I'm absolutely obsessed with this roasted butternut squash and kale salad. It is the epitome of fall in a salad and combines the goodness of kale, butternut squash, roasted chickpeas, mushrooms, apples, pecans and pumpkin seeds. I mean, what's more FALL than that?!
While my Peach Salad with Avocado is my go-to salad in the summer, this roasted butternut squash and kale salad is my ultimate fall salad.
The crunchiness of the roasted chickpeas and sliced apple pairs nicely with the chewiness of the kale and mushrooms and the creaminess of butternut squash and goat cheese. The maple lemon vinaigrette brings out the sweetness of the cinnamon roasted butternut squash.
This is a great salad to make for lunches for the week, or if you're trying to please a crowd at your next fall or holiday dinner.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients
- Kale. Kale is the holy grail of healthy food in the 21st century, but for good reason! It's packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Roasted butternut squash. Butternut squash tastes delicious and is super nutritious. It is loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants like beta-carotene.
- Roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas provide not only crunch in this salad, but also fiber and plant-based protein.
- Mushrooms. I'm a huge fan of mushrooms and eat them at least once a week. Roasting mushrooms infuses a ton of flavor and thyme pairs so well with them in this recipe.
- Green apple. Green apple provides a nice tart taste to balance the sweetness of the butternut squash and the maple lemon vinaigrette.
- Pumpkin seeds and Pecans. Talk about something I also have on hand in the fall. Pumpkin seeds and pecans are so delicious in fall dishes and also provide healthy fats!
- Goat cheese. Goat cheese is a delicious and creamy addition to this salad.
- Maple lemon vinaigrette. This is a refreshing and light dressing that just completes the salad. The maple pairs so well with the fall flavors in the salad.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
Start roasting! This recipe involves a lot of roasting, so I would get started on that right away. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
First, start by peeling and chopping the butternut squash. Since this is such a time-consuming process, I like to buy a large butternut squash, roast it and use it throughout the week. Since this takes the longest amount of time to roast, I like to get it in the oven right away while I work on the other ingredients. Place the chopped butternut squash on a sheet covered with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and mix well. Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While the squash is in the oven, get the chickpeas and mushrooms ready. If you're using canned chickpeas, drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas. Cut the mushrooms into quarters. Use half of a parchment-covered sheet for the chickpeas and the other half for the mushrooms. Drizzle olive oil and salt on both. Sprinkle dried chili on the chickpeas and thyme on the mushrooms. Roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes and the mushrooms for 12 minutes.
While everything is roasting, make the dressing, chop and massage the kale, and thinly slice the apple. Since the apple browns quickly, I like to save this step for last.
When you're ready to serve, mix the kale, butternut squash, mushrooms, chickpeas, sliced apple. Top with pumpkin seeds or pecans, goat cheese, and drizzle the dressing on top.
How to Massage Kale
Massaging kale is key to making it taste good! I can't tell you how many times I've had kale that hasn't been massaged and it's such a clear difference! It's super important not to skip this step if you want your kale to taste delicious.
After chopping the kale, place it in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon (½ lemon) of lemon juice and 1 tsp olive oil to the kale.
Start massaging! Rub the olive oil and lemon juice into the kale with your hands. Do this for a few minutes until the kale starts to get softer and darker.
Kale Salad Meal Prep
This salad also makes a great meal prep option. Just a few things to note:
- The chickpeas are best served day-of for peak crispiness, but are still delicious the next day.
- Since the apples brown quickly, it might be best to slice them the day you are serving the salad or rub lemon juice on them.
- If you're saving the salad for another day, don't drizzle the salad dressing until you're ready to eat.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
- 14.5 oz (1 can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided (+1 tsp for kale)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp thyme
- salt (to taste)
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (½ lemon, squeezed)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds or pecans (or both)
- 1 tbsp goat cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 medium granny smith apple, cored and sliced
For the Maple Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cinnamon, and salt. Spread out on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until soft and golden. Flip halfway through.
- Toss chickpeas with ½ tablespoon olive oil, chili powder, and salt. Spread out on half of the other baking sheet. Toss mushrooms with ½ tablespoon olive oil, thyme, and salt. Spread out on the other half of the second baking sheet.
- Roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes or until crispy. Roast mushrooms for 12 minutes
- Massage kale with 1 tsp olive oil and lemon juice in a large bowl.
- In the bowl, add butternut squash, chickpeas, mushrooms, pecans, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and sliced apples and mix in with kale.
For the maple lemon vinaigrette:
- Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and mix well.