Harvest Kale Salad with Squash, Pomegranate, Feta and a Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

Red Kale, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Feta Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette |www.kiwiandbean.com

We need to talk about this whole Canadian Thanksgiving thing. It totally snuck up on me this year. I have barely packed away the kids’ summer clothes, and I’m still enjoying the last of the summer tomatoes and the occasional cob of corn and BOOM, you expect me to cook a turkey?  Really?

Yes really, Sarah. See those red leaves? Those boots on your feet? It’s October. Get with the program.

Red Kale, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Feta Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette |www.kiwiandbean.com

When it dawned on me this past weekend that Thanksgiving—and Thanksgiving dinner more precisely—was a mere 7 days away, I contemplated doing away with the traditional turkey dinner and bringing in a new Thanksgiving culinary custom for my little family: spaghetti and turkey meatballs, or maybe a barbecued beef tenderloin with a side of mashed potatoes. I can do that, right?

But this year I’m expecting a special guest at my Thanksgiving table—a cousin who is in his first year of university at a school not far from here. And one month into a degree in astrophysics (yup, my people are smart) what you need more than anything else is a big beautiful made-with-love turkey dinner spread. Spaghetti and turkey meatballs, as delicious as they might be, just won’t cut it.

So my turkey order is in and I’m combing through my recipe collection for some simple but impressive sides.

Red Kale, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Feta Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette |www.kiwiandbean.com

If you are doing the same (or if you are already planning your American Thanksgiving feast — good on ya!), then you might want to bookmark/Pin/print this salad recipe. A big salad is not a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, maybe, but I always find it to be a welcome one next to the heavier mashed, smashed and squashed ones.

This particular salad is packed with the best of fall: hardy greens, sweet squash, juicy pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds and a maple-spiked vinaigrette. The recipe is pretty flexible, so you can use whatever looks fresh and inviting at your grocery store or farmer’s market. I love the colour and texture of red kale, but green or black kale will work too. Cubed acorn squash or thinly sliced delicata squash could substitute for the butternut. And if you have trouble finding a pomegranate you could throw in some sliced gala apple or dried cranberries. I sometimes add cubed avocado too, if I can get my hands on a decent one—I find they are hit and miss at this time of year.

If you have small people at your Thanksgiving table, and unless they are into raw kale (my kids don’t have the jaw strength or a taste for it just yet), you might want to reserve some of the squash, pomegranate arils and vinaigrette to serve them a “deconstructed” version.

Red Kale, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Feta Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette |www.kiwiandbean.com

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Finally: Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers. I hope you have lots to be thankful for, as I do, and that whether you are eating turkey or spaghetti, you are blessed with the company of family and friends to share it with.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Harvest Kale Salad with Squash, Pomegranate, Feta and a Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 bunch of red kale
  • Sea salt
  • The arils (small red seeds) from one small pomegranate (see note)
  • ½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, arrange in a single layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast until the squash is fork-tender and golden brown (30-40 minutes). Let cool.
  2. While the squash is roasting, destem the kale (cut it away from the woody stems), and then cut it into thin ribbons. Put the ribbons into a large salad bowl or rimmed serving platter, sprinkle with sea salt, and use your hands to massage the kale by squeezing it firmly. You want to repeat this rub-down several times, in order to break down the tough leaf fibres to make the kale more palatable and silky.
  3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small mason jar and shake until very combined.
  4. Toss the kale with the dressing, and sprinkle the roasted squash, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds and feta overtop.
Notes
To remove the arils from the pomegranate, do this: http://www.karisann.com/2011/12/how-to-remove-pomegranate-arils-seeds.html

 

22 Responses to Harvest Kale Salad with Squash, Pomegranate, Feta and a Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

  1. cheri November 21, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Beautiful salad, perfect for the time of year. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  2. Thalia @ butter and brioche November 12, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    Yes to kale salad! I LOVE this recipe and how healthy it is. Vibrant too!

    • Sarah November 14, 2015 at 8:02 am #

      Healthy, vibrant, kale-filled and delicious! All good things :-)

  3. Molly November 12, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    This looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it :)

    -Molly
    apolloandluna.com

    • Sarah November 14, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      Hope you do Molly! Thanks for stopping in!

  4. Linda | The Baker Who Kerns November 12, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    Ooo! I love all the colors in this dish! And don’t worry there are many of us who still haven’t gotten with the problem so to say.

    • Sarah November 14, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      Ha ha! Thanks, Linda!

  5. Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog October 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    I love how fresh and delicious this salad looks!

  6. sarah October 12, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I just found this through Aimee and it’s just the kind of salad I’m looking for. Here’s a tip to keep it really local: We’ve been feasting on autumn berries this fall. They taste very similar to pomegranate and are wild (in fact their invasive) all over New England where I live and many parts of the country.

    They are incredibly nutritious and delicious – and are ripe this time of year. Go forage some!

  7. Liz @ Floating Kitchen October 11, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Just found your blog via Aimee. Everything is gorgeous and I’m so happy to be here. Love this salad – it’s right up my alley! Cheers!

    • Sarah October 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Liz — thanks for stopping by. Excited to check out your little corner of cyberspace too :-).

  8. Amanda | The Cinnamon Scrolls October 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    This looks absolutely amazing and gorgeous! I love all the colours and all the healthy, tasty ingredients. Will definitely be needing something like this after this weekend. Thanks for sharing, and have a lovely holiday with your family. :)

  9. Heidi @ Food Doodles October 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    First of all, you are not alone! Thanksgiving totally snuck up on me too, it’s still so warm here so I keep thinking it can’t be that late in the year. Anyways, second, I loooove lighter non traditional sides like this. And this one looks wonderful! I love the pom arils, so pretty :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Katrina October 9, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Everything about this dish just looks and sounds incredible!

  11. Jo-Anna October 9, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    This salad looks amazing…so full of goodness! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  12. Nicoletta @ sugarlovespices October 9, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I love this salad, every ingredient of it!

  13. janet @ the taste space October 9, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    Happy Thanksgiving. It snuck up on me this year, too. It is only a few days away and I am not sure what I will make. This looks like a solid idea, though.

  14. Amanda October 9, 2015 at 7:05 am #

    Just the inspiration I was after. I starting dreaming up a salad featuring squash for this Thanksgiving weekend’s family dinner after I picked up a butternut and buttercup squash at the local farmers’ market. I was thinking cranberries but love the idea of tossing in some pomegranate arils. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. Sandi (@sandigtweets) October 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Beautiful salad. I love the combination of pomegranate and squash.

  16. Aimee @ Simple Bites October 7, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving!! I’m pumped. :)

    Gorgeous salad! I’m thinking this will need to make the menu after the excess of the holiday weekend.

    • Sarah October 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Lucky guests that get to dine at your table :-).

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