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The final assembled salad with kale, squash, pecans, cranberries and pomegranates in a silver serving bowl.
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5 from 1 vote

A Spiced Up Kale & Squash Salad

One of my favorite fall and winter salads, made with roasted butternut squash, massaged kale, spiced pecans, chewy cranberries and crunchy pomegranate seeds. It’s sweet, spicy, tart, and provides some much-desired nourishing Holiday flair on the table - healthy style!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Californian
Servings: 6
Author: Daniela Gerson

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash 1 large or 2 medium, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 shallot minced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss squash pieces with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until squash is tender and well browned around the edges, 45 min – 1 hr. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 F (for the pecans).
  • While the squash roasts, whisk together shallot, maple syrup, mustard and vinegar, Whisking constantly, drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • De-stem and chop the kale. Either chop with a knife or tear it with your hands. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and massage until tender, 3-5 min. Really get your hands in there and massage!
  • Combine cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the pecans and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Assemble all! Add squash to large bowl with kale, followed by pecans, cranberries, and pomegranate seeds. Add more dressing if desired. Toss very gently with your hands. Enjoy!

Notes

  • To de-stem kale: Use your hands! Grab the stalk of kale, hold it by the stem with one hand, and place the pointer or middle finger and thumb of your other hand around the stem just above the leaves. Pull your fingers along the stem, easily tearing off the leaves.
  • Any kind of kale works!
  • To peel & cut butternut squash: If you have a heavy-duty peeler, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, use a knife. And def don’t worry about making all the cubes symmetrical. We’re going for quasi the same size.
  • Roast squash even longer than ya think you should! A little char around the edges is what we want.
  • Make extra pecans for your snacking pleasure!
  • Best tool for tossing the finished salad is your hands! The squash will be very tender so gently get your hands in there.
  • The dressed salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let it come to room temp before serving.
  • Any kind of kale works!
  • To peel & cut butternut squash: If you have a heavy-duty peeler, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, use a knife. And def don’t worry about making all the cubes symmetrical. We’re going for quasi the same size.
  • Roast squash even longer than ya think you should! A little char around the edges is what we want.
  • Make extra pecans for your snacking pleasure!
  • Best tool for tossing the finished salad is your hands! The squash will be very tender so gently get your hands in there.
  • The dressed salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let it come to room temp before serving.