Updated: Dec 15, 2021
This Autumn Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Maple Cinnamon Apples embodies fall. Delicata squash adds a bright pop of color and killer seasonal flair, maple cinnamon apples provide a lovely sweetness and hint of spice, dried cranberries add a slight tartness, slivered almonds give it a nice crunch, and shredded parmesan is the savory ingredient that pulls all the flavors in this fall salad recipe together. Not to mention, the homemade Maple Dijon Dressing that you’ll want to drizzle over everything else this fall. To sum it up this salad is sweet, savory, hearty, comforting, all around delicious, and a must-try dinner recipe this fall!
You Know I'm All About That (Salad) Bass
I know I know, the title's super cheesy, but not all salad bases are created equal! Have you tried dinosaur kale? I prefer dinosaur kale, also known as Tuscan kale, in salads over other varieties of kale. It’s more tender and less bitter, and personally I find it easier to digest. Dinosaur kale isn't quite as hardy as curly kale, but it's still hardier than your typical spring mix.
Chopped dinosaur kale is the perfect base for this hearty, Autumn Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Maple Cinnamon Apples. If you prefer other varieties of kale or if you don’t like kale, feel free to swap out the dinosaur kale for curly kale (make sure to massage your curly kale with dressing before adding the toppings!), baby kale, spinach, or your favorite spring mix.
The Deets on Delicata Squash
I had never heard of much less tried delicata squash until just a few years ago. Like other winter squashes, delicata has a slight sweetness that really comes out when you roast it. The skin is thin and edible and the flesh is relatively soft even before cooking, so preparation time/work for delicata squash is minimal compared to butternut, kabocha, Hubbard, and spaghetti squashes. On a less important note, delicata squash is also super pretty cut into rings or half moons!
Roasted delicata squash is a delicious and simple fall side dish that packs a nutrient punch with 1 g of fiber and 300 mg potassium in just 1/2 cup. It’s also a great addition to hearty fall salads like this Autumn Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Maple Cinnamon Apples. Slightly crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, roasted delicata squash pairs well with both the savory and sweet flavors in this seasonal dinner salad.
More recipes with winter squash that you will love:
What’s in This Recipe?
Dinosaur kale – contains fiber, vitamins A, K, and B6, potassium, calcium, copper, and manganese
Delicata squash – contains potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and carotenoids
Gala apple – contains dietary fiber and energizing carbohydrates
Avocado oil – contains monounsaturated fats, has a high smoke point (520oF) making it ideal for high heat cooking
Maple syrup – natural sweetener, rich in manganese
Seasonings – salt, cinnamon, dried rosemary, black pepper
Almonds – contains plant based protein, heart healthy fats, vitamin E, and fiber
Dried cranberries – contains antioxidants, has antibacterial properties
Parmesan cheese – contains calcium, lower in lactose than soft cheeses, provides flavor
Apple cider vinegar – contains acid which enhances flavor
Dijon mustard – adds flavor
Notes: This recipe is naturally gluten free and vegetarian. To make this recipe nut free* replace the almonds with pumpkin seeds. To make this recipe dairy free** and vegan**, omit the parmesan cheese. If delicata squash is not available at your local store, cubed butternut squash*** also works in this salad recipe. Simply replace the medium delicata squash with ~4 cups of cubed butternut squash.
Autumn Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Maple Cinnamon Apples
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 dinner portions, 4 side portions
8 cups dinosaur kale, chopped
1 medium delicata squash (or ~4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed)***
1 large gala apple
1 1/2 tbsp. avocado oil, divided
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. slivered almonds*
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese**
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette ingredients:
2 tbsp. avocado oil
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400oF and line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
Wash the delicata squash, cut off the top and the bottom, then cut the squash in half (lengthwise or width wise both work). Remove the seeds. Cut the de-seeded squash into half moons about 1/2” thick.
Wash, core, and chop the apple into 1-2” pieces.
Place the delicata squash rings on one of the lined baking sheets. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. avocado oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Space out the squash so that the pieces do not overlap.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the chopped apple, 1 tbsp. avocado oil, maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. salt, rosemary, cinnamon, and black pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Pour the coated apples onto the other lined baking sheet. Spread the apples in one layer so that the pieces do not overlap.
Place both the delicata squash and the apples in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes.
While the squash and apple cook, make the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. Add all ingredients to a glass jar with a lid, cover with the lid, then shake to combine.
Next, add the chopped kale to a large bowl (I do this in the serving bowl), drizzle with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette dressing as desired and toss.
Once the squash and apple have finished cooking, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Top the kale with the roasted delicata squash, apples, slivered almonds*, dried cranberries, and parmesan cheese**.
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