Harvest Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Maple-Cider Dressing


Here’s what I know about kale. It is hardy. It stands up to a greater breadth and depth of temperature, seasons and wind than any other vegetable in our garden. It thrives far longer (it continued to spill its harvest into the frigid mornings of mid-November.) It nourishes and satiates. It gives and weathers and feeds. And it needs little sustenance in return. Talk about a superfood with super powers! What I also know about kale is that I’ve been eating it for FAR longer than it has been basking in the glowing light of superfood status. My grandmother, aunts and mom have been growing and using kale in their kitchens for as long as I can remember. And while I don’t think they ever imagined its dominance as the queen of greens, they certainly knew its value. Easy to grow. Easy to cook. Easy to transform.



Onto this glowing recipe. Kale salad is nothing new. I’ve been making versions and incarnations of it for many years. Sometimes as the star player and sometimes as a companion to other greens. This salad though is all about the kale. It is home-grown kale paired with classic autumn ingredients to create a hearty, addictive and delicious appetizer or meal. I do highly recommend massaging the kale for this dish. Yup, that sounds ridiculous, I know. But really, it makes a difference. If you’ve ever had dry, woody kale in your salad you will appreciate this step. And doesn’t this hard working produce staple deserve a little R and R?? You’re welcome kale.


The first few times I made this recipe I used delicata squash which works beautifully. But as luck would have  it, delicata was nowhere to be found on my grocery expedition this time. So butternut squash played the perfect understudy. And really any squash or pumpkin would do. I do love serving this salad with the squash still warm from the oven. The warmth is a great foil for the kale and sets off the zingy dressing nicely, but room temperature is just fine. Straight from the fridge the next day works too. And yes, this salad is the kind you can eat as leftovers, nothing gets soggy!


I usually serve all the ingredients layered on a large platter or wide, shallow bowl with the dressing on the side so people can drizzle on as much as they want but feel free to do the drizzling yourself. Or just mix all the salad ingredients with the dressing. This recipe  might make more dressing than you will need but that’s not a bad  thing. It’s perfect on other greens or roasted veggies.

A hearty, warm, vibrant salad to nourish and chase away the impending winter blahs. Oh, I should say this recipe makes a pretty hefty  party sized salad. So you can always halve the quantities to make a smaller amount. But like I said, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days with nothing to worry about. And then change it up with some cooked quinoa or millet, or alongside a spicy soup or stew.

Harvest Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad + Creamy Maple-Cider Dressing

vegan, soy-free, gluten-free

Makes a party sized salad

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients for the salad:

2 bunches of kale, washed, ribs removed, chopped into bite sized pieces (about 12 cups)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)

2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

1  Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1.5 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

1 batch of creamy maple-cider dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl drizzle the kale with one tablespoon of olive oil and the apple cider vinegar. Gently squeeze and massage the kale until thoroughly coated with the oil and vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Place the squash on the baking sheet, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil, all  of the maple syrup, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cloves, and toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer and roast for about 35-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking time. Squash should be cooked through and browned around the edges.
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add pumpkin seeds and toast until starting to turn golden and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently so that they don’t  burn. Transfer onto a plate and let cool.
  5. To assemble the salad, place the massaged kale onto a platter or bowl, top with toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and roasted squash. Drizzle or toss with about 1/2-3/4 of the dressing and serve with extra dressing on the side.

Ingredients for the dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

2 Tablespoons tahini

1 clove of garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

6-8 Tablespoons water


  1. Combine all ingredients and 6 tablespoons of the water in a blender and  blend on high until emulsified. Add extra water as needed to achieve a pourable consistency.


Supercharged Detox Tabbouleh

So this is my version of a detox regime. No juice fasts, no diet pills, no starvation stints. Just good, wholesome food bursting with simple ingredients and fresh, bright flavours.

Traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur, parsley, tomato, onion, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Here is my version. Revved up.


Supercharged Detox Quinoa Tabbouleh

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch of kale, stalks removed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, large stalks removed
  • 1 fennel bulb, trim off fronds and stalks, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted, your choice)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (about 6-7 green onions), white and green parts finely sliced
  • 6-7 campari tomatoes or 3 regular sized ones, diced
  • 8 Tablespoons lemon juice*
  • 8 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • Several good grindings of black pepper

Tabbouleh 2

First add the quinoa to about 5 cups of boiling water. Boil, uncovered for 10-11 minutes. When quinoa is cooked, drain in a fine mesh colander or sieve, rinse well with cold water and let drain well…this might take a few minutes (no watery salad please!).

Meanwhile prep the veggies. Here is where a food processor becomes your best friend (although I suppose you could chop the veg finely with a good old knife if need be).

Put 2-3 handfuls of kale into the processor at a time and pulse each batch 5-6 times (more or less depending on your model). Repeat this until all the kale is finely chopped (empty the processor contents into a large bowl in between batches). Repeat with the parsley and the fennel and add these to your large bowl. You can add the sunflower seeds whole, but I coarsely chopped them in the food processor. Add the seeds, along with the green onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh ground pepper (to taste) to the bowl and mix well.

Add the drained quinoa to the rest of the ingredients, mix again and adjust the seasonings (add more lemon juice, olive oil and pepper to your liking). I skipped the salt in this recipe because I didn’t think it needed it.

This makes a HUGE bowl of salad. I can’t even estimate the number of servings. But it keeps well in the fridge for a good 4-5 days, although you might have to add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil along the way. Share with your friends, your coworkers, whoever….I also found this to be a great topping for squash soups and such (really!), wrapped up in a tortilla or pita with some hummus or guacamole, or added to a green salad.

I can’t even begin to tell you the nutrient power this salad packs. Iron, a whole slew of vitamins like A, C, K (might as well throw the whole alphabet in there), fibre, protein, antioxidants, body-oxygenating chlorophyll….this combo has it all!

Enjoy and feel the glow from the inside out.


You could certainly use fresh lemon juice here but I recently discovered Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice. I love it because it doesn’t contain preservatives like other brands of bottled lemon juice…also I don’t run into the problem of having to guiltily toss pitiful, shriveled up citrus fruit that has been languishing in my fruit basket when I forget to use them in time.

I keep the kale, parsley and fennel trimmings (provided they’re in good shape) for vegetable stock. I stash these goodies in a freezer bag in the fridge or freezer and keep adding to this “stock” pile….hehehe pun totally intended….until I have enough for stock.