Colorful, fresh and seasonal, this Fall Harvest Kale Salad will bring everyone to the dinner table!
Naturally vegan and gluten free, this dish will be a crowd-pleaser that everyone can agree on! From the heartiness of lentils to the crunch of pepitas, there’s intrigue in every bite!
The fall season is all about gatherings. As the days get shorter and colder, there’s a natural inclination to fill our lives with the warmth of friends and family. But it’s also a time of year that we can unintentionally slip into unhealthy eating habits. The holidays are synonymous with abundant feasts, mostly of meats, casseroles and desserts.
It’s a culinary pity because so many fruits and vegetables come into season in the fall and early winter months. The possibilities are endless, but I’m hoping to inspire you with this Fall Harvest Kale Salad.
I know kale has been all the rage for a while now. And although it might seem like a passing fad, it really does deserve all the attention. Kale shines this time of year because with a little bit of love, it can survive in the garden into winter. Eating seasonally and locally doesn’t go out of style. It means fresher foods that make it to market faster.
But beyond the fact that it’s seasonal, kale’s bitter notes are a lovely base for a salad full of sweet fruits. Who can resist the fruity pop of pomegranate arils? And oranges are so abundant this time of year! And I have to say it’s November, but I still want to eat everything winter squash! But all those sweet flavors make a one note salad without kale.
We’ve gathered some of these fall harvest ingredients into a holiday worthy kale salad that is tossed in a sweet maple orange dressing. It’s topped with crunchy sliced almonds, dried cranberries and pepitas for an extra pop of flavor. It’s the kind of salad where each bite is different and tickles your taste buds in a new exciting way. Sweet, nutty, tangy, spicy…mmmmmmm!
One of the reasons I love this kale salad is that it’s naturally vegan and gluten free, but not in a way that meat eaters will turn their noses up at! That’s so important in my life because everyone I know is on a different diet! I think most people will find this a dish they can eat without guilt or worry. At the same time, it’s a fall harvest dish that stands out among salads.
The colors pop and the flavors are far from run of the mill, so it will be sure to make lasting memories in addition to full bellies!
Fall Harvest Kale Salad
Fall Harvest Kale Salad
- 1 cup beluga lentils
- 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 bunches kale, washed and chopped
- 4 oranges, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pepitas
Orange Maple Salad Dressing
- 5/8 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Cook lentils according to package instructions
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Place squash, maple syrup and oil on the baking sheet and toss to coat squash.
- Sprinkle the butternut squash with salt and pepper and place in the oven on the top rack.
- Bake until squash is tender.
- On another baking sheet, place sliced almonds.
- Toast almonds in the oven for about 3-5 minutes.
- Combine the orange juice, maple syrup, vinegar, oil, spices and xanthan gum in a blender.
- Pulse dressing until smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss kale, squash, oranges, lentils and pomegranates with a small amount of the dressing.
- Arrange salad on a platter and sprinkle with cranberries, almonds and pepitas.
- Serve with extra dressing on the side.
- 1/8 cup equals 2 tablespoons
- If you don't have a 1/8 teaspoon, a generous pinch will do.
- Here's a video on slicing citrus. You can squeeze a little bit of juice from the orange peels for the salad dressing. You can also candy the peels so nothing is wasted.
- Xanthan gum is a thickening agent. It can be omitted, but the dressing will be very thin.
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