If there ever were a Thanksgiving worthy (or holiday-worthy) Salad, this Kale Salad with Squash is it! That’s why I am changing it’s name from Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash, Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans to straight-up Thanksgiving Salad. Because let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a big deal, and if you’re gonna give up some of your plate space to salad, it better be worthy. And this salad is so worthy, it may just steal the show! It’s sweet, tart, creamy and crunchy and so addictively delicious it may steal the show! It’s topped with roasted delicata squash, candied nuts, goat cheese and cranberries, all tossed with kale and dressing! It can be made ahead too!
How To Make Thanksgiving Salad
Prepare the Delicata Squash
- Cut the delicata squash by slicing it in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon and then cut the halves into half-moons.
- Toss the delicata squash with oil, salt and pepper and roast it until it is tender and browning. This will make the squash even sweeter.
Choosing a Salad Dressing
- My favorite dressing to use for this salad is my Maple Sherry Vinaigrette. It is heavenly and goes with the flavors of the spiced pecans and goat cheese so well. You can prep it ahead too. More on that below.
- Another option for a dressing is Cranberry Vinaigrette which has fresh cranberries and thyme in it. It is more tart, but also wonderful with this flavor profile.
- Lastly I would also recommend my Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette. It has walnut oil, which is one of my favorites, and the natural sweetness from the balsamic is also boosted by a little maple syrup! So good!
Clean the Kale and Prep It
- There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to kale, so you can read more about kale here in the Ultimate Guide to Kale.
- Today I used lacinato kale. You can also make this with curly kale too. First remove the kale leaves from the stem and then cut the leaves into small pieces. Fill a salad spinner with cold water and add the kale. Swish it around and then drain it. Spin the kale dry.
- Place the kale in a bowl and add on the dressing. I get that tossed together while the squash is in the oven.
Toss the Hot Squash with the Kale Salad
Once the squash comes out of the oven, toss it on top of the kale (which is already dressed) and toss it together to let the heat of the squash wilt the kale down. This helps to tenderize it a bit, and makes the salad a little less poufy.
How To Serve
To serve this as a plated first course, divide the kale and squash salad among eight salad plates. Then top with cranberries, goat cheese and the spiced nuts. If you are serving this salad from the bowl, just before serving, add in the goat cheese cranberries and nuts and toss to coat.
More Salad Recipes For Your Holiday Table
- This Easy Holiday Slaw with Pomegranates is a perfect light and fresh salad to add to a rich holiday plate.
- Our Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Kale salad has apple and nuts in it with a lemony dressing and Parmesan cheese.
- This Fall Harvest Salad has both butternut squash and brussels sprouts in it!
- Our favorite Massaged Kale Salad is another easy one to add to the menu. The sweet apples and crunchy nuts make it so tasty with a holiday meal.
- This recipe for Baby Kale salad has a tahini dressing and crunchy chickpeas! Yum!
- If you like caesar salad, try our Lacinato Kale Caesar Salad or our Overnight Kale Caesar. And for a change of pace there is also Napa Cabbage Caesar Salad.
- This Festive Shredded Kale Salad with raspberry and almond is a standout!
Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe for Thanksgiving Salad, let me know by leaving a star rating and review below.
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 entree salads 1x
A luscious and bold fall salad with roasted delicata squash, fresh chèvre, dried cranberries and sweet and spicy pecans, a great celebration worthy salad for Thanksgiving or the holidays.
- 1 medium delicata squash
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 12 cups clean, torn lacinato kale leaves (no ribs or stems)
- ½ cup maple sherry, cranberry or walnut balsamic vinaigrette
- ½ cup crumbled fresh chevre
- ¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 2/3 cup sweet and spicy pecans or purchased spiced nuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Cut delicata in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp from the center of the squash cavity. Trim ends and stem and then cut squash into half moons, each about ½-inch thick.
- Toss delicata squash, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread the squash out on the baking sheet and roast until the squash is tender, stirring once or twice with a spatula, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss kale with dressing in a large bowl.
- Add the hot roasted squash to the kale and toss to coat. Divide the kale and squash mixture among four large plates. Top with fresh chevre, cranberries and pecans.
This recipe can be prepared ahead. Simply store the dressing in a jar and the nuts in a jar or resealable container. The kale can be stored in a resealable bag or in a salad bowl with a damp cloth over it. The squash can be roasted ahead and reheated in the microwave for 90 seconds before tossing with the kale and dressing mixture. Then simply proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: salad
- Method: roasting
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 3 1/2 cups
- Calories: 339
- Sugar: 15 g
- Sodium: 868 mg
- Fat: 17 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 29 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 7 g
Keywords: thanksgiving salad, kale salad, kale salad with cranberries,salad with squash
Everyone loved this salad!
I had a bunch of delicata squash to use up and so decided at the last minute to give this recipe a try this evening. I’m so glad I did! It was delicious even with a few substitutions I had to make based on what ingredients I had on hand. I didn’t have kale, so I used green leaf lettuce. The spiced nuts were divine! I ended up tripling these because I know my household loves these and the holidays are just around the corner. I only had citrus chevre in the fridge and I think it complimented the other flavours of the salad nicely. I used some pomegranate flavoured craisins I had been meaning to use up and they fit in well with the other flavours of the salad. I substituted white wine vinegar for sherry vinegar and found the dressing to be delicious. Again, I tripled this so I can enjoy this salad again in the very near future. I am sure if I brought this salad to anyone’s house for a shared meal it would be a showstopper. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much and I am so happy it came out so well. Love hearing about your substitutions. The citrus chevre sounds amazing!
Sounds delicious and I can’t wait to make this salad! Can you confirm the squash is not peeled or if it is, at what stage. Thank you.
That’s correct. Delicata is one of the only squashes that you don’t have to peel. It’s what I like about it best. It has a great texture.
Delicious! I did a few subs just to make it even easier, I just did some brown sugar & cinnamon on the pecans (toasted them in a pan on top of stove) and used a bottled walnut/raspberry vinaigrette.
Hi, im super excited to try this recipe for Thanksgiving- thank you! However im wondering if I can sub spinach for the kale? I have an abundance of spinach on hand. Thanks!
You can for sure, just go a little light on the dressing to start. Taste and adjust. Also only toss just before serving, the spinach will wilt quickly with the heaviness of the squash and the dressing (whereas the kale holds up for a while once tossed.) The flavors will be great with spinach. Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving.
Do you think this would work with crumbled feta??
Yes, you can definitely sub in feta for the goat cheese. Let me know how you like it!
This looks delicious! Pinned!
Thank you so much! I appreciate the pin.
These pictures make me swoon. It perfectly captures all the things I love about fall food.
I don’t think there could be a salad that I would crave more than this right now–must make ASAP!
I was craving it too, that’s why it made an appearance here. Ha ha!
This looks delicious! Must try!!
Thank you Taylor!
I love how you switch it up using fall produce and dried fruits. This would be nice to serve on Thanksgiving. Gorgeous pics as always!
I think it would be great for Thanksgiving too.
Do you think the squash could be roasted ahead and either brought to room temp or reheated briefly? I think this would be great for Thanksgiving too but it would be even better if it could be prepated ahead to free up the oven and time.
Yes! That’s exactly what I would recommend. Room temp is great. The dressing will keep in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
thanks – I’m going to try it this TG. I love your site – your photos are absolutely gorgeous!
I’m thrilled to hear it! Have a wonderful celebration. Thank you so much.
I definitely need to add this to my salad rotation! So gorgeous!!
Thank you Rachel.