The weekends are usually when I tend to experiment in the kitchen. Too exhausted when I come home from work during the weekdays, I stick to simple skillet meals, but on the weekends, my creativity flows and I have the opportunity (and the patience) to play around. We had this butternut squash that was just sitting on our counter for a while, and today it looked like it wanted to be used. Note that this meal should be made when you aren’t super hungry, since it takes about an hour to make, though it was worth it to me! It warmed me up, I got my sweet tooth satisfied with the honey roasted butternut squash, and my veggies!
So what makes this meal so healthiful and spectacular? A breakdown of the ingredients:
- Kale – All hail the mighty kale! This leafy green plant is extremely nutrient dense, having high doses of vitamin A (206%), vitamin K (684%), vitamin C (134%), and many other vitamins and minerals. It also has antioxidants that help remove free-radicals that form cancer in the body. I’d bow down to this powerful plant!
- Butternut Squash – Due to its orange color, butternut squash is high in vitamin A. It also as anti-inflammatory properties, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Walnuts – A good source of omega-3 fats, Vitamin E, folate, and melatonin, Walnuts are beneficial for healthy brain functioning. They also support heart health through the amino acid l-arginine.
- Cinnamon – A wonderful anti-inflammatory, can help lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels, this spice is a sweet addition to a meal.
- Honey – This liquid gold may help prevent cellular damage within the brain. It also helps absorb calcium, which helps our bones stay strong. It is a sweet alternative to refined cane sugar.
- Sage – Sage has a long history of treating memory loss illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that it has improved cognitive functioning in patients with mild to moderate cases of the disease.
Simple ingredients, rewarding health benefits, what more could you ask for?
Honey Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Cinnamon Walnuts
(makes 6 cups)
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 – 3 cups of kale, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of walnuts, chopped
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- While the oven is heating, place butternut squash cubes in a bowl and toss with honey, sage, and salt and pepper.
- In another dish, toss cinnamon with walnuts and set aside.
- Place squash on a non-stick (or lightly oiled) baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until soft.
- When there are about 5 minutes remaining for the squash, add the walnuts to the baking dish and continue to bake.
- Once the squash is done, set out to cool and add the kale. This will soften the kale up without them turning to crunchy kale chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.