Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad
Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad is perfect for fall and winter! Roasted squash adds sweetness, along with currants and a maple vinaigrette. Delicious enough for a spot on the holiday table and easy enough for a weeknight meal. Enjoy the contrasting flavors and textures in this gluten free salad recipe!
Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad is perfect for fall and winter! Roasted squash adds sweetness, along with currants and a maple vinaigrette. Delicious enough for a spot on the holiday table and easy enough for a weeknight meal. Enjoy the contrasting flavors and textures in this salad!
If we were running a marathon — and I should preface this by saying I have never run or even trained for a marathon — I would describe this time as Mile 19, at least when it comes to the holidays. We started this race in October, pushed through Thanksgiving, and Christmas is now behind us. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and we can sense that the end of the holiday race is near.
During this little pause, I have purposefully stepped back and enjoyed a bit of quiet, fueling myself with leftovers and balancing out all the sweets with wholesome meals. I’ve traded social media for puzzle building and movie watching, and I’m really trying to savor my family being home from school and work.
But I wanted to pop in and share this wholesome, perfect-for-winter-and-fall salad with you. It was partly inspired by a delicious roasted squash salad that my friend Lisa made for our holiday cookie exchange brunch (the one where I brought those alfajores!). Lisa’s salad had baby kale, fresh persimmons, blue cheese and pecans, if I recall correctly. But I was really taken with the sweetness of the roasted squash and decided to make my own version to serve at my family’s Christmas Day party.
I hosted this year, and spent the entire Christmas Day on my feet, cooking and baking up a storm. There were noodles and lumpia, my mom’s apple walnut cake, and of course, all the dishes that my relatives brought. It was quite a fiesta.
But I knew we needed some freshness to balance out all the heavy dishes, so I tossed some curly kale in a simple maple vinaigrette, along with sweet currants and sunflower seeds — all pantry staples that make it such an easy salad to make, whether for entertaining or every day. Topped off with the roasted acorn squash, I quickly realized that it is so easy to make in advance or even enjoy as leftovers — that I’ve made this Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad a few more times since, and it’s become a very fast favorite of mine.
Quick, simple, fresh and wholesome — all things we could use a bit more of as we close in on the end of the holiday season. The finish line is nearly here, my friends!
If you enjoyed this Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad, you may also enjoy these other hearty salads, perfect for fall and winter:
Mandarin Orange Kale Salad
Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette
Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Apple and Gorgonzola
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Beets, Oranges and Pomegranate
Apple Beet Salad with Endive and Baby Greens
Roasted Beet and Kale Panzanella
Chestnut Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Salad
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 acorn squash halved, seeds removed, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 6 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds plus a little more for garnish
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.
- While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until the dressing is fully emulsified.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F with a wire rack placed in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
- Place the slices of acorn squash on the baking sheet, toss in the olive oil, making sure the squash is evenly coated.
- Season the squash on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Place in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- In a bowl, toss the kale, carrots, cabbage, currants and sunflower seeds in about 3/4 of the dressing.
- Arrange the salad in a platter, and top with the acorn squash. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with feta cheese, and a few more sunflower seeds, for garnish.
- To save time, I used pre-bagged Organic Kale Salad by Harvest Sensations, found at Whole Foods. For this recipe, 1/2 a 1-lb bag works perfectly.
- Acorn squash can be roasted the day before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Simply reheat before serving.
- The kale, carrots, cabbage, currants and sunflower seeds can be tossed in 3/4 of the dressing the day before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.