This kale salad with apples and roasted butternut squash is the perfect fall side dish! For this salad, we wilt the kale, dress it in a tangy apple cider vinaigrette, then pile it high with butternut squash, apples, pomegranate seeds, and pecans.

Harvest kale salad, in a grey bowl, sits on a purple background.

To me, this kale salad with butternut squash screams “fall harvest.” It’s the kind of dish that would be on the table as a Thanksgiving side dish but could also easily become dinner with the addition of your favorite protein.

If you’ve been around here for long enough, you know we kind of have a thing for kale, and we’ve kind of made it our personal mission to get people on the kale train, whether it’s through our somewhat infamous lemony sauteed kale recipe, or by thinly slicing it and sneaking it into winter veggie coleslaw, by hiding it in beef taco casserole or by adding it to creamy kale and sausage soup.

In this recipe, we’re bringing you a new way to kale salad! We’ve heard from many of you that raw kale salads just aren’t your thing, and we know that cold salads become less and less appealing as the weather gets cooler – so today we’re introducing warm kale salad. It’s just what your fall needs!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s comforting – salads aren’t usually referred to as cozy or comforting, but because this one is warm, it totally is both of those things.
  • It’s nutritious – every single ingredient in this salad recipe is packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals. This salad is truly a nutritional powerhouse.

Harvest Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients

Before we jump into the ‘how,’ let’s talk about the cast of characters for this salad. Find ingredient notes (including substitutions and swaps) below.

Ingredients for harvest kale salad sit on a purple background.
  • Kale – of course, you’re going to need kale – two heads of it to be exact. Our preference is lacinato (also known as “dino”) kale, especially if you’re not a kale lover (yet!). We prefer the texture of lacinato kale, but if you can’t find it the curly variety will also do.
  • Butternut squash – many grocery stores carry raw, cubed butternut squash in the produce section, so if you want to make things extra easy on yourself, grab that. If you buy a whole butternut squash, take a look at our guide on how to cut a butternut squash for the easiest, most efficient way to cube it.

A full ingredient list with exact amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Recipe Variations and Modifications

  • Use a different dressing – the dressing recipe included here is divine and, we think, the perfect complement to the rest of the ingredients, but if you want to skip a homemade dressing, feel free to grab something similar from the grocery store.

How to Make Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Apples

Now that you know what you need to make this salad, you may still be a little skeptical about the idea of making a warm salad, but, stay with me. Here’s how you’ll do it.

Baked, lightly browned cubed butternut squash lays on a baking tray.
A glass measuring cup is shown filled with a yellow liquid.

Step 1: If you haven’t already, peel and cube the butternut squash. Then, toss it in the olive oil and roast it at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and olive oil until fully combined.

Kale is shown, chopped, on a wooden cutting board. A black knife sits to the side.
Chopped kale sits in a great bowl.

Step 3: Wash, de-stem, and chop the kale.

Step 4: Add the kale to a pan over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, until it is just wilted and bright green, then remove it from the heat and toss with the dressing (reserving some for drizzling over the finished salad).

Remaining ingredients, including pomegranate seeds, pecans, and apple chunks, have been poured on top of the chopped kale. Tongs sit to the side.

Step 5: Add the butternut squash, chopped apples, pomegranate seeds, and pecans. Drizzle with additional dressing, if desired, and then serve!

How to Store

Store any leftover salad you have in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (beyond that, the ingredients tend to get soggy).

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply eat it cold (straight from the fridge), or warm it up in a pan over medium/low heat on the stovetop for 2-3 minutes.

Harvest kale salad, in a grey bowl, sits on a purple background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat raw kale as a salad?

Absolutely! We heated up the kale in this recipe, but didn’t cook it all the way down like we do in this lemony kale recipe.

Can I add a protein to this salad?

You can absolutely add protein to this salad. Shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey (from your Thanksgiving turkey, of course) would be great options.

If you tried this Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Apples or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Apples

5 — Votes 3 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This harvest kale salad is perfect for fall with roasted butternut squash, apples, pecans, and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette!


For the Salad:

  • 1/2 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed (or about 3 cups cubed squash)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 heads lacinato kale washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 large apple cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup pecans

For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup optional
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, and pepper, then spread it onto the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, until the butternut squash is soft, then remove from the oven.
  • While the squash is baking, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard in a bowl, then slowly drizzling in the olive oil, stirring constantly until fully combined.
  • Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet with a matching lid over medium heat, then add the kale and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Place the lid on the skillet and cook for one minute, then remove the lid, stir the kale and cook for an additional minute, until bright green and lightly wilted. Remove the kale from heat and toss with 1/4 cup of dressing.
  • To plate the salad: place the kale in a bowl or on a large plate, then top with the butternut squash, apples, pecans, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with additional dressing as needed and serve!

Recipe Notes

If you’d prefer a cold salad, simply toss raw kale with 1/4 cup of the dressing and massage the dressing into the kale. Let the kale sit for at least 10 minutes before eating to let the dressing fully soften it.


Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 636mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 16492IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 375
Keyword: fall, harvest, vegan, vegetarian, warm, winter squash

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Amber Goulden

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