Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

This vibrant roasted butternut squash salad features kale, dried cranberries and roasted walnuts in an easy balsamic dressing.

As you may or may not know, I love kale. It’s loaded with good-for-you nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and K, and a host of antioxidants.  I’ll add kale to just about any dish, but I think salads are where kale really shines.

Holiday Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash on a serving plate with a serving spoon.

This recipe is basically vintage at this point! I made it in 2012 for a Thanksgiving party and it was such a hit that I shared it on the blog. Since then, the photos have gotten a few face lifts, but the recipe has stayed the same.

Butternut Squash Salad Ingredients

  • lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale) – I love using lacinto kale in this recipe! If you’re not a huge fan of kale, I recommend starting with lacinto kale. It’s a little more mild tasting in my opinion!
  • spring mix 
  • dried cranberries – These add just the right amount of sweetness to this salad!
  • kalamata olives
  • raw walnuts – you could use any type of nut you’d prefer but I really love walnuts in this salad.
  • bell pepper – any color will do. I like using red, orange or yellow.
  • butternut squash – if you’re not a fan of butternut squash, you could also use roasted sweet potatoes here.
  • olive oil 
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper

Holiday Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash on a serving plate with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash

The first step of this recipe is to make the roasted butternut squash. This step takes the longest so be sure to start this first!

Start by preheating your oven to 400ºF. Cut the bottom of your squash to create a stable base and then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. After peeling, cut off the top of the squash and then cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.

Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes and toss the in olive oil and sea salt. Spread the cubes onto a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking. The butternut squash is ready when all of the pieces are tender and some have brown spots.

Holiday kale salad with nuts, butternut squash, cranberries, and kalamata olives.

Assembling the Salad

Toast walnuts – while the butternut squash is roasting, toast the walnuts on a separate baking sheet for 6-8 minutes in the oven heated to 400ºF. Remove and let cool before chopping into bite sized pieces.

Prep kale – Stack the kale leaves and roll into tight bundles. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolls thinly to create shredded pieces.

Rehydrate cranberries – Pour 1/2 cup of water over the cranberries and leave them to soften until you’re ready to toss the salad. You’ll drain the water before adding the cranberries to the salad.

Make dressing – Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper in your salad bowl.

Assemble – Add all of the salad ingredients to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. Let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. The longer the kale marinates, the softer it will become.

Holiday Kale Salad with roasted butternut squash, olives, walnuts and dried cranberries.

More Kale Salads to Try:

More Healthy Salad Dressing Ideas:

If you make this butternut squash salad be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out for you. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers!

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Kale salad with roasted butternut squash, olives, walnuts and dried cranberries on a white plate. Fork and glass of water in the background.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan


This vibrant roasted butternut squash salad features kale, dried cranberries and roasted walnuts in an easy balsamic dressing.


  • 1 large bunch of Lacinato kale, washed and de-stemmed
  • 2 cups of spring mix
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup of kalamata olives, pitted and cut into slivers
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the squash by peeling it, cutting it in half and scraping out the seeds.
  3. Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes, toss them 1 Tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the cubes onto a baking sheet.
  4. Roast the squash for 30-40 minutes, turning once or twice, until all the pieces are tender and some have brown spots.
  5. While roasting the squash, toast the walnuts on a separate baking sheet for about 6-8 minutes in the 400° oven.
  6. Remove both items from oven when finished cooking and let cool. Once walnuts are cool enough to handle, chop them into bite-size pieces.
  7. While butternut is roasting, stack the kale leaves and roll them into tight bundles, then slice very thinly with a sharp knife to create shredded pieces.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup of water over the cranberries and leave them to soften until you are ready to toss the salad. (Drain before adding to the salad).
  9. In your salad bowl, whisk together dressing by combining olive oil, balsamic, sea salt and pepper. Add all the remaining salad ingredients and toss everything together. Let the salad marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Serve cold or at room temp.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 446
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Sodium: 888mg
  • Fat: 29g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: butternut squash salad

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    1. Serena
      January 14, 2017 AT 9:53 pm

      Just made this salad in my college dorm kitchen (lol) but oh my so delicious!!

    2. Taylor Kiser
      December 5, 2016 AT 6:00 pm

      What a beautiful salad! It will be a great addition to the holiday table! I love kale too and can’t wait to try this!

    3. CYNTHIA
      December 3, 2016 AT 2:58 pm

      Wow!! beautiful salad and beautiful blog!!! It’s been awhile since I visited your website…I have been so busy with school!! Anyways, I do get your emails and fallow you on insta as well.. keep up the good work=) Love what you put out there!!

    4. Charmaine Ng
      December 3, 2016 AT 10:25 am

      I love how colourful it looks! So fall and wintery and warm.
      – Charmaine

    5. allie
      December 3, 2016 AT 8:01 am

      WOW! Gorgeous salad Brittany. Perfect for the colder weather. Love this.

    6. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
      December 2, 2016 AT 1:15 pm

      The salad sounds JUST like a Greek winter salad 🙂 Yum!! And the new pics are beautiful!!

    7. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona
      December 2, 2016 AT 11:42 am

      This looks so good! The walnuts will give it the perfect amount of crunch. And the green and yellow are so pretty together!

    8. Brooke
      March 2, 2013 AT 10:32 am

      This looks great! but for the dressing at the end – should the salad be tossed in both the tbsp of walnut oil and tbsp of olive oil or is the olive oil intended just for the roasting of the squash?

      thank you!

    9. Leah
      November 7, 2012 AT 4:13 pm

      I love kale, too, and am always trying to find food I can make ahead of time. I have a question for you about how you do this. Do you prepare it all and refrigerate it and then bring it to room temp the next day? Thanks!

    10. Alyssa
      December 11, 2011 AT 7:05 pm

      Made your holiday kale salad today with a few substitutions – goat cheese instead of feta, sweet potato instead of squash, and butternut squash seed oil instead of walnut. Still turned out great! Love it!

      1. Eating Bird Food
        December 11, 2011 AT 8:29 pm

        Hi Alyssa, I’m so glad that you liked the kale salad. Goat cheese and sweet potato sound like great substitutions.

    11. sarah (sarah learns)
      December 1, 2011 AT 10:57 am

      we do white lights and our hodge podge of ornaments on our tree, too! i really like the owl ornament. so cute!!

      i really like kale, but have only tried it raw one way (otherwise i just make/burn kale chips). i’ll definitely try one or several of the recipes you suggested!

    12. Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco
      December 1, 2011 AT 1:47 am

      No, your love for kale isn’t strange! I LOVE kale, too! And if loving kale is dorky, then I don’t want to be cool. 😉

    13. Alexa @ SimpleEats
      November 30, 2011 AT 10:36 pm

      Love that owl ornament…so adorable!

    14. KathyG
      November 30, 2011 AT 6:57 pm

      I love butternut squash, but it is such a pain to peel and chop up. Any tips to make this chore easier? THx

      1. Eating Bird Food
        November 30, 2011 AT 11:20 pm

        Hi Kathy. If you’d like you can simply cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast it for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Take it out of the oven and cool, then it’s easier to chop it into cubes. My boyfriend and I do it this way a lot and we even eat the skin, as it gets soft and palatable after cooking. 🙂

        If you’d rather not do it that way, here’s a whole post on how to peel and cut a b-nut squash

        Hope this helps.

        1. KathyG
          December 1, 2011 AT 5:17 pm

          THANKS! I am def. going to try your method! I would have never thought to try that!

    15. Monet
      November 30, 2011 AT 6:56 pm

      Your ornaments are precious! It makes me want to put up a tree. And your kale salad? Delicious as always. Thank you for tempting me with this post. I’m hungry now! I hope you have a lovely end to your week. I can’t believe it is already Thursday! Hugs and love from Austin.

    16. Heather @ For the Love of Kale
      November 30, 2011 AT 11:37 am

      Bless your heart. My kale-dar just exploded. 🙂

    17. Kristina
      November 30, 2011 AT 11:33 am

      I’m always up for some kale – this looks amazing, thanks Brittany!

    18. Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg’s FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate
      November 30, 2011 AT 11:25 am

      Kale is such a versatile and good-for-you food. I really love any food or ingredient that’s easy to prepare, tastes great, and helps you meet your nutritional goals.

    19. Stephanie @cookinfanatic
      November 30, 2011 AT 8:40 am

      This salad looks awesome Britt!! I definitely would like to try it. I am trying to get myself to yoga this Thursday, hopefully I’ll see ya there 🙂 Happy Wednesday!!

    20. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat
      November 30, 2011 AT 8:39 am

      I love kale but it’s hard to find a decent batch at my local store. The tree is beautiful!

    21. Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
      November 30, 2011 AT 8:32 am

      Love the tree! Looks great 🙂

    22. Lauren
      November 30, 2011 AT 6:45 am

      The salad looks great! And so does your tree. We decorated this past weekend as well. It feels so good to have the Christmas spirit take over. 🙂

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