Winter Detox Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

Lately, I have noticed several articles, documentaries, and Instagram/blog posts touting veganism as a “plant-based” diet. Okay, great! I don’t deny that veganism is a plant-based diet. I only dislike that it is sometimes presented as the ONLY plant-based diet. Paleo is a plant-based diet too! Aside from meat, eggs, and seafood, what is left? PLANTS. Delicious, nutritious, brightly-colored plants.

I have shared this video of 3 doctors debating the merits and drawbacks of paleo vs. vegan and I’ll share it again. If you have around 30 minutes, you might find it enlightening. If you don’t have the time, I will summarize it for you: whether you are paleo or vegan, we have more in common than we have differences. We all are in search of more nutrient-dense foods that make us feel good and perform better across all domains. And either ideology is in most cases an improvement upon the Standard American Diet!

So whether you are hardcore paleo, or vegan, or just doing Whole30 for this month, or eating all foods in moderation and just happen to be looking for a scrumptious way to prepare winter vegetables, I encourage you to try this Winter Detox Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash. Add some chicken or fish to make a well-rounded paleo entree. Some quinoa and/or cannellini beans would be a great addition for vegans. And we can both agree that a sliced avocado would just take this whole thing to the next level?! Yeah?!

One last note about acorn squash -- WHY have I not been using these more?! My go-to root vegetable is typically butternut squash. I love it’s flavor for so many savory and sweet applications. But removing the rind is always a slight pain in the butt. Acorn squashes are so cool because you can EAT the rind! Which is great, because can you imagine having to wiggle your peeler or paring knife in and out of all those cute little ridges?! Thank you Mother Nature.

Winter Detox Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

This salad is packed with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables that are especially ripe for the picking in the winter. It makes a brightly colored and festive side for roast chicken, turkey, or beef, or add a pan-seared fillet of fish to the top to make a quick and healthy lunch!

Ingredients

1 large acorn squash

1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

½ head red cabbage, thinly shredded or grated

1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1 pomegranate, seeded

½ cup walnuts

½ cup avocado oil

Juice of 1 large orange

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half vertically (intersecting the pointy tip and where the stem used to attach). Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Place squash cut side down on a cutting board and slice into ½ inch half rings. Repeat with the other half. Arrange slices on a baking sheet and season with plenty of S+P. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping the squash rings at the halfway point. They will be very soft and caramelized when finished.

While the squash roasts, prepare the dressing by whisking together avocado oil, orange juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a large salad bowl, toss kale and cabbage together. Massage vinaigrette into the leaves and let sit while the squash finishes roasting. Top salad with roasted squash rings, apple slices, and finally pomegranate seeds + walnuts.