Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

Hello, Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Salads are wonderful any time of year, but there is something about a Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Squash that just feels great – cutting through all the comfort (read: heavier) foods we are fixing as the weather turns cool and the holidays are close. Last year I posted a great Fall Harvest Salad that hits a lot of these same notes, and it was a hit as a Thanksgiving side. So let’s get to this hearty Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash!

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and slicing the acorn squash in half. Place the halves on a rimmed sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Then turn the cut sides down and roast for 1 hour.

The Dressing

Meanwhile, we will make the dressing. This dressing is the same recipe I used for the Fall Harvest Salad. We have fresh orange juice, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, a diced shallot and olive oil.

Dressing ingredients

In a skillet or a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the orange juice, maple syrup, dijon, and diced shallot. Stir to dissolve the dijon and bring to a simmer. Add a few cranks of fresh black pepper and a pinch of Kosher salt. Then whisk in the olive oil. Keep whisking while simmering to create an emulsified sauce.

When the dressing is emulsified and thickened slightly, transfer to a heat proof measuring cup and set aside.

Roasted Acorn Squash

When the squash comes out of the oven, let it sit until it is cool enough to handle. Use a paring or utility knife to slice and peel off the skin. Discard the the skin and slice the acorn squash halves in half again, then slice into 1/8-inch thick strips. Then set the sliced squash aside.

Massage the Kale!

Depending on how many people you’re serving, figure about one heaping handful per person. That’s the best way to measure it, in my opinion. I went for about 10 ounces of kale and it was a lot! Pour about 1/3 of the still warm dressing over the kale and give it a really good massage – to coat all the leaves in dressing and to soften the kale.

Once you’ve massaged the kale and the leaves are darker green and slightly wilted, set it aside while we prep the rest of the ingredients. Half a red onion, sliced thinly; sweet spicy roasted pecans, broken in halves, equaling about 1/2 cup of nuts; and one small head of radicchio, thinly sliced.

Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash ingredients

Assemble the Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

Toss the onions and the radicchio slices in the bowl with the kale, add a little more dressing and toss to combine. Add the squash slices and pour on the rest of the dressing. Then lightly toss to combine. Try not to mash up the squash too much.

Transfer the tossed salad to a large serving dish. Sprinkle on the pecan halves. Then dot the top with chunks of plain goat cheese.

We have a lot of great texture in this salad. The warm soft roasted acorn squash; crunchy roasted pecans; a fibrous bite from the kale and the crisp of fresh red onion slices. And flavor-wise, we cover all the bases: we have the rich creamy tang of goat cheese; spicy, sweet, salty crunch from the pecans; the squash is so sweet and mild with the bitter crunch of the kale and radicchio – a perfect match! The citrusy, mildly sweet flavor from the dressing is so subtle, and it brings it all together.

Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

Thank you all so much for stopping by today for this hearty Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash. It’s a great side, and it also a great meal. Give me a follow over on Pinterest to have all the Djalali Cooks recipes in one convenient spot! Take care and be well everyone! xo Kelly

Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

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Dinner, Main Course, Salad, Appetizer, Side American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 1 Hour Total Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes

Kale salad for Fall with roasted acorn squash, onion, radicchio, sweet hot toasted pecans and creamy rich goat cheese. Great as a side or a meal.


  • 1 small to medium Acorn Squash
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 6-10 oz. Kale, ribs removed and chopped into bite size pieces (or one heaping handful per person)
  • 1 small head Radicchio, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup halved Sweet Spicy Roasted Pecans
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Goat Cheese, broken into small chunks
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 Small Shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1.5 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil


Roasted Acorn Squash


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Cut acorn squash in half through the stem. Place halves on a rimmed sheet tray and drizzle olive oil over the cut sides. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 1 hour.


Let squash cool until it's easy to handle and with a utility knife, cut and peel the skin off. Discard the skin and slice each half in half again, and slice into 1/8-inch strips. Set aside.



Pour all ingredients except for the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk in olive oil and keep whisking, let simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and pour dressing into a heat proof measuring cup.



In a large bowl, add 1/3 of the still-warm dressing to the prepped kale. Massage the dressing into the kale until the kale wilts slightly and changes to a darker green color.


Add the sliced radicchio and sliced onion to the kale. Pour on a little more dressing and toss together.


Add the roasted squash slices and pour on the rest of the dressing, gently toss to combine.


Transfer salad to a serving dish and just before serving, top with halved pecans and dot the top with small chunks of goat cheese.

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  • Gisela Munoz
    October 14, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Good morning Kelly,
    My English is not to good , but I want to leave you a message . I absolutely love all your recipes and the way you explained it is very easy not mention they’re all delicious. For the first time I’m able to follow a recipe until the end and taste and look beautiful and tasty.
    Thank you so much !
    Gisela Munoz

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 14, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Good Morning Gisela, It really makes my day to know that you find my recipes easy to understand and follow. That is my main goal! Thank you so much for writing to let me know ☺️ Have a wonderful day! xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    October 14, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Ummm…kale…love all things kale! Wish I’d met it sooner than eight years ago! Today’s recipe is so healthy, Kelly. Though I love my butternut squash, walnuts, dried cranberries kale salad to a fault, may give this one a try! Sounds like the perfect balance to those upcoming holiday meals. Thanks for yesterday’s Dutch oven tutorial. I want a 7qt one, along with some shallow bowls. Recently bought a lovely white shallow bowl at a thrift store. Made leftovers look so special when tested! Flood rains happening here the last three hours. Good day to review your archives and explore the fridge! Hugs!~

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 14, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Hi Sylvia, I heard about the flood rains on the radio this morning, I hope y’all are staying safe and dry. Kale and roasted squash are match made in heaven, for sure. they compliment each other so well, you hardly need anything else. I love the addition of dried cranberries, I will have to do that next time! Good to hear from you today, take care. xo Kelly

  • Terry
    October 14, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Good morning kelly, as soon as I saw this recipe I thought thanksgiving salad. So yes I will be making this for thanksgiving. But I think I will also make it for Halloween ?. It looks really good. Have a great Thursday ??Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 14, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Morning, Mom. This is a great Halloween Salad! Let me know how you like it, xo Kelly

  • Sandra
    October 14, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Kelly
    I love how you mentioned that this salad makes a great meal.
    I also love your followers’ posts — you draw a great crowd!
    Take care

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 14, 2021 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Sandra, This salad makes a great meal – so satisfying! And thank you so much for joining in on the conversation, we have a great community here at Djalali Cooks! Have a wonderful evening, xo Kelly

  • Mari
    October 17, 2022 at 9:29 am

    I can’t believe I missed this one last year! Kale and squash are two of my favorite. vegetables, and should make a wonderful salad. It looks absolutely beautiful. When my kids were little, we frequently had all inns of squash, with acorn and butternut being the top favorites. No one was even talking about kale then! This would be a beautiful dish to serve at Thanksgiving. Any time really, but Thanksgiving and Christmas would be especially nice. We had a gorgeous weekend. Sunny and almost warm. We drove up to Pennsylvania to take my grandson shopping so he could pick out his own Birthday presents, and then the rest of the family met us at a restaurant for lunch. It was a wonderful day, and it was over too soon. We are going back in December to take them Christmas shopping. Today is wet and raining and Monday, but I expected it! Happy Monday to my Djalalis, Terry, and the canine conspirators! 🍁☔️🐕

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 18, 2022 at 8:28 am

      Hi Mari, your shopping day sounds it was a really good time. I am sure you will enjoy this salad, it’s so savory and feels really good to eat! Have a wonderful Tuesday, xo Kelly

  • Karen
    October 17, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Hey Kelly,
    Yum! this is a winner! I have left over roast chicken I am going to add to this for dinner tonight! Thanks as always for adding to my week night dinner rotation. Be well. We made your version of my Smoked Salmon pizza this weekend hubs liked the flat bread crust for a change.

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 18, 2022 at 8:30 am

      Hi Karen, I am so happy that my version of the smoked salmon pizza was a hit! Adding chicken to this salad is such a good idea! That makes a great meal. Enjoy! xo Kelly

  • Suzanne Smith
    October 17, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Yum. I’ll definitely make this! 😘

    • Kelly Djalali
      October 18, 2022 at 8:31 am

      You will love it, Suzanne! xo Kelly