This simple fall salad packs a ton of seasonal flavor and nutrition into one dish. It’s festive enough for dinner parties, while still low-key for weeknight meals. It would even be a lovely Thanksgiving side salad!
This salad is great to make in different ways, for instance I’ve made it with chopped dates instead of cherries, with butternut squash instead of Kabocha, and also without eggplant. I love to use this recipe as a base and then have fun with it!
Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Dried Cherries, and Walnuts
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Grain-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free (see notes at bottom)
For the Salad:
1 Cup Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cubed
1 Cup Roasted Eggplant, Cubed
1/4 Cup Dried Unsweetened Cherries
1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts, Chopped
1 Small Bunch of Kale, Washed, Stemmed, and Chopped to Bite-size Pieces (with a knife or using a food processor)
1/2 – 1 TB Hemp Seeds (optional, but gives a wonderful nutty, creamy feel)
Lemon Juice and Salt for Massaging the Kale
For the Apple Cider Vinegar Dijon Dressing:
2 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TB Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spritz of Lemon
A Drop of Sweetener (I used one drop of coconut nectar, I think maple syrup or honey would work well – it’s simply to bring out flavors)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
The trick to getting tender kale is massaging the chopped kale with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt for as long as you can stand. For more information, see the Notes. For best results, massage the kale and let it soften for several hours or overnight in the fridge.
Roast the eggplant and squash. My favorite way is to slice the eggplant and halve and de-seed the squash, rub with olive oil and Salt & pepper, and roast at 400 degrees until tender. I like to do this during the weekend or at the beginning of the week during the rest of my food prep, so that everything is already done and ready to throw into a salad.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or combine them into a glass jar. I love to re-use small glass jelly jars to make dressings as you simply shake up to combine and then you can store the dressing easily in the fridge to use throughout the week.
Add all of the salad ingredients together and toss to combine. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts or hemp seeds. Enjoy!
– For more information on the benefits and how-to’s of massaging kale, check out this post from In Sonnet’s Kitchen.
– Sometimes kabocha squash can be hard to find — if you can’t find kabocha squash, try butternut squash.
– If you’d like this salad to be sugar-free, simply omit adding any sweetener to the dressing and make sure the dried fruit you use is unsweetened (which is why I use unsweetened dried cherries).
– I recommend Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar as it’s organic, raw, and contains “the Mother” which is seen as beneficial for health. You can find Bragg’s in most health food stores or here: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw — 16 fl oz Each / Pack of 2
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