Hi All! As you may have noticed, I’ve been a little behind the scenes recently. The reason? I’m moving! I am moving to another state and going to graduate school in January. I am really excited for all of these life changes, but of course with all those life changes comes stress and anxiety…which has done a number on my normally healthy lifestyle. Like, I ate toast for dinner twice last week. Yikes. The struggle is real!
What else can you do but get up, dust yourself off, and put your best foot forward to get back on track? 🙂 I started off by making this amazing fall salad, full of my favorite fall flavors and topped off with a maple-balsamic dressing to DIE for. It’s the perfect make-ahead, so you can bring these salads for lunch all week, or combine together as the perfect starter for your Thanksgiving dinner. I tossed together fresh kale, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate-infused craisins, walnuts and tempeh bacon to create a one-0f-a-kind salad that will make everyone happy. Since I’ve been super busy, I bought a lot of pre-packaged ingredients to make my life easy as pie. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Fall Booyah Salad
1 48 oz package of cleaned and cut butternut squash
2 16 oz package of cleaned and cut kale
3/4 cup of pomegranate-infused craisins
1 1/2 cups of roughly chopped walnuts
2 8 oz packages of tempeh bacon (I used Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon Strips)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 – 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 450°F. In a large glass baking dish, toss your butternut squash chunks with a drizzle of olive oil, until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with Herbamare (seasoned sea salt) and pepper. Roast the squash for 50 – 60 minutes, or until tender and the edges are browned, stirring halfway through.
- While the squash is roasting, whip up your dressing. Create an emulsion by whisking the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and maple syrup while slowly adding the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook your tempeh bacon. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) over medium-high heat. Place the tempeh bacon strips in the pan and fry until the edges are browned. Carefully flip them over and fry the other side, then transfer to a paper towel over a dinner plate to cool.
- Once your butternut squash is done roasting, assemble your salad. In a large bowl, combine kale, squash, craisins and walnuts. Toss the salad with the maple-balsamic dressing. Tear the tempeh bacon strips into smaller, bite-sized pieces and add to the salad. Re-toss, transfer to a serving dish and enjoy! 😀
If you’re not a veg like me, you can easily substitute a different protein. You can always add extras if you’re not vegan, like goat cheese for a rich complement. I thought it was perfection as is, and found it to be the perfect lunch: full of protein, fiber, veggies and vibrant colors, enough to make you smile. I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as I did! I am looking forward to making it again for my family over the Thanksgiving holidays.
Fitness update: my gym bestie R got me into this 20 minute twice a day workout by Amanda Bisk, an Australian pole vaulter. I did my first 20 minute workout this morning with R and D and HOLY COW it was no joke! Now I can see why Amanda is super jacked. I’ll tell you all about it during this week’s Friday Faves. 🙂
I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy week so far! Sending you all lots of BOOYAH to get your week started right. 😉 xo.