This is a sexy salad—lean, beautiful, and exciting. With color popping up like wildflowers all over the plate, this exquisite, belly-filling, oh so good for you vegetarian entree, satisfies the senses. avocado, chickpeas, and quinoa provide protein. The cabbage and radishes color and crunch. The carrots, squash, and fruit add sweetness. The greens gorgeous color and a dose of comic book hero nutritional strength. Throw in a corn lover’s out of season fix, polenta croutons, and a rich, thick healthy dressing made with carrots and this is a meatless meal that impresses. Eating healthy never looked sooooo good. Thank you Salt, Boulder, Colorado for the inspiration!


cuisine American
difficulty Simple
season Summer
serves 4

Ingredients for the salad

  • 4 cups baby kale, washed and spun dry
  • 4 cups baby spinach, washed and spun dry
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium beets
  • 1 pound tube prepared polenta
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 handful red grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, rough chop
  • 1/4 of a small red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup pineapple, 1/4” pieces
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 radish, sliced as thin as possible into rounds
  • 1 avocado, sliced lengthwise into 1/4” thick pieces
  • 1 small orange carrot, peeled
  • 1 small purple carrot, peeled
  • 1 small white carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pepitas

Ingredients for the vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons pickled ginger
  • 4 ounces carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion (about 3 ounces), roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds and cut into 1/2” cubes. Put the squash on a HALF SHEET BAKING PAN and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until lightly caramelized, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Put the beets on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap the beets tightly in the foil. Roast alongside the squash until a knife may be easily slid into the center of the beet, about 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the beets. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets and cut into 1/4” cubes. Set aside.
  4. Square off the sides and ends the polenta log and cut it into 1” cubes. Toss cubes in a bowl with just enough olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and lightly oil a HALF SHEET BAKING PAN, arrange the cubes so that they do not touch and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Let cool slightly before adding to the salad.
  5. Add the oils, vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, carrots, onion and pickled ginger to the bowl of a mini food processor, or alternatively use an immersion blender, and . process the dressing until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. In a LARGE BOWL, toss the kale, spinach, and quinoa together. Drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves. Divide the greens among 4 bowls 7. Make small piles of the squash, beets, pineapple, chickpeas, grapes, avocado, and croutons around the bowl.
  7. Drop the radish slices over the salad. Sprinkle the parsley over the salad. Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to slice the carrots into thin ribbons and place strategically on top of the salad. Sprinkle with pepitas.
  8. Serve immediately, passing more dressing at the table.