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Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Cherries, and Walnuts (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

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!

Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Dried Cherries, and Walnuts

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

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)
Serves 2

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!

Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Dried Cherries, and Walnuts

This salad is also easily customizable to your preferences… in this version, I used roasted butternut squash and chopped dates instead of cherries.

– 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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This post has been shared with Healthy Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Tips and Tricks Tuesday, Gluten-free Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not, Gluten-free Wednesdays, Allergy-free Wednesdays, Wellness Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank your body Thursday, Gluten-free Fridays, The Weekend Retreat, Real Food Fridays, Wellness Weekend, Foodie Friday, TGIF, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Whole Food Fridays, Fight Back Fridays, Gluten-free Recipe Round-up, and fast and Easy Paleo recipes.


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  1. So interesting to learn about massaging the kale! This is totally new to me and I want to try it! Thanks so much for linking up at Tips and Tricks Tuesday!
    Kristin recently posted…Tips and Tricks Tuesday #14My Profile

  2. This sounds great! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for linking up at Tips and Tricks Tuesday!
    Kristin recently posted…My Birthday – One Year LaterMy Profile

  3. I just discovered kale salad this week and I’m so hooked. Can’t wait to try!
    Samantha recently posted…Mango Chicken MeatballsMy Profile

  4. Sounds like a hearty and healthy salad. :) Thanks for sharing at the hop, Alexandra.

  5. Beautiful! I want to make this! I want to eat this! Thanks!

  6. That looks so good. I will leave out the eggplant though. I’m sure it’s fine without it.

    • Thanks, Rogene! I appreciate you stopping by. It works absolutely fine without eggplant (I’ve done it without several times and loved it) so feel free to omit. Enjoy!

  7. Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Hope your week is great!

    Cindy from
    Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) recently posted…#glutenfreefridays #66 Share your #gf recipes! #givewaway sponsored by @gfnadabitMy Profile

  8. We are trying to eat more raw foods, what a great salad, love the dressing. Pinned to my healthy eating board, thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays, come back again and share.
    Joyce recently posted…Real Food Fridays #13 Link UpMy Profile

  9. I think I may bring this to our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Wow, it looks so refreshing! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday.
    Adelina Priddis recently posted…Foodie Friday Featuring Melding MagicMy Profile

  10. This looks great, and I’ve got a little festival squash to sub into it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I’ve pinned it :)
    Danielle @ Poor and Gluten Free recently posted…Natural, Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spiced CoffeeMy Profile

  11. Just wanted you to know that your recipe is being featured on Foodie Friday today. I will be pining and tweeting it this week.
    Diane Balch recently posted…Cajun Pumpkin Stew: Andouille Sausage & Shrimp #Foodie FridayMy Profile

  12. Hey there… Happy almost New Year! FYI, I’m using this glorious recipe and one of your images (with credit given to you) for a New Year’s detox I’m hosting on my blog this weekend — I hope that’s okay! Please let me know if you’re NOT okay with me using your photo. Enjoy your New Year’s celebration in your new home!
    Brianne recently posted…Weekend FLASH SALE and Detox!My Profile

    • Yes, that is great, I’m so sorry for the delay! Thanks so much, Brianne! Your post looks awesome. I really appreciate the feature and can’t wait to check it out.


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