Looking for a leafy green salad that is elegant enough for a festive dinner or special occasion AND also simple enough for any day of the week? Look no further! This Kale and Butternut Squash Salad is just what you need.
Tender, roasted cubes of butternut squash, sweet roasted red onions and crispy sage leaves are tossed with hearty kale, toasty pecans and a simple vinaigrette. The results are simply outstanding....an easy, impressive and wholesome salad that doesn't skimp on flavor or good looks.
Keep reading for step-by step instructions for making this Kale and Butternut Squash Salad at home!
Why This Recipe Works
- The vegetables and sage leaves all roast together on one pan making for easy prep and clean up.
- The sweet squash and onions perfectly compliment the earthy kale.
- The components of this salad can all be made ahead and tossed together at the last minute.
- Butternut squash. This sweet and delicious vegetable (especially when roasted) is such a nice match with kale. The two were made for each other!
- Red onion. Onions become sweet and tender when roasted but retain a bit of crunch making them a nice accompaniment to the soft roasted squash.
- Sage leaves. Sage is another delicious pair with squash and is a great herbal addition here.
- Pecans. Buttery and crunchy, pecans add a desirable hit of richness and crunch to this salad.
- Kale. Kale is the green backdrop to all of the other goodies present in this salad and it hold up so well to the other hearty ingredients.
- Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, shallot, dijon mustard and a bit of honey create a simple vinaigrette that allows this salad to really sing.
How to Make this Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cubes of squash and red onion on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to evenly coat the vegetables with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Stir the vegetables and add the sage leaves. Continue to roast until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes more. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle half of the the vinaigrette over the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands. Add the roasted vegetables and pecans. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Crumble the crispy sage leaves over the top. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
- Don't skip massaging the kale with the vinaigrette! This helps soften and flavor the kale making for a more delicious salad.
You can make and prepare all of the components ahead of time and then simply toss the salad when you are ready to serve: The roasted vegetables can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. The kale can be washed, chopped and dried and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The pecans can be toasted up to 5 days ahead of time (store in an airtight container at room temperature). Finally, the vinaigrette can be whisked together up to 3 days before serving. Store the vinaigrette in a jar or other airtight container and give it a good shake to recombine before using.
The leftovers will keep well for a couple of days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Substitute sweet potatoes for the squash if you prefer. Yellow onions or shallots can stand in for the red onions. To make it a main course salad, consider adding a cooked whole grain such as barley or farro and/or cooked chicken. Crumbled feta or goat cheese would be nice, and/or a handful of dried cranberries and/or dried cherries!
Looking for more Scandinavian-inspired Butternut squash dishes? Give these a try:
This salad also makes a nice main course, particularly if you scatter some cooked whole grains (rye berries or barley are both delicious) and a handful of crumbled goat cheese into the mixture.
Kale Salad with Butternut Squash
For the Salad:
- 1 large butternut squash peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1 red onion cut into ¼ inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 10-12 whole sage leaves
- 1 large bunch kale Curly or Tuscan is fine, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
- Vinaigrette recipe follows
For the Vinaigrette:
- 1 small shallot minced (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash and red onion on baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, stir and add sage leaves. Continue to roast until vegetables are tender and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes more. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer kale to a serving platter or large bowl. Drizzle half the vinaigrette over the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands. Add roasted vegetables and pecans. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and gently toss to combine. Crumble the crispy sage leaves over the top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
- The roasted vegetables can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- The kale can be washed, chopped and dried and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- The pecans can be toasted up to 5 days ahead of time (store in an airtight container at room temperature).
- Finally, the vinaigrette can be whisked together up to 3 days before serving. Store the vinaigrette in a jar or other airtight container and give it a good shake to recombine before using.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Kale and Butternut Squash Salad and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.