Categories: Eats, Life Style

Kale Salad with Orange-Herb Dressing

Hey, What’s Cookin’?


This kale salad with orange-herb dressing is bursting with the flavors of fall! Luscious roasted butternut squash, lacinato kale, red onion, apple, and pecans are dressed with a homemade fresh orange-sage dressing that beautifully sets off the flavors in the salad.  It’s delicous, healthy eating for these still-warm days!

But, but, but…butternut squash?  Should a health-minded even eat that stuff? The short answer is YES! According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of cooked, cubed butternut squash, weighing around 205 grams, has the following nutritional profile:

  • 82 calories
  • 1.8 grams (g) of protein
  • 0.18 g of fat
  • 21 g of carbohydrates, including 4 g of sugar and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber
  • 582 mg of potassium—more than the amount available in a banana!
  • 84 mg of calcium
  • 582 mg of potassium
  • 59 mg of magnesium
  • 55 mg of phosphorus
  • 31 mg of Vitamin C

Based on glycemic index (GI), butternut squash has a ranking of 51. That ranking is rather high, and is the reason why many vegetables and fruits (such as watermelon) have gotten such a bad reputation over the years. The GI measures the effects of the carbohydrate in a given food on blood glucose levels. Foods are ranked on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the number, the more quickly a carbohydrate raises blood sugar.

But a far more useful number is the glycemic load (GL), which ranks food by both its GI and the amount of carbohydrate in an actual serving size of the food. Based on a serving size of 80 grams, or about 1/3 cup of plain boiled, mashed squash, butternut squash has a very low glycemic load of 3.

As another example, watermelon has a high GI of 72, yet a low GL of 7.21. That high GI is based on 5 cups of watermelon, not an actual serving size of 1 cup. The low GL means one serving of watermelon doesn’t contain much carbohydrate, because it is mostly water. The low GL indicates that a serving of watermelon won’t have much impact on your blood sugar. Looks like watermelon’s back on the menu, folks!

It does takes some effort, but with the help of the Internet, you can calculate a food’s GL. To find a food’s GL, multiply its GI by the {number of carbohydrate grams in a serving}, and then divide by 100.

  • A low GL is between 1 and 10
  • a moderate GL is 11 to 19
  • a high GL is 20 or higher.

You want to avoid high GL foods, and keep a close watch on your intake of moderate-GL foods.

And because everyone reading this wants to know: What about white potatoes?  With the new GL calculation, can I go back to eating them freely?

Sorry–the answer is NO. 1 medium potato, at 213 grams, has a GI of 104, and a GL of 36.4. That’s clearly OUT OF RANGE for everyday eating! No matter the scale, white potatoes just aren’t a good bet for anyone’s healthy diet. Keep them as an occasional treat only.

Whew! I’m hungry after all that!  Hey, I know–let’s have a salad!

Kale Salad with Orange-Herb Dressing

Adapted from: Potluck at Oh My Veggies
Serves: 4


For the Dressing:
  • zest of 1 navel or cara cara orange
  • 1/2 cup of fresh navel or cara cara orange juice
  • 1 tbs white or champagne vinegar
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Salad:
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped (approx 1 medium squash)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 head lacinato or dino kale, washed and air-dried, with leaves chopped into strips
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Honeycrisp or other sweet fall apple, thinly sliced


  1. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake all the salad dressing ingredients ingredients for the salad dressing. Set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Toast the pecan pieces in a small baking dish.for 5 min. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Put the chopped butternut squash in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly so that all squash pieces are well-coated. Scatter the oiled/seasoned squash on a large baking pan lined with parchment paper. Set the bowl aside; you will need it later (there is no need to wash the bowl).
  4. Roast squash in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring once halfway through. When squash is finished roasting, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.
  5. In the large bowl that you used to mix the squash, add back the roasted squash, as well as the kale, red onion, and apple. Toss salad lightly to evenly mix.
  6. Re-shake the orange-herb dressing.and pour it over the salad. Toss lightly again, sprinkle the pecans on top, and serve with extra dressing.



  • If you don’t have access to lacinato kale, you can used prewashed organic bagged baby kale (9 oz.) from the grocery.
  • You may also add fresh orange segments to the salad, along with the apple.





Photograph via Julia Mueller

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