Harvest Salad with Kale & Butternut Squash

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This kale salad with 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.

kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pecans, apples, and pomegranate seeds on a gray plate on a marble board

To me, this kale salad with butternut squash screams “fall harvest.” It's the kind of dish that would be at home 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. So much so, that when we went on our Cook Once, Eat All Week book tour this past Spring, we handed out reusable shopping bags that said: “Fed + Fit: Hiding Kale in Strange Places Since 2011.”

So, we've kind of made it our personal mission to get people on the kale train, whether it's through our somewhat infamous lemony kale recipe, or by thinly slicing it and sneaking it into slaws, by hiding it in casseroles or by adding it to soups. 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!

kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pecans, apples, and pomegranate seeds on a gray plate on a marble board

Ingredients for Harvest Kale Salad

Before we jump into the ‘how,' let's talk about the cast of characters for this salad:

  • Kale – of course, you're gonna need kale – two heads of it to be exact. Our preference is lacinato, or dino, kale – especially if you're not necessarily 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 – the second star of this show is butternut squash. You'll need about 2 1/2 cups of cubed squash for this recipe, or about half a butternut squash.
  • Pomegranate Seeds – we love pomegranate seeds, these little gems bring a bright, slightly tangy burst of flavor to every bite.
  • Apples – What would a harvest salad be without apples? You'll need one large one for this salad.
  • Pecans – Pecans add a great crunch to the salad and a nice toasted flavor.
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette – the final component of this salad is the tangy, slightly sweet apple cider vinaigrette made with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, and extra-virgin olive oil.

kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pecans, apples, and pomegranate seeds on a gray plate on a marble board

How to Make Warm Kale Salad

Ok, 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 make this salad:

  1. Roast the butternut squash. First, you'll peel and cube the butternut squash (or you can save yourself some time and buy pre-cut squash), then toss it in a bit of olive oil and roast it at 400 F for 20 minutes.
  2. Make the vinaigrette. My favorite method for making vinaigrettes is to pour all of the ingredients into a mason jar, seal it, and shake it up. This will quickly emulsify the dressing. Alternatively, you can whisk together all of the ingredients other than the olive oil, then slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing, whisking constantly until fully combined.
  3. Wilt the kale. The goal here isn't to fully cook down the kale, but rather to wilt it. You'll wash, de-stem, and roughly chop the kale, then add it 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.
  4. Plate it. Finally, you'll add the kale to a plate or bowl, then pile it with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, apples, toasted pecans, and another splash of dressing.

There you have it – the perfect fall salad! We hope you love this recipe as much as we do.


Harvest Salad with Kale & Butternut Squash

kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pecans, apples, and pomegranate seeds on a gray plate on a marble board

This harvest kale salad is perfect for fall with roasted butternut squash, apples, pecans, and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


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. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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 for 25-30 minutes, until the butternut squash is soft, then remove from the oven.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!


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.

Keywords: warm, fall, harvest, vegan, vegetarian, winter squash

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  1. Amanda says:

    What would be a good protein to serve with this?