This tasty Squash & Kale Autumn Salad is packed full of flavour despite containing just one handful of key ingredients.
The butternut squash roasted in sea salt and thyme works so well with the citrusy kale in this recipe. The addition of the sweet cranberries compliments these flavours perfectly and the toasted pecans add an extra depth of flavour making this a truly delicious yet simple dish.
This is a warm salad meaning it is perfect when the temperature starts to drop and refreshing summer salads packed full of cold and crunchy ingredients are starting to lose their appeal. This is my favourite salad to eat when one half of me wants to get wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire but the other half wants to ensure I am still eating nutrient dense food.
This Autumn salad is made using entirely seasonal ingredients, however, because those ingredients are so widely available all year round it means there are no limits surrounding when you can make this salad. This is incredibly fortunate as, once you try this simple salad recipe you will want to make it very regularly, trust me! If you like the sound of the roasted butternut squash but are not too crazy about the other ingredients used in this recipe why not head over to my Thyme Roasted Butternut Squash recipe which skips straight to it.
I like to add the butternut squash chunks and toasted pecans when both are still hot, however, you could wait until they have cooled before adding them if you desired. As you can eat this cold, it is a great recipe to prepare a batch of and eat for lunch as the week goes on if you do not have access to a microwave at work. Although I did intend this salad to be a lunch recipe, by making a larger portion and adding a chicken substitute this would make a delicious and nutritious evening meal.
The length of time needed to make this recipe may seem excessive given that it is a salad, however, the majority of this time is to roast the butternut squash so you can just pop a timer on and leave it in the oven. If you had limited time you could make a big batch of the roasted squash in advance and store it in your fridge. Having a batch of the butternut squash readily available would whittle the time needed to make this salad down to under ten minutes.
When you are reading the method you will notice I ask you to massage the kale. You might think it is okay to just skip this step but let me tell you I have eaten unmassaged kale and I have eaten massaged kale and there IS a big difference! You will not regret just taking a few minutes to rub the curly kale between your fingers in order to break down the tough, fibrous parts and create a more tender salad.
If you are looking to reduce food waste you may want to keep the seeds to try my Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seeds recipe which you can find here. I think the seeds would actually work really with the flavours in this salad and would be a great addition sprinkled on top of it. You can use up any leftover curly kale by making my ‘Cheesy’ Kale Crisps which you can find here.
If you like my Squash Autumn Salad and are looking for other warm salad recipes you may like my Warm New Potato & Harissa Chickpea Salad recipe which you can find here. For more recipes using Butternut Squash as the star of the show why not try my Butternut Squash & Bacon Risotto, my Curried Butternut Squash Soup or my Smokey Squash & Lentil Bake which you can find here.
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