Skip to main content

Winter Kale Salad

This hearty winter kale salad brings all the vibes of the season! This brightly colored green and red salad has all the pretty hues.

With tender baby kale, sweet roasted butternut squash, tart dried cranberries, and creamy avocado, this is a winter salad idea I can get firmly behind.

I love this winter kale salad recipe so much because, well, one, it’s absolutely freaking delicious! But it’s also super flexible and can be made vegan, vegetarian, or meaty – and every variation is so tasty.

So if you’re looking for green salad recipes for winter, start here! You’ll love this one.

Table of Contents

The Story Behind The Recipe
Winter Kale Salad Ingredients
How to Make It
Tips for Avoiding a Soggy Salad
More Winter Salad Ideas

The Story Behind The Recipe

This recipe came to Kitchen Treaty during a time when I was feeling frustrated by my limitations – I was having to eat dairy-free and wasn’t yet comfortable creating 100% plant-based recipes.

So I asked around, and by a mad stroke of luck, two incredible food bloggers agreed to share recipes here on Kitchen Treaty every month or so – Gina, and, for this recipe, Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny created some serious salad deliciousness.

Every time I make this salad, I have to force myself to stop eating it – it’s that good!

Winter Kale Salad Ingredients

Baby kale: This plate of deliciousness is made with baby kale because I personally find it to be a bit easier to eat for salads. If you wanted to you use regular curly kale it’s still totally doable, but you might want to give it a little massage first.

Roasted butternut squash

Dried cranberries


Hard boiled eggs


Blue cheese

And for the dressing, we have:

Olive oil: Because every good vinaigrette starts with olive oil!

Red wine vinegar

Meyer lemon juice: Meyer lemons bring the wintertime vibes and are a little sweeter than traditional lemons. But you can use regular lemon juice too!

Dijon mustard


Salt and pepper

How to Make It

First, roast the butternut squash. While it’s cooking, you can work on chopping your other winter salad ingredients.

Then, mix your vinaigrette dressing right in your big salad-mixing bowl.

Add the veggies to the salad bowl and top with the butternut squash. Toss well to incorporate the dressing, then top with hard-boiled eggs, chicken, tofu, and/or any other protein you like!


Amp up the protein. If you prefer a little more protein with your salads you can also add more eggs or dice up some marinated baked tofu. Or, if you’re a carnivore, some crispy fried bacon pieces and some grilled chicken.

Go flexitarian! This winter kale salad can be made One Dish, Two Ways style by separating it into individual servings and topping the carnivores’ portions with sliced chicken.

Try a different winter squash. So many winter squashes lend themselves to roasting and would be amazing in this salad. Kabocha, buttercup, or delicata would be great, especially because they’re small and roasting one would be just about perfect for the quantities in this salad. Pumpkin would be excellent too! I’m partial to Long Island Cheese Pumpkin.

Cook the eggs differently. This winter salad would be so excellent with soft-boiled or even poached eggs in lieu of the hard-boiled eggs.

Tips for Avoiding a Soggy Salad

Now I know in the pictures the salad is perfectly dressed and everything is perfectly placed BUT in real life I do not make a salad like this. In real life it all gets tossed together so every single bite is sure to have some sort of deliciousness hanging out in it. So here is my little tip just to make sure you don’t get a soggy overdressed salad:

Make your dressing right in your large salad bowl

Throw in your greens and then top with all your other ingredients as they cook and cool.

When you’re finally ready to eat the salad, THEN toss quickly and serve.

That way you don’t try dress the salad too early and make it soggy OR make the salads and try to toss the dressing on the plate. (This method is also great for dinner parties!)

More Winter Salad Ideas

I love these green salad recipes for winter:

Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad with Almonds

Rainbow Kale Salad brings all the colors!

This simple fall salad is marketed for autumn but a great fit for winter too

This Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado & Chickpeas is another one of my faves.


Winter Kale Salad

Roasted butternut squash, avocado, baby kale, and cranberries join together for a hearty winter salad that can be customized in so many different ways.
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword kale
Prep Time 20 minutes minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes minutes
Total Time 40 minutes minutes
Servings 4
Calories 574kcal
Author Kare


For the roasted butternut squash:

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed cut into 1/2-inch chunks; from about 1/4 of a medium butternut squash2 teaspoons olive oil1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad dressing:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice can substitute plain lemon juice1 teaspoon honey1 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 small clove garlic, minced about 1/2 teaspoonPinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste1/2 cup olive oil

For the salad:

5 ounces baby kale washed and driedPrepared roasted butternut squash1 avocado cubed1 apple cored and cubed (Fuji is great in this salad)1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese1/3 cup dried cranberries4 hard-boiled eggs peeled and halved

Optional toppings:

Grilled chicken slicedCrispy bacon crumbledMarinated tofu cubed


Roast the butternut squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Add butternut squash to the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Toss to evenly coat the squash. Roast until soft and slightly golden in color, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before putting on the salad.

Make the salad dressing

In a large salad bowl (the one you will use for serving) add vinegar, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk together until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and combined. Taste the dressing and add more kosher salt and pepper if desired.

Assemble the salad

Top the dressing with the baby kale, butternut squash, avocado, apple, blue cheese, and cranberries. Toss to combine and make sure all ingredients are evenly coated. Top with eggs and serve.


Meat option:

Add slices of grilled chicken or cooked crumbled bacon. Or both.

Dairy-free option:

Omit the blue cheese.

Vegan option:

Omit the blue cheese and eggs. Add cubed marinated tofu and/or vegan feta. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 726mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 9609IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 243mg | Iron: 2mg

Originally published Feb. 29, 2016.

The post Winter Kale Salad appeared first on Kitchen Treaty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.