Wheat Berry Salad with Tuscan Kale and Butternut Squash

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The weather outside is moody and thick with fog. Looking out over the city makes me think of old movies set in London, England or on the Scottish moors. Deep gray mist hangs over Toronto’s skyline as warm and cool fronts meet. Have you ever seen some of those old episodes of Sherlock Holmes where they chase the villains through the foggy streets of London? You can sense evil is lurking around every corner but you cannot see it. There you go. I have you feeling frightened already and it is not even Halloween.

Seriously, it is a little odd for us to be having such warm weather just one week before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Usually, we would be wearing fall jackets and pulling out the winter clothes by the middle of October.

Nevertheless; I am already starting to crave some of my favourite fall foods. One of my very favourites is Butternut squash. I love it in soup and salads and roasted as a side dish.  The recipe of Wheat Berry Salad with Tuscan Kale and Butternut Squash is just great on its own but it would make a great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or for a dinner with some roasted lamb. The wheat berries could be swapped for quinoa to make the dish gluten-free. Any way you decide to make it will make you a healthy and delicious fall salad.

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Wheat Berry Salad with Kale and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 lb. peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole wheat berries
10 oz. Tuscan kale, stemmed, leaves sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (4 cups)
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the wheat berries with 5 cups of water and 1/4 tsp. of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, 25 minutes.

Add the kale to the wheat berries, cover and remove from the heat; let stand until the kale is wilted, 5-10 minutes. Drain well and add the wheat and kale to the squash. Add the vinegar and 2 tbsp. of the oil to the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat until just starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer, stirring, until evaporated. Scrape the shallot and garlic into the salad and toss.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe modified from Food and Wine Magazine-October 2013

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