It’s October and fall has finally hit Los Angeles! It was 85 degrees just two days ago and now gloomy skies have entered bringing rain and wind; I absolutely love it! To celebrate the fall season, I decided to make a salad with fruits and vegetables that represent the season. For lunch, I present a cinnamon chile spiced steak kale salad with spiced pecans, roasted butternut squash, fresh pears, cherry tomatoes, and blue cheese all tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette. This kale salad is so full of flavor that it’ll become part of your regular menu, I know it has for me!
**Helpful hints and common mistakes
So you’re probably looking at this recipe and thinking, that’s a lot of work for a salad! I admit it’s not the simplest salad to put together, but the seasoning and roasting of the ingredients will produce a more flavorful salad than you could ever anticipate.
When grocery shopping for kale, you will notice that there are several different types of kale, including:
- Curly kale: the most common type of kale available. This “flowering” kale is mild and slightly sweet.
- Dinosaur kale: also known as Lacinato Kale, this leafy green has tall narrow leaves and wrinkled texture.
- Redbor kale: looks similar to curly kale but has a vibrant purple/ dark red hue.
- Kamome red kale: just as the name suggests, this kale has a dark red hue similar to Redbor kale. Also another type of “flowering” kale, kamome is slightly more bitter than other varieties.
I almost always purchase curly kale, but this time I went with the Kamome red kale. Because of its bitter leaves, the sweet dressing pairs perfectly with the kale. You want to massage the vinaigrette into the kale to soften up the leaves. If the kale is dressed at the last minute, it will still have a strong bitter taste and tough texture.
Butternut squash is the ideal squash for salads because it holds its shape after being cooked and has a mild enough flavor to easily manipulate.
When baking the pecans, keep an eye on the nuts as they may be done sooner, depending on the strength of your oven. Make sure you transfer them to a clean sheet of wax paper or parchment paper immediately after or else they will stick to the paper it baked on. The last thing you want to do is have to peel parchment paper off of sugared pecans.
Although this is a steak salad, you can substitute the meat for chicken, pork, shrimp, or even tempeh. You can also choose a different cut of steak if rib-eye is not for you. Since it’s chillier outside, cook the steaks on the stove instead or on a grill pan.
Plate the salads and enjoy! You can also prepare the ingredients and throw the salad together later in the week. I absolutely loved the flavors of the salad. The cinnamon chile spices were evident throughout the entire salad from the squash to the pecans to the steak. Although all the spices are similar, every ingredient still contributed to a different flavor element and texture. All the ingredients taste wonderful separately so paired together, they sing harmony. I will definitely be revisiting this salad many times throughout the season.
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.