It’s time to bring on the hearty loaded salads! If you’re anything like me, salads in the winter or fall are less appealing. I crave all the warm, comforting meals like soups, pastas and anything roasted. This delicious winter kale salad is an exception. With roasted acorn squash and toasted pecans this side salad is winter ready.
I had first sought out to make this salad with delicata squash, but I could not find it anywhere at my local grocery stores. Instead of scouring the markets, I chose to use acorn squash as it is more readily available to most people.
I went with acorn squash for a few reasons:
- It has a similar taste to delicata squash
- You can roast it in a similar way
- They both have edible skins!
Acorn squash, also called pepper squash, is a winter vegetable available in early fall through the winter season. It is rich in many nutrients, including fibre, vitamins & minerals.
Acorn squash is very easy to roast and work with compared to butternut or spaghetti squash. Plus it looks super cute cut into semi-circles (see photo below)!
Ingredients for this Winter Kale Salad
- 2 acorn squashes
- 1 large bunch of Kale
- 1 pomegranate (or about 1 cup if buying pre-seeded)
- Pecans- feel free to sub different nuts here, pistachios or walnuts would work great!
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Ingredients for the White Wine Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Pomegranate juice – I bought a small bottle. You can freeze the leftover juice if you don’t plan to use it right away.
- White wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
If you’re not into making your own salad dressings, this recipe would pair nicely with a balsamic or citrus salad dressing.
Try out my other favourite salad recipe, Apple Cheddar Salad with a delicious Maple Cider Vinaigrette
If you try it out let me know what you think by leaving me a review and star rating. Ratings help others enjoy my recipes as well!
Acorn Squash & Pomegranate Kale Salad
- 2 medium acorn squash
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Pinch salt & pepper
- 1 cup pecans, toasted with a pinch of salt
- 8 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
White Wine Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp pomegranate juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Roast the Acorn Squash
- Start by roasting the acorn squash. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.Rinse the acorn squash under cold water to clean the skin.
- Slice in half lengthwise as shown above. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. (You can save the seeds and roast like pumpkin seeds)
- Next, slice the squash into half-inch strips horizontally (across the short side) as shown above.
- Once the acorn squash is sliced, drizzle with some olive oil. You don't need too much here, about 2 tsp worth of oil. Rub in with your fingers to ensure all sides are coated with oil, then add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together.
- Arrange the squash pieces between the 2 baking sheets evenly. (We are using 2 baking sheets instead of 1 because we want to avoid overcrowding the pieces or they will steam rather than roast)
- Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip each piece over. Return to the oven for an additional 15-18 minutes until each side is golden and soft when pierced with a fork. The skin is edible and it will be soft enough to eat. I like to leave it on, but you can peel it off if you'd like. Cut each piece in half through the middle. Set aside to cool.
Roast the Pecans
- Place the pecans on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for 5 minutes at the same temperature as before until they are roasted and fragrant. Once out of the oven sprinkle with a pinch of salt and set aside to cool.
Make the Salad
- Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and drizzle with about 1 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale with your hands for about 30 seconds-1 minute until the leave appears to have a deeper green colour and they are more tender.
- Top with the pecans, acorn squash pieces, pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta cheese.
Make the Vinaigrette
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- Either mix the vinaigrette into the salad or serve on the side if you anticipate leftovers. Enjoy!
- Store refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days without the vinaigrette mixed in.
- Stored in the refrigerator, the vinaigrette will keep for up to 1 week. The olive oil will harden in the fridge. Allow the vinaigrette to sit at room temperate for 30 minutes before serving for the oil to liquefy again.
- Freeze the leftover pomegranate juice if you don’t plan to use it right away.