I love Thanksgiving food! I love stuffing, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, and lots of gravy. But let’s face it – most Thanksgiving food is brown. You just need to check out the #VeganThanksgiving hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see just how drag the meal can look.
This Holiday Kale Salad is full of colors – green kale, orange roasted squash, and bright red pomegranate seeds – so it’s definitely Instagram worthy. With all of those colors come lots of nutrients. Kale, butternut squash, and pomegranate seeds are all loaded with lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients – nutrients you might not find in all of that brown food.
The Maple-Mustard Dressing is loaded with nutrients, too, as I’ve used hemp seeds as the base. Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and they’re a good source of Vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. And this dressing is delicious, if I do say so myself. You may want to make a double batch of it, so you smother the rest of your meal in it.
I’ve added spiced roasted pecans to this salad for a little crunch, and because they’re also very nutrient-dense. These roasted pecans are so you go may want to make extra so you can snack on them later. (I have to stop myself from eating them all whenever I make this salad!)
While this kale salad is a terrific dish to serve on Thanksgiving, it also makes an excellent light autumn meal. It’s perfect for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, especially if you over-indulged a little too much the day before. With its red and green color theme, it’s a great dish to serve on Christmas, too.
Holiday Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing
For the Salad
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 bunch kale stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 cups)
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
For the Dressing
- ½ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, toss the butternut squash together with 1 teaspoon of oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and pepper.
- Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s tender and has browned around the edges. Flip the pieces at about the halfway point. Remove the baking sheet, and lower the oven to 300°.
- In the same bowl, toss the pecans with the remaining oil, the remaining salt, garlic powder, and mustard powder.
- Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet and bake at 300° for 8-10 minutes, stirring the nuts at the halfway point. Be sure to keep an eye on them, because they could burn quickly!
- Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Place the kale in a large bowl and pour on half of the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale until the kale begins to soften. Don’t over-massage it, or it will become too mushy.
- Toss in the pecans, pomegranate seeds, and roasted squash. Drizzle on the remaining dressing.
If you enjoyed this Holiday Kale Salad, you may also like these dishes:
- Creamed Kale
- Spinach-Mushroom Polenta Stuffing
- Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots and Toasted Pistachios
- Green Bean Casserole