I’m a huge believer in saving time whenever possible in the kitchen so most days I make a big salad for lunch. It’s simply a matter of picking a leafy green variety, a protein type, toss in a carb, and drizzle on a dressing. The combinations are endless so you don’t have to worry about getting bored or running out of flavors to try.
The other day I opened the fridge and picked out a bunch of ingredients to create this salad. Instead of the usual carbs, I opted for butternut squash and black beans. It was a perfect combination. LOL, I’m a dressing snob too. If I’m going to use a bunch of calories on salad dressing, it won’t be the chemical stuff from a bottle because the real thing tastes so much better.
The salad dressing was red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, and bourbon smoked paprika. I drizzled just a little of the dressing over top and it went really well with the sweet taste of the squash. You can do endless combinations of dressings. Pick a vinegar, pick an oil, add a sweetener or citrus flavor, add a spice. Shake to mix and drizzle on. Easy!
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad with Smoky Paprika Dressing
- 6 cups (170g) baby kale
- 2 cups (228g) butternut squash, cubed
- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup (24g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 16 oz grilled chicken breast, shredded
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Pinch of kosher salt
Toss the kale, butternut squash, black beans, walnuts and chicken breast until mixed. Divide evenly onto 4 plates. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Drizzle over top of the salad.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 346 calories each – 32g protein, 32g carbs, and 10g fat.
- There are so many flavors and varieties of paprika. You can get hot, mild and everywhere in between. I love the flavor of smoked paprika which isn’t spicy at all. It has a sweet barbecue type flavor so that worked perfectly in this salad dressing. The one I chose this time was a bourbon smoked paprika which was delish.
- To save time, buy your butternut squash already in cubes. They sell it that way now in many grocery stores and it’s a huge time (and arm!) saver. If you’ve ever tried to manhandle a butternut squash with a knife, you know what I mean.
Champagne vinegar, walnut oil, lime juice, and a pinch of cayenne is good too if you’re looking for another dressing option. Do you ever make your own salad dressing?