long!

Choose your substitution and/ or addition!

Granny smith apples, barley,  sweet potato, cabbage, cauliflower, chopped nuts, dijon vinaigrette