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.
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!
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
Hard boiled eggs
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!
Salt and pepper
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.
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!)
I love these green salad recipes for winter:
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.
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
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
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
Grilled chicken slicedCrispy bacon crumbledMarinated tofu cubed
Add slices of grilled chicken or cooked crumbled bacon. Or both.
Omit the blue cheese.
Omit the blue cheese and eggs. Add cubed marinated tofu and/or vegan feta.
Originally published Feb. 29, 2016.