Butternut Bliss. Spicy-sweet maple tofu cubes, hot from the stove, are tossed over top cool baby spinach greens. Savory peppered shiitake mushrooms mingle with tender, pan-wilted baby kale. Roasted butternut squash cubes, all caramelized and sweet, pair with crunchy walnuts and a sprinkling of sweet-tart, perky, dried cranberries. A green fan of luscious lemon-splashed avocado on the side. Maple-Apple dressing over top. Dive into these fall flavors and let salad bliss takeover…
It always boggles my mind when people non-chalantly say “I hate salads.” Or when they are ordering dinner at a restaurant and say “I should probably order a salad too, I guess.” or the worst one.. “Maybe I will just have a salad.”
..JUST have a salad? Salads are not “just” salads. Or at least MY salads are never just salads. Salads really are one of my favorite meals! I crave them. They make me feel good. They make me happy! So hearing someone say they will “just” have a salad sounds kinda like.. “Maybe I’ll JUST have a slice of double chocolate fudge cake.”
So yes. I am a proud salad lover. And every season deserves a few go-to salad bowls. Make your salad into a meal by adding grains, beans and bean-based foods like tofu and tempeh, roasted veggies, nuts, seeds, fruit and more.
Healthy Salad! This salad is packed with healthy-delicious ingredients…
Nutritional Info (per recipe, excluding optional dressing)
Calories: 464kcal, Fat: 22g, Carbs: 50g, Protein: 29g, Fiber: 12g
Vita A: 526%, Vita C: 318%, Calcium: 72%, Iron: 48%
Also rich in potassium, magnesium, manganese and selenium.
I hope you enjoy this blissful (super food infused) recipe..
Butternut Bliss Fall Salad
vegan, serves 1-2
Maple Chipotle Tofu:
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed
1 tsp grade B maple syrup
salt + pepper + chipotle powder or cayenne to taste
spray of cooking oil for pan
Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes:
1/2 butternut squash*
1 Tbsp grade B maple syrup
pinch of salt
*you will have some leftover squash – I used about 1 cup of cubes for this salad
4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
pepper to taste
spray of cooking oil for pan
2 cups baby kale (or finely chopped kale any variety, stems removed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 cups baby spinach
1/4 avocado, sliced + splashed with lemon juice and pepper
1-2 Tbsp raw walnuts
1 tsp dried cranberries
Optional dressing to drizzle over top – whisk together:
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp grade B maple syrup
pinch of salt + pepper
1 tsp tahini (optional)
1. SQUASH. Roast the squash. You can do this 1-2 hours ahead of time, or you can do it the night before if you’d like chilled butternut squash cubes on your salad. Your choice. Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Slice oven your squash into long halves, clean out the seeds. Brush some oil, drizzle of maple syrup and pinch of salt over the squash. Place on a baking sheet, face up, and roast for about one hour or until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and cool well before handling. Slice into cubes for the salad.
(Start these steps just about ten minutes before plating/serving your salad.)
2. TOFU. Prep the tofu by squeezing it dry with a paper towel and slicing into rectangles or cubes. Warm a saute pan to high heat and add some oil to the pan. Add in the tofu, maple syrup and spices over top. Cook for bout 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the edges begin to brown and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. GREENS. Add the kale greens to the tofu saute pan (after tofu has been removed.) Add a drizzle of oil if you’d like. Turn heat to medium and wilt the greens until tender. Add in the lemon juice to speed up this process. Transfer the greens to your serving bowl. You can also add in the fresh baby spinach greens alongside.
3. SHROOMS. Add the sliced shiitakes to the same pan and saute them until tender. Again, using as much or as little oil as you’d like. I just added in the tamari to de-glaze the pan and create some steam and that was enough cooking liquid for me. Transfer cooked mushrooms to your salad bowl.
4. Continue assembling your salad by adding the tofu, butternut squash cubes, walnuts, dried cranberries and sliced avocado over top. Drizzle the dressing over top as desired. Serve while components are still warm.
More Salad Chatter. I love creating salads that pair up contrasting ingredients. Hot with cold. Salty with sweet. Spicy with cool. Perky with mellow. This way my salad is suddenly popping with personality, complexity and fun.
To me, a salad is definitely more than just a side dish. And I am passionate about this fact!
How do YOU make your salads shine and become worthy of ogling eyes and growling tummies???
PS …. I have a big, fun, super awesome salad-related announcement for you next week. Hint: And one of my readers (maybe YOU!) will be winning an AMAZING, AH-MA-ZING prize. So be sure to check back next week.. 😉