If you didn’t already know, make ahead recipes are a godsend for the busy, health-minded Petite Professional. Doing a smidge of extra prep post-grocery trip allows for a seamless transition between work, the gym, and back home for a nutritious meal. Rinse and repeat.
Meal prepping protein is pretty easy. Anyone with a basic understanding of #broscience can grill up some chicken breasts and store them in Tupperware for the week. The real fun begins when you start expanding your options for your weekday eats. I want colorful, flavorful, nutrient-dense meals all week long, so I try and think past the 60 second grilled chicken and broccoli reheat.
Today’s recipe goes way beyond that and ventures into seasonal vegetable territory.
I’ve long been into winter squash (butternut, kabocha, spaghetti, acorn, the list goes on) as a chosen carbohydrate source, and I love eating them as a solo side or throwing them into recipes like this one. Today we’re using delicata squash, a hard winter squash with skin that becomes soft and edible upon cooking. It’s much easier to cut than, say, a butternut or spaghetti squash. It’s also packed with beta carotene (as evidenced by the yellow-orange color), which is the plant pigment that turns into vitamin A, which is the stuff that promotes skin health. Basically, eat squash and look like a bronzed god/goddess.*
Beets are also a seasonal favorite, and while I used to stick to buying pre-cooked ones like Love Beets, I picked up a beautiful bundle the other day from the farmers market to roast on my own. The red pigments in beets have antioxidant properties, which basically means that they fight all the junk in our bodies that we encounter via eating unhealthy food, breathing dirty air, etc. Beets are also anti-inflammatory and support a healthy immune system. Triple threat.
Brussels sprouts also pack a nutritional punch, with tons of fiber (this helps improve cholesterol levels), and vitamins K and C. The raw, shaved sprouts in this recipe offer a little crunch.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that kale is out-of-this-world good for you. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, plus more vitamin A, K, and C than you can shake a stick at. But if the mention of kale has you moving your cursor to the big X in the top right of your screen, hold on a second! The slightly sweet dressing in this salad gets massaged in (no, really), which makes the kale leaves super tender and completely eliminates any of the bitterness you’re used to. Trust me on this one.**
TLDR? A summary: This salad is super yummy and good for you. It tastes better than other kale dishes you’ve had before. It’s also colorful and pretty.
*I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.
**Still not a doctor, but an overall trustworthy person.
* Recipe *
AUTUMN HARVEST KALE & BRUSSELS SALAD
- Serves: 12 cups
- 1 small delicata squash
- 1 large beet
- 1 16-oz bag chopped kale (or 10 cups)
- 1 bag shaved Brussels sprouts (or 3-4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. You’ll be baking your squash and beet while prepping the rest of the salad.
- To prep your beet, thoroughly wash the outside and then wrap the damp beet in foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until tender through the center. Once cooled, peel with a veggie peeler and chop into bite-sized pieces.
- To prep your squash, cut into quarters and remove the seeds. Then chop into small, bite-sized pieces and lay them on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until soft and slightly browned.
- In a large bowl, use your hands to massage your chopped kale with olive oil.
- Add the shaved Brussels sprouts, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey to the bowl. Fold to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Add the cooled squash and beet pieces, toss to combine.
- Serving size: 1 cup
- Calories: 78
- Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 13 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 3 g