Kale Butternut Squash Salad with roasted butternut squash and kale, wholemeal couscous, dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing, a light but wholesome salad recipe that is packed with goodness and it's absolutely delicious.
Salads might be associated with summer time and sunshine, but if you use seasonal ingredients, they can definitely be enjoyed all year around. And this kale and butternut squash salad makes a fantastic Autumn or Winter dish too that can be enjoyed as a side or even a light lunch.
The addition of wholemeal couscous makes the salad a lot more filling and nutritious, whereas the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries add so much more flavour and different textures.
When it comes to salad dressings, I never go big, as less is more to me. There is no need to add honey or sugar to it, as the roasted butternut squash and cranberries add enough sweetness, so lemon juice and olive oil are all we need.
Ingredients used to make the salad
- butternut squash - I used only half of a medium squash, but if you are looking to make more salad, you can use it all up
- kale - stems removed, as they are too tough and bitter
- wholemeal couscous - it's ready really quickly by just soaking it in hot water
- dried cranberries - add sweetness and colour to the salad
- toasted pumpkin seeds - for added goodness and texture
- olive oil - for tossing the butternut squash and kale
- salt - for seasoning the veggies going into the oven
I chose to roast the kale as I love the nice crispiness you get, and it also takes some of the bitterness away, but you could also add it fresh to the salad, just make sure you rinse it well with cold water and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
Butternut squash can be swapped for roasted pumpkin, like in my Roast Pumpkin Quinoa Salad or roasted sweet potatoes. Couscous can be swapped for bulgur wheat, quinoa, rice, pasta or orzo.
Cranberries can be replaced with raisins, sultanas or mixed dried fruit, or any dried fruit of your choice - cut it up into smaller bites if necessary. Pumpkin seeds can be swapped for sunflower seeds or any other seeds of your choice.
Ingredients needed to make the dressing
- olive oil - my first choice when it comes to salad dressings, however, you can swap it for any other oil you have around
- lemon juice - freshly squeezed or concentrated lemon juice
- salt - to taste
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit)
- remove the stems of the kale
- rinse the kale under cold water, and use kitchen paper to dry them really well
- chop it up into bite-sized pieces
- peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes and arrange them onto a roasting tray
- drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt
- give everything a good massage so they are well coated in oil
- roast for 10 minutes until the kale is crispy (see photo 3), then remove it from the tray
- continue to roast the butternut squash for a further 20-25 minutes or until it's nicely caramelized and tender
- to make the couscous, add it to a bowl, pour over the hot water, and place a plate over to bowl
- leave it to soak up for 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed
- use a fork to fluffy the couscous up and leave it to cool down
- add the pumpkin seeds to a frying pan set over a medium heat, and toast for 3-4 minutes
- to assemble the salad, add roasted kale, butternut squash, couscous, seeds and cranberries to a salad bowl, and toss well
- to make the dressing, mix the lemon juice with the olive oil and salt, and use a fork to beat it well to combine
- pour it over the salad, and mix to combine
Roasting the kale can be pretty tricky, so I would definitely keep an eye on it, it can go from not quite ready to burnt in a matter of minutes.
Do not use the kale if it has been burnt, it is really bitter and pretty horrible. But roasted at the right temperature and for the right amount of time, it's absolutely delicious and so crispy.
To ensure a nice crispiness, it is crucial to dry the kale leaves really well before roasting, otherwise they will stay soft.
Same goes for butternut squash, I love a slight caramelisation, but so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
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Kale Butternut Squash Salad
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed ( or half a medium butternut squash)
- 2 cup kale
- ½ cup wholemeal couscous
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the dressing
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tsbp lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit, 180 fan oven).
- Rinse the kale with cold water, remove the stems, and use kitchen paper to dry the leaves well.
- Chop them up into small bites.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes.
- Arrange everything onto a roasting tray, drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt.
- Give everything a good massage so they are coated with oil.
- Roast for 10 minutes until the kale is crispy, then remove it from the oven.
- Continue to roast the butternut squash for a further 20-25 minutes or until the butternut squash is nicely caramelized and tender.
- To make the couscous, add it to a bowl with ⅔ cup of boiled water, cover the bowl with a plate and leave it to soak for 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
- Use a fork to fluff it up and leave it to cool.
- Transfer the pumpkin seeds to a frying pan set over a medium heat, and toast to 3-4 minutes.
- To make the dressing, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice and salt, and use a fork with mix it well.
- To assemble the salad, add the roasted kale, butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds and cranberries to a salad bowl.
- Pour over the dressing and toss well to combine.
- Roasting the kale can be pretty tricky, so I would definitely keep an eye on it, it can go from not quite ready to burnt in a matter of minutes.
- Do not use the kale if it has been burnt, it is really bitter and pretty horrible. But roasted at the right temperature and for the right amount of time, it's absolutely delicious and so crispy.
- To ensure a nice crispiness, it is crucial to dry the kale leaves really well before roasting, otherwise they will stay soft.
- Same goes for butternut squash, I love a slight caramelisation, but so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.