I’ve got it, friends: the perfect winter side dish to serve at upcoming holiday feasts! It’s this kale and butternut squash salad with orange vinaigrette, and it’s just as flavorful as it sounds. Plus, it is oh-so festive and beautiful. I can guarantee that you’ll want this on your dinner table this holiday season.
While this salad takes a bit of prep, it is worth every second and can even be prepared ahead of time too. The other good news is that while the squash is roasting, you can work on all the other elements of the salad. The most complicated part is definitely deseeding the pomegranate, but if desired, you can buy (and pay extra, of course) a container of fresh pomegranate seeds. I have found that this method works best for getting the seeds out and the only tweak I make is quartering the pomegranate in the bowl of water before I thwack it. It exposes the seeds more and they pop out easier. A fresh pomegranate yields way more seeds than those little containers and it’s gratifying to do it yourself too!
There are just so many things I love about this beauty of a salad. It is all of the following and so much more:
- light, yet satisfying
- full of winter delights
- super fresh
- a sight for sore eyes
- adorned with beautiful little jewels (aka pomegranate seeds)
- pairs with nearly any protein
- can be made ahead of time
- doesn’t get soggy and retains its shape
I hope you decide to serve this beauty at your holiday gatherings this season. It’s not only gorgeous and flavorful, but a conversation piece too (at least I think so).
Lastly, catch me making this recipe on Portland’s KATU Afternoon Live HERE.
Cheers and enjoy!
This kale and butternut squash salad with orange vinaigrette is a perfect festive side dish for the holiday season. It features fresh winter produce and pairs well with nearly any protein.
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 bunch curly kale, removed from stems and roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste for roasting squash
- Black pepper, to taste
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced by hand or with a mandoline
- 1/2 cup raw or dry toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 tsp fresh-grated orange zest
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To the pan, add butternut squash cubes, avocado oil, and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside to cool.
Add chopped kale to a large bowl. Sprinkle on the 1/4 tsp sea salt and add a drizzle of olive oil. Then, massage with hands for 2-3 minutes to soften and flavor the kale.
Next, add the thinly sliced fennel, parsley, roasted butternut squash and pecans. Pour the dressing on top (instructions below) and toss to coat. Then gently mix in the pomegranate seeds.
Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously. Alternatively, you can whisk all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Taste and adjust flavor as desired.
This is the easiest way I've found to seed a pomegranate with one catch -- I break the pomegranate into quarters in the water bowl after I pry it open with my hands. It makes the seeds come out even easier when you thwack it with a spoon!
This is a beautiful salad. How far ahead can it be made?
Hi, Sarah! Thank you for the compliment on the salad. I agree on its beauty! Meanwhile, to keep things really fresh, I probably wouldn’t make it more than a day ahead of time. It does hold up really well though — even a couple days later, it still tastes great and isn’t soggy.