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! 

kale salad with delicata squash, cranberries, goat cheese and spiced pecans

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.

a side angle of kale salad

How To Serve The Thanksgiving Salad

To serve this as a plated first cours, 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. 

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Lacinato Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash, Chevre, Dried Cranberries and Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Thanksgiving Salad

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 entree salads 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: roasting
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Meanwhile, toss kale with dressing in a large bowl.
  5. 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.

Notes

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.


Nutrition

  • 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