My new favorite kale salad with roasted butternut squash, farro, feta and dried cranberries. Toss with a sweet onion vinaigrette – you will LOVE this kale salad recipe, and probably surprised your friends and family too.
I am ALL about kale salads this time of year. Kale is so versatile and a hearty green that really holds its texture when paired with loads of ingredients; like in this instance, a heavy butternut squash.
This kale and butternut squash salad is my new favorite thing right now. Not only is going to be a wonderful salad to add to your holiday menus, but ALSO a seriously awesome meal prep salad too!
Kale Butternut Squash Salad with farro, feta and cranberries
This is going to be one of those salad recipes that your friends and family may be reluctant to put on their plates, but I’m betting it will surprise them!
I know this firsthand because Mr. FMK always grimaces at anything with the word “kale” in it. Or if he sees there is kale involved he is very skeptical.
But when I put out leftovers from this day’s shoot and he filled up his plate, he said something along the lines of, “I was surprised but that salad was pretty good.”
There ya have it, folks.
Ingredients needed for roasted butternut squash salad with kale
- kale – You can use curly kale, purple kale or lacinato kale. For this kind of salad recipe, I prefer curly kale. TIP: Masaage the kale with EVOO before adding the rest of the salad ingredients.
- butternut squash – Can’t make a butternut squash salad without a butternut squash! Though you could sub another squash if needed.
- farro – I love farro for it’s nutty flavor and chewy texture, but you could also use freekeh, or quinoa if looking for a gluten free alternative.
- feta – One of my favorite cheeses to add to salads! You could also sub goat cheese, or omit if you need a vegan friendly recipe.
- dried cranberries – Adds another layer of texture and sweetness to this salad. You could also sub dried cherries.
- pumpkin seeds (pepitas) – Seeds or nuts are always a great addition to tossed salad. I like pumpkin seeds here (because it’s fall ya’ll) but sunflower seeds could work, as well as walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds.
Now for the dressing…
Usually for these types of salads my go to is my Almond Butter Balsamic Dressing. But I decided to change things up and went with a sweet onion vinaigrette and it was the best decision. You just need
- vidalia onion
- olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- maple syrup
- stone ground mustard
- salt & pepper
All of these ingredients come together for the best butternut squash salad that offers savory soft bites of squash, a little sweetness from the dressing and cranberries, the perfect amount of saltiness from the feta and a little crunch from pepitas.
How to Make a Kale Butternut Squash Salad
Step 1 – Peel & Roast the Squash
To roast a butternut squash, first use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin – I go around twice. Then cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
Use a large sharp knife to cut the squash into about 1.5″ cubes. You should get about 4 cups from a medium butternut squash.
Oil a medium baking sheet and toss the squash. Sprinkle with a little salt and roast for about 20 minutes at 375ºF.
Let the squash cool or place in fridge to chill while you move on to the next steps.
Step 2 – Prepare the Farro
You can prepare the farro a day in advance if you’d like, or prep while the squash is roasting. Just follow the package instructions for how to cook.
I used my Instant Pot and loved that it was hands off so I could focus on other pieces of recipe while the farro was cooking.
NOTE: This salad recipe only requires 1/2 cup uncooked farro, which will equal about 1.5 cups cooked. You can prep a full cup (which is what most package directions will give you) and use some of the farro for this salad, and save the rest for a side, OR have more farro in this salad recipe than what is called for.
Step 3 – Massage the Kale
While the butternut squash is roasting and farro is cooking, the next step is to work on massaging the kale. If you’re new around here or haven’t worked with kale much before, trust me when I say this step is necessary.
Massaging the kale releases the bitterness and because you’ll be massaging with oil, helps with the flavor as well.
Step 4 – Make the dressing
Step 5 – Toss the salad
Once the rest of the ingredients are prepped, everything gets tossed together and you have yourself a delicious kale butternut squash salad ready for anything!
Preparing this salad recipe ahead of time
You can prepare this salad recipe up to 1 day in advance, covering the container with a lid and storing in the refrigerator. It’s okay to pour on the dressing here as well because the flavors will intensify through the kale and squash.
You can also prep the ingredients separately ahead of time, chill, then combine the morning of if you prefer.
Making this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and review below! I love hearing from you and it helps others learn about the recipe too. Xx Ashley
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup farro, uncooked
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
- 6 ounces feta, crumbled
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup diced vidalia onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp stone ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and line medium baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat; set aside.
- Roast the Butternut Squash: Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin, going around twice. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Use a large sharp knife to cut the squash into about 1.5″ cubes. You should get about 4 cups from a medium butternut squash. Oil a medium baking sheet and toss the squash. Sprinkle with a little salt and roast for about 20 minutes at 375ºF. Let the squash cool or place in fridge to chill while you move on to the next steps.
- Prepare the Farro: Prepare farro according to package instructions. You only need 1/2 cup uncooked farro for this recipe, or 1.5 cups cooked.
- Massage the kale: While the squash and farro are cooking, remove and discard the stems of the kale, chop the leaves, rinse and dry in salad spinner. Add kale to large bowl, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and start massaging oil into kale. This helps release the bitterness.
- Make the dressing: In a small food processor or small blender, combine all onion vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
- Assemble the salad: Add about half of the dressing to bottom of large bowl, then add massaged kale, chilled roasted butternut squash, chilled cooked farro, crumbled feta, cranberries and pepitas. Drizzle the remaining dressing and toss to coat.
- Serve salad immediately or store in fridge up to 1 day in advance.
Recipe can be prepped a day in advance.
Omit feta if you need a vegan friendly recipe.