Two-kale salad with roasted turnips and acorn squash vinaigrette


I emptied two bookshelves in the kitchen this weekend, wiped them down and relocated the tea mugs. The two shelves – which carried space for new cookbooks only if I situated them horizontally along the tops of the others – are now three, with books arranged by subject and room enough for the Suzanne Goin cookbook I was eyeing at Powell’s a few weeks ago. Plus a few more down the road.


And who knew that we own a copy of Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way? I didn’t; the art on the spine is faded to the point of being unreadable. I thumbed through the pages until I got to the salad section and found one that features parsley. Funny, last week I read a recipe for a parsley salad in my copy of Michael Natkin’s beautiful new cookbook, Herbivoracious.

Serendipity deserves a nod so I picked up a bunch this week. It turned out to be a pretty addition to the kale salad I made yesterday using some each of purple and lacinato kales, cooled quinoa and a dressing thickened with roasted acorn squash that caught in the crinkled leaves.


Since I don’t cook with them often I forgot that large turnips are bitter so my plan for creating a kale salad that included shredded raw turnip didn’t pan out. I got around it by roasting thin strips of turnip with oil and salt until they were browned at the tips. The tang of the dressing and boldness of the kale made the strong turnip flavor work for me but if a bitter edge in your salad makes you cringe, opt to fry up some shallots as a garnish instead.

In general I don’t consider January to be a clean slate kind of month (I gave up on that idea of going to the gym in the early mornings long ago), but for the record, my now clean and (more) organized house is the stuff of the resolution-minded. I’m calmer and more focused when the space around me is clutter free, which isn’t often. I’m sure the cookbooks will be in disarray eventually and that my copy of mom’s spinach soup recipe will disappear again. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.


Two-Kale Salad with Roasted Turnips and Acorn Squash Vinaigrette

3 or 4 large leaves of purple kale
3 or 4 leaves of lacinato kale
half a bunch of parsley, leaves coarsely chopped with a handful of leaves left whole
½ cup of cooked quinoa, cooled
¼ of a medium turnip, cut into thin strips with a zester or mandoline


¾ cup of olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons roasted acorn squash
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ clove minced garlic
handful of parsley leaves

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Preheat oven to 400°.

The best thing is to make this salad after you’ve already roasted acorn squash for another meal and have some left over. Then you can steal the two tablespoons for the dressing without much ado. If you need to roast the squash, do so by halving and scraping out the seeds. Rub the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking dish and roast until soft, about 45 minutes.

Wash the kale leaves and spin them dry. Tear into pieces and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, rub the salt vigorously into the kale leaves and massage until the leaves lose their shape a little. While you prepare the other parts of the recipe, they will soften even further.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place turnips on it. Drizzle with oil and mix to coat them evenly. Salt and toss again. Bake for 5-8 minutes, turning often, until the tips brown.

When the acorn squash is finished, combine vinaigrette ingredients in a miniature food processor or jar with a tight lid and pulse or shake to combine. Adjust the seasonings and oil until it tastes right and is the consistency of a thin purée.

Add chopped parsley and most of the quinoa to the kale leaves and mix to combine. Dress the salad and toss to coat; the hearty leaves can handle a lot of dressing. Top with the extra quinoa, whole parsley leaves and roasted turnip strips.


15 thoughts on “Two-kale salad with roasted turnips and acorn squash vinaigrette

  1. Love the photos! I never imagined that I would enjoy photos of food so much. And the salad sounds delicious. Thanks for another enjoyable and, therefore, well-written blog. And, maybe I’ll do a little organizing myself.

  2. I love the idea of a dressing made creamy with roasted squash, what a good idea. And I love seeing your bookshelves–I only have about 2/3 of the same cookbooks and suddenly I’m wondering about the rest! Which are your favorites? I love anything by Deborah Madison (especially Local Flavors and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) and right now I am loving Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. And Anna Thomas, of course. :) Also, don’t give up on big turnips! Sometimes my favorite farmers market stand has huge ones that are so sweet they pass out samples to crunch like apple slices.

    • Interesting about the big turnips. We get bunches of white salad turnips in the summer that don’t make it more than a day or two, they’re so easy to eat. My favorite cookbooks? Let me see. I’ve made a couple of things out of a copy of Canal House Cooking that I got at IFBC (Volume No. 7) – delicious and beautiful. I also love Denis Cotter’s Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me, though I’ve had to look up a number of ingredients (he cooks from the Irish countryside so some mushrooms etc. aren’t available here, and some have unfamiliar names). I also love Cheryl Sternman Rule’s Ripe, as much for her creative recipes as for her prose. Plus, it’s organized by color – love that idea for a produce-based cookbook. Also high on my list is Herbivoracious. I’m still exploring it but the dishes I made were tasty and beautiful. I’ve had my eye on the Ottolenghi cookbooks. Just heard a plug for Plenty at a class at the Pantry last week. And I almost picked up a copy at Christmastime! Ah, well. Now I have a spot for it when it makes its way into my life.

  3. I may try this. The Russian kale grows VERY well in our garden (there is still some out there, a bit frozen now…) and while we kept eating it, I never got used to the slightly bitter taste. It seemed stronger than other kales, at least to me. But this looks really good.

    • Your kale sounds beautiful. I love that it can mostly grow through the winter here. You can try braising to mellow the bitter flavor – have you done it before? It’s a nice way to make a warm salad of extra-stiff kales.

  4. What a stunning salad! I love the vinaigrette, too. It’s lovely to see some of your book collection. I’ve been eyeing Suzanne Goin’s for a long time and may have to give in soon…

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