Delicious salads do exist! This roasted butternut squash and kale salad features all of the best produce and ingredients for Fall. Fluffy quinoa, tangy pomegranate, crisp pumpkin seeds, and a light and fresh vinaigrette you will drown everything in. Serve this as a side dish for your next party!
I love salads, but there is nothing worse than a salad with no substance or flavor. I mean, if I’m going to eat a pile of greens I want it to actually taste good!
I’ve found the key to a good salad is less about what goes in the salad and more about what goes ON it. Dressing!!
Dressings are the key to getting salads to taste good, and this butternut squash and kale salad has a simple and tangy vinaigrette that you’re going to love.
How To Cube Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is much easier to cube than you may think. You are welcome to buy pre-cubed squash if you are low on time or just don’t feel like chopping, but I’m going to make it really easy for you.
The first step is to cut the ends of the squash off. You will need a very sharp knife for this so just be sure you are on a flat service in case anything slips.
Once the ends are off, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the squash. Because the skin of butternut squash is somewhat thick, you may need to do 2-3 passes on each section to ensure you get it all off. Discard the skin since we won’t be needing it.
Next, once the squash is peeled, cut it widthwise into 1 inch pieces (see middle picture below).
Finally, cut each strip into 1 inch cubes. Depending on the size of squash used and what part of the squash was cut, you may need to cut each strip into 2 additional strips before cutting into cubes.
Once the squash is all cubed, add it to a large mixing bowl (we need 3 cups of squash for this recipe) and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For a little spice, feel free to add a small pinch of cayenne.
We all know by now that I am a spice wuss, so I almost always leave it out 🙂
Once the squash is seasoned, spread it onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast at 400 for 25-35 minutes. You will know it’s done when it can easily be stabbed with a fork and some edges look a little crispy.
How to massage kale and make it delicious
Don’t tell me you hate kale until you try my kale. Ok, it’s not “my” kale, you paid for it, but I think you catch my drift. I have three essential (but easy) tips to make kale more enjoyable to eat.
- REMOVE THE KALE STEMS: The stems of kale (especially the curly varieties) are incredibly tough and hard to chew. Most bagged kale will not have the stems removed so it’s great for things like smoothies, but less enjoyable for salads.
To remove the stems, grab the end of the stem and quickly glide your fingers all the way down the leaf, until all you are left with is a stem in your hand. If you’re at all confused by what I mean, check out this tutorial.
- MASSAGE IT WELL: This is especially important for curly kale, which is what I recommend for this salad. Massaging kale is less important when using dinosaur kale, but curly kale is tough and you want to break down the cell wall.
I suggest adding the de-stemmed kale to a colander and running it under warm water for about 1-2 minutes, massaging it as it rinses. Not only will this wash any dirt off the kale, but your hands plus the warm/hot water will really work to break down the cell wall, making it much easier (and more pleasant) to chew.
- CHOP IT VERY SMALL: Who wants to shove giant pieces of kale into their mouths?! Not I. Once the kale is washed and massaged, dry it off slightly and either add it to a cutting board and chop it into tiny pieces using a sharp knife. Alternatively, you can add to a large mixing bowl and use kitchen shears (fancy scissors) to cut it very finely.
- Once prepared, this kale salad will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. I suggest storing the dressing and salad separately for best results.
- You can use either tri color or white quinoa. I personally like tri-color as it makes the salad look more interesting!
- The great thing about salads is that they are very customizable. You can leave out or add in whatever ingredients you want. If you do not have slivered almonds, whole walnuts work really well.
- There is no one type of kale that is best for salads, but for this particular recipe I like to use traditional green curly kale. Curly kale looks like this, unlike dinosaur kale that looks like this.
Need more Fall recipes?! Try these!
- Soft Baked Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta (In 20 minutes!)
- Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Cinnamon Apples
- Comforting Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
Finally, if you make this butternut squash salad, don’t forget to tag me on instagram so I can see your creation! Leave a comment below and let us know how it turns out!
Antioxidant Packed Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the ends off the butternut squash.
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off.
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Cut the the squash widthwise into 1 inch strips and then cut each strip into 1 inch cubes.
- Add the cubed squash to a bowl and add the oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Roast on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for 25-35 minutes.
- De stem and chop the kale into small pieces (see notes). Add to a colander and massage while running under warm water for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the kale, squash, cooked quinoa, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and almonds to a large bowl.
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and pour on top when ready to serve.