This Warm Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, balsamic vinaigrette, grilled chicken and sugared roasted pumpkin seeds is the best kind of comfort food perfect for cool autumn evenings!
Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees.
In a large bowl toss all the ingredients for the roasted butternut squash together. Place the butternut squash onto a large baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is golden brown.
In a medium size bowl toss all the ingredients for the roasted pumpkin seeds together and transfer them to a baking sheet, spreading them so that they are in a single layer. Bake for about 10 minutes (still at 400F) or until they start to brown.
Place the chicken breasts in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap (or in a ziploc bag) and beat it with a mallet until it's about 1 inch in thickness. Don't beat it too long and make sure you don't tear the meat. Place the chicken in a shallow bowl or plate and pour the balsamic dressing over it, turning the chicken around to coat it on both sides. Let the chicken marinate for about half hour to an hour.
Grill the chicken breasts. First brush some olive oil on the grill grates, then place the chicken and grill without moving, until the chicken starts to get grill marks and starts to brown. Turn over the chicken and finish cooking. Do not slice the chicken right away, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before cutting it.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the shallots are translucent and the garlic is aromatic.
Whisk in the vinaigrette and water and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl add the kale, olive oil and salt. Toss the kale really well with the olive oil and salt. I also like to rub the kale with my clean hands, giving it a good massage for about a minute. This will make the kale more tender.
Add the roasted butternut squash, roasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled feta cheese, craisins, prepared dressing and toss everything well together. Slice the chicken and place over the top of salad. Alternatively you can toss the chicken in with the rest of the salad.
You can also grill the chicken on a grill pan by brushing it with some oil first then heating it up on medium-high heat. When the grill pan is hot, add the chicken breast and grill on one side until you get nice grill marks and the chicken starts to brown. Turn the chicken breasts over and finish grilling on the other side.
While the roasted butternut squash, the roasted pumpkin seeds or grilled chicken are elements of this salad that are optional, I strongly recommend adding them all to this salad in order to appreciate it fully.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.