Tender kale, roasted squash, and healthy candied pecans come together with a maple thyme vinaigrette to make this hearty salad. This winter kale salad makes a perfect lunch or dinner during the cold winter months. Not only does this salad pack a lot of flavors but it also packs a lot of nutrition. This salad is a perfect way to get in all those all-natural vitamins!
A healthy winter kale salad
This salad packs so much nutrition and is great for detox! Check out some of the health benefits of some of these amazing ingredients.
- Kale- great for weight loss, rich in antioxidants, and helps to keep your skin healthy. Kale is also very high in vitamin K, C, and A. It is also great for lowering cholesterol!
- Butternut squash- It can help boost the immune system and help to fight inflammation. It can help prevent certain types of cancers. Squash can also help to keep your bones healthy, reduce fatigue, and aid in weight loss.
- Pecans- they can help you to feel full which can help to aid in weight loss. They are a good source of B1, B6, magnesium, and other vital minerals. They support eye health, and regulation of blood sugar!
- ACV– Apple cider Vinegar helps to improve digestion, hair health and blood sugar levels. It can also kill bacteria, reduce acne, and improve heart health!
This salad has other ingredients that are healthy too!
Variations for this recipe
There are several variations of this recipe that would be delicious. Here are some ideas!
- I know this is a “kale” salad, but if your not a kale fan or don’t have any on hand you could use another dark green like spinach or arugula.
- You could easily replace butternut squash in this recipe for sweet potato or acorn squash.
- Trying to ditch the sugar? You can replace the dried cranberries with pomogrante! Make sure not to get sugar-free dried cranberries that means they will have artificial sweetner which is horrible for your health!
- If your not a blue cheese fan, you can replace the blue cheese with goat cheese, feta, or gorgonzola. If you want to make this salad dairy-free you can leave out the cheese altogether. It will still be delicious!
- You could replace the candied pecan with walnuts. I like to make mine quickly in an iron skillet, but they can easily be tossed into the oven on a cookie sheet too!
For other healthy salad recipes, you can also check out:
Winter Kale Salad with a Maple Thyme Vinaigrette
- 7 cups chopped kale drizzled and tossed with 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups diced butternut squash seasoned with 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1/8 tsp of each salt and pepper
- 1 cup pecans roasted with 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1/8 tsp of both salt and cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup blue cheese or feta cheese optional
Maple Thyme Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp of each salt, pepper, and fresh or dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Dice 3 cups of butternut squash and lay onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- While the squash is baking measure out the kale into a big salad bowl. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil, then with your hands massage the oil into the kale leaves. This will help to make the kale tender. Set aside.
- In a small frying pan measure in the pecans. Drizzle the maple syrup over the pecans and season with salt and cinnamon. Over medium-low heat cook pecans stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- On top of the kale add cooled squash, candied pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. Top with maple thyme vinaigrette and serve!
Maple Thyme Vinaigrette
- Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar. Whisk in salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Drizzle over the prepared salad and serve.