Harvest Kale Salad

My good friend Jillian has been visiting since Saturday, and it has been a wonderful few days spent laughing, shopping, cooking and eating. I had numerous recipes pinned for her visit because she will eat just about anything (other than coconut), so it’s really fun to try new recipes with her.

On Sunday, we spent the whole afternoon preparing a colorful, elaborate dinner to enjoy and it was a blast. We prepared this salad, along with a paleo spaghetti squash pizza bake that is hands-down going into my weeknight rotation. Jillian had mentioned she hadn’t made a pie from scratch before, so we visited a local apple orchard for some fresh, crisp apples and checked that off her bucket list with a perrrrrfect apple pie to complete our dinner.

I love all the different elements in this salad that lend a bunch of color, texture, and flavor. The roasted delicata squash is warm and sweet, which contrasts the crunchy, spiced, roasted pecans perfectly. I added pomegranate seeds for bright juicy bursts of color and flavor, but you could easily substitute them out for apple or pear slices.

This maple tahini vinaigrette is my go-to salad dressing because it tastes good on everything! It is creamy and full of flavor, packing a tiny hint of heat with the cayenne pepper. It’s an especially delicious addition to this salad.

This salad was the perfect side dish for our savory and filling main dish, but would be perfect as an entree salad topped with salmon or grilled chicken.

Harvest Kale Salad

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes

For the salad:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 delicata squash, seeded and cut into half moons
Pinch sea salt
1/2 C pecan halves
2 T tamari or soy sauce
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/3 C pomegranate seeds

For the Maple Tahini Vinaigrette:

1/3 C tahini
2 T pure maple syrup
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t garlic powder
1/16 t cayenne powder (just a tiny pinch!)
1/4 t smoked paprika
Sea salt & pepper to taste
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 C water


In a large mixing bowl, toss kale with a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice. Gently massage kale with clean hands, then set aside.

Preheat oven to 415°. Toss delicata squash half moons with 1 T olive oil and salt, then arrange in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until nicely golden brown, flipping pieces over halfway through baking. Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven to 350° and toast pecan halves for 5-7 minutes on small baking sheet until fragrant. Remove from oven, and toss with tamari, cinnamon and smoked paprika.  

Assemble salad by plating marinated kale on a large plate or salad bowl. Arrange roasted delicata squash half moons on top, followed by roasted pecans and pomegranate seeds.

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over salad. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tip** Unlike most other salads, this salad can be dressed and still enjoyed the next day without wilting. Hearty kale won’t change much in texture, so feel free to make extra for lunch tomorrow!


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