Fall in love with baby kale! This baby kale salad has kabocha squash, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and feta with an apple cider vinegar dressing.
Happy October! Did you know that today is National Kale Day? Yup, there’s a holiday for kale. Naturally, I’m here to help you celebrate.
I don’t know that I ever had kale growing up, but now it’s one of my all-time favorite veggies and I have a ton of kale recipes here on EBF. Today I’m adding to the list with a fall harvest salad featuring baby kale and a bunch of my other fall favorites — kabocha squash, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and feta. To top it off, a cinnamon apple cider vinegar dressing. <– You know how much I love my apple cider vinegar. I couldn’t leave it off this salad!
For the kale I used Dole Power Up Greens Baby Kale. I’m a sucker for anything mini or baby size and kale is no exception. While I love regular kale and use it often, baby kale is mild, tender and perfect as a base for salads — no chopping or massaging required.
Since it’s National Kale Day I feel obligated to remind you that kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet — it’s packed with vitamins A, K and C as well as manganese, calcium and potassium. To top it off, a 3 cup serving of kale has only 25 calories but 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber!
I mentioned that the pumpkin spiced pepitas are delicious on salad… well, it’s true and this salad is proof. But really everything just works on this salad. The coconut oil roasted kabocha slices, the pop of sweetness from the dried cranberries, the creamy texture of the feta and the cinnamon spice from the dressing — each bite is packed with deliciousness.
If you haven’t tried kabocha squash, please do yourself a favor and try it soon. It’s totally worth looking around at different grocery stores or your local farmers market to find it. It’s got a creamy texture unlike any other winter squash and you don’t have to peel it because the skin is soft and edible when cooked. If you can’t find it, it’s not a huge deal. You can certainly use butternut squash or buttercup squash for this salad, but seriously, try to find kabocha if you can — it’s my favorite.
The colors and flavors make it lovely for fall. And if your tastebuds are anything like mine, you’re going to LOVE it.
Most salads I post here are meal-sized, but this one seems a bit on the lighter side. You could certainly add some beans or a whole grain to the salad itself to make it a meal or pair it with a cup of soup or protein. If you did smaller portions, it would be great as a starter salad too.
Baby Kale Harvest Salad
- 4 cups baby kale (I used Dole Power Up Greens Baby Kale)
- 1/2 kabocha squash
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pumpkin spiced pepitas
- 1/4 cup feta
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more if needed
- Preheat oven to 375°. Wash the outside of the kabocha squash with warm water. Cut the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds. Cut the squash into 1-inch semicircles.Toss the squash pieces with coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt and spread on a roasting pan. Roast the squash for 15 minutes, remove from oven to toss, then roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until tender and golden.
- While squash is roasting, prepare the dressing but placing all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk until combined, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
- To prepare the salads, place a portion of the baby kale on a plate, top with a portion of cranberries, pepitas and feta. Add the roasted kabocha slices, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.
by Brittany Mullins
This post is sponsored by Dole Salads, but as always opinions are my own.