This Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash is a little sweet, a little savory, warm, and hearty. It's a simply delicious addition to your next dinner spread or holiday meal.
About this Salad
I've been making this Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash for Thanksgiving for a very long time. It's full of fall flavors thanks to a seasonal fruits and vegetables including avocado, squash, kale, apples, and pomegranates. They're all hearty, healthy, and immune-boosting, too!
This warm salad is a little sweet, a little savory, and has great crunch. It's simply delicious and a great addition to your next family dinner spread or holiday meal. You can also enjoy it as a hearty lunch! It'll fill you up with all the good stuff! Plus, it holds up great as leftovers.
And if you love this salad, also check out my Seasonal Harvest Salad, this Pear and Pecan Salad, Lemon Basil Caprese Salad, or this Grilled Vegetable Salad, too.
- Butternut Squash: I love how sweet and hearty this winter squash is. The flavor isn't overwhelming, making it easy to pair with other ingredients. We'll use about half a large butternut squash for this salad. Use the rest in this Harvest Chicken Casserole!
- Kale: This green is PACKED with healthy nutrients and is a great salad base.
- Quinoa: Adds such wonderful warmth and fluffiness to this salad. It's also full of amazing health benefits.
- Fuji Apple Dressing: This is an incredible Panera Bread dressing you can buy bottled at the grocery store. It truly brings this salad together!
- Fruit: Pomegranate Seeds & Apple. Tart and sweet, fruit adds great flavor dimension.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Not only do these add a nice crunch, but they're great for you.
- Avocado: For some nice, creamy texture.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
While this salad is delicious on it's own, there are plenty of ways to mix and match ingredients and bulk it up. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Add a protein. You could add grilled shrimp, pork, or shredded chicken. Check out my Ninja Foodi Grilled Chicken Recipe for step by step instructions of perfectly prepared chicken.
- Change up the dressing. You could use a homemade lemon vinaigrette, Italian, or a creamy bleu cheese dressing.
- Throw in some cheese. This salad is dairy free as it is, but that doesn't mean a creamy gouda, feta or crumbled goat cheese wouldn't taste amazing.
- Swap out the greens. I know kale isn't everyone's first choice. You could make this salad with a spring mix, spinach blend, or keep it simple with a cabbage slaw.
- Introduce new fruits. Use a different apple flavor or get wild with some pears. Berries, peaches, or plums would also taste delicious!
How to Make This Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the skin on the squash with a vegetable peeler. Then, using a knife, slice the squash in half horizontally like a hot dog.
2. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Then, chop into ¼”-¾” slices. Cut those slices into cubes. Add cubed squash to a sheet pan and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the cubes are nice and caramelized, tossing 2-3 times throughout.
3. Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions. You can also use a 90-second precooked quinoa packet. It's time efficient and still delicious! Dice your apple into cubes (or thin slices if you prefer) and slice your avocado.
4. Chop kale and place in a bowl. Massage it for 2-3 minutes with the Fuji Apple Dressing. This will soften the kale to take away any of its bitterness and infuse it with flavor.
5. Add apple, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries to the bowl. Add cheese here, too if using.
6. When butternut squash is complete, remove from pan and add to the salad. You can add the squash while it's warm to slightly wilt the kale for a softer salad texture.
7. Toss with Fuji Apple Dressing, then add avocado last (so it doesn't get smushed). Serve and enjoy!
Massaging and infusing the kale with the flavor from the dressing and removing its bitterness. It also softens it too, making it easier to chew.
This salad is best stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The heartiness from the kale will keep it from getting soggy too quickly as compared to a more delicate green like arugula or butter lettuce.
Don't undercook your squash. We want the butternut squash browned and caramelized. This brings out its sweetness and gives it the best texture.
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Kale Fall Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- sheet pan
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
- Serving bowl
- Vegetable peeler
- Salad tongs
- parchment paper
- ½ large butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 5 oz kale, chopped
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup honeycrisp apple, chopped
- ½ avocado
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese, optional
- ½ cup Panera Bread Fuji Apple Dressing
To roast the butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Remove the skin on the squash with a vegetable peeler. Then, using a knife, slice the squash in half horizontally like a hot dog.
- Remove the seeds with a spoon. Then, chop into ¼”-¾” slices. Cut those slices into cubes.
- Add cubed squash to a sheet pan and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. You could even toss with a little Italian seasoning for some more flavor.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes. You may need more or less time depending on the size of the squash you used. Toss 2-3 times while cooking to ensure cubes are cooked equally.
For the salad:
- Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions. You can also use a 90-second precooked quinoa packet. It's time efficient and still delicious!
- Dice your apple into cubes (or thin slices if you prefer) and slice your avocado.
- Chop kale and place in a bowl. Massage it for 2-3 minutes with the Fuji Apple Dressing. This will soften the kale to take away some of its bitterness and infuse it with flavor.
- Add apple, avocado, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries to the bowl.
- When butternut squash is complete, remove from pan and add to the salad.
- Toss and enjoy!
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I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It’s my passion to create dishes that can be shared with others. Tell me something you loved or just say hi!
Sydney Van Acker says
love the balance of sweet and savory flavors in this recipe. And so much seasonal produce! Making again for sure.
Courtney Paige says
The freshness of this salad - SO GOOD!! I used Raspberry Walnut dressing and it was delicious.