After the last week (er, month?) of Halloween candy, I’m guessing we could all use a marinated kale salad recipe right about now.
I was the Demogorgon who stole Halloween this year, and am embarrassed to say that I didn’t even manage to secure the Pantone chips for a lame last minute 50 shades of grey costume. My Violette Beauregarde and Marsha Brady ideas will have to wait until next year (yes, I got the last one from Taylor Swift’s instagram…don’t judge me).
I did, however, deeply enjoy being a voyeur, especially now that I actually live in a building big and bougie enough to support trick or treating. When Charlie and I moved into our new apartment in February, the doorman said his nickname for our residence was “kids and dogs.” And while most of the time that combination just leads to a lot of congestion below knee-level in our elevator, it becomes an ideal setting on Halloween. Those dogs and kids did not disappoint!
I’ll just digress for a sec for the non-NYC set to mention that trick-or-treating in the city is weird. When I moved from the burbs in 3rd grade, I couldn’t believe how much easier it was. All you have to do is ride the elevator up and down. You can knock on five doors in under one minute. And before long, your greedy little Jack-o-Lantern pail is filled to the brim without even having to don a puffy coat underneath your witch’s costume. Which is lucky, because everyone knows that New Yorkers prefer their witches skinny!
While my first Halloween was an eye-opening experience for all the many conveniences I could expect from my new city life, it was also an eye-opening experience for my parents. Within a year, their sweet angelic daughter had traded her witch’s costume for the first idea to pop into her mind: a drug dealer.
This is a true story, friends. You can find evidence here, complete with the nose ring, hoodie and parchment paper joint I must have learned how to roll from watching Boyz n the Hood at a friend’s house.
I don’t know which is more disturbing: that I thought of this idea in the first place, or that my parents actually found it hilarious.
Other adults in the building were not quite as amused. So being an attention-seeking only child who was very aware of her audience, I quickly changed my shtick. When one unsuspecting father of two asked if I was Axel Rose, I immediately said yes, ditched the baggie of flour I had been carrying, and showed up at the next doorway playing air guitar.
I was disappointed in myself this year for not continuing my tradition of taking my Halloween costume a bit too far (could have resurrected this!). And I was slightly sad that none of the kids in my building seemed to share my younger self’s special knack for demented humor and shock value. But they were very cute little sushi rolls and pumpkins all the same.
Luckily, some of the adults out on the town did not disappoint. So many Trumps and Pussys, so little time.
Filling my proverbial pail with too much candy also proved to be just as easy as when I was 7, leaving me feeling positively blergh yesterday. In these times of sugar excess, my favorite way to reset is with a lot of marinated kale salad. Usually, these creations are too basic to share (or, perhaps, they just make me feel too basic). This one, however, is a true fall winner. And it’s also a great way to make use up all those decorative gourds!!
The kale base is my usual mix of lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, which when left to marinate, helps draw out the moisture and tenderize the leaves. It’s a similar idea to a ceviche. And though it doesn’t actually “cook” the kale, it does make it a bit easier to digest.
To the kale, I add a dose of naturally sweet roasted butternut squash. You could try it with pumpkin wedges or delicata squash, or even sweet potato. The true star though is the scallions, which get added to the pan for the last 15 minutes in the oven. The caramelized onion flavor and sweet squash is a perfect combination with the spicy chili dressing drizzled on top.
I used a little more maple syrup than I’m prone to do in sauces for this one, but I figured your taste buds probably got a little out of whack thanks to all those Laffy Taffys. So let’s ease them back with a salad that tastes a little closer to nature’s candy.
Read on for the recipe, and do let me know: what did you all dress up as this year? Feel free to show me up in the comments!
From one healthy, costumeless hedonist, to another,
Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Crispy Scallions and Sweet Chili Dressing
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Arrange in an even layer and roast in the oven for 15 minutes,until soft but not beginning to caramelize. Add the scallions and toss to coat in the olive oil. Arrange again in an even layer and return to the oven. Roast for another 15 minutes, or until the squash is lightly brown and the scallions have crisped.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt with your hands until the greens are very well coated and starting to wilt.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, sambal, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined.
Transfer the kale to a serving platter and top with the roasted squash and scallions. Drizzle the sweet chili dressing on top and serve.
For tips on how to peel a butternut squash and prep it, click here.