This gorgeous butternut squash and kale salad has “fall” written all over it — a lively composition of seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you like your kale salad with apples, you’re going to love this one!
A kale salad that’s as festive as it is delicious, it might just be the one you’re looking for to serve at your fall holiday table. I can’t think of a more perfect salad for Thanksgiving. And it’s quite Christmas-y in spirit as well.
Come to think of it, all you need for your Hanukkah celebration is a colorful salad to serve with your vegan latkes — and this butternut squash kale salad with apple would work quite well.
Pre-cut fresh butternut squash for convenience: This recipe is prepared with convenient fresh pre-cut butternut squash, often found in the supermarket produce section in fall and winter. If you want to make this from a fresh whole squash, by all means! See instructions following the recipe box.
Make sure not to skip the step of massaging the kale! It doesn’t take long and makes all the difference in the mouthfeel. For a complete guide, see How to Massage Kale.
Roasted butternut squash
- 18 to 20-ounce package fresh pre-cut butternut squash (see Note)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash or Frontier)
- 8 to 10 ounces kale, preferably curly green
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 large or 2 medium sweet apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), or chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Combine the squash chunks in a mixing bowl with the syrup, soy sauce, olive oil and seasoning blend. Stir together and transfer to a parchment-lined roasting pan.
- Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely glazed and just starting to brown, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature or just warm.
- Meanwhile, the rest of the salad can be prepared. Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Cut the kale into bite-sized pieces and give it a good rinse. Dry by blotting between two clean kitchen towels, or in a salad spinner. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Rub a small amount of the olive oil onto your palms and massage the kale leaves for 30 to 60 seconds, until they turn bright green and soften.
- Stir in the remaining olive oil along with the lemon juice and agave. Season gently with salt and pepper, then stir in half of the cranberries.
- When the squash is sufficiently cooled, assemble the salad. Arrange the kale mixture in a large, shallow serving bowl or roomy platter. Arrange the apples slices in 4 separate sections, fanning them out.
- Arrange the roasted butternut squash over the kale (if you find you have too much, as you don’t want to obliterate the apple, don’t use all of it — you can save it for another use), followed by the remaining cranberries, and finally, the pumpkin seeds.
- Serve at once or cover and let stand at room temperature until needed.
Using pre-cut butternut squash is so handy. You’ll find this kind of prepped squash in the produce section of well stocked supermarkets. However, if you’d like to prepare your own butternut squash, see some tips following this recipe box.
How to prepare whole butternut squash
Preheat the oven to 375º F.
Use a medium-size (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds) butternut squash for this salad. in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side up in a baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water, and cover each half tightly with foil. Bake until easily pierced with a knife but still firm, about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and size of squash used.
If you don’t have a knife sharp enough to cut the squash in half, simply wrap the whole squash foil, place them in a casserole dish, and bake until it can be pierced through the narrow part, but is still firm.
When the cool enough to handle, scoop out and discard the seeds. Peel the squashes and cut into 1-inch chunks. This can be done ahead of time.
See more about this technique in How to Cut Butternut Squash Easily.
If you like this festive squash salad, you might also enjoy …
See lots more recipes for tasty vegan salads & sides.
Photos (top and middle): Elena Veselova/Bigstock