Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette.
I promise this is not another boring butternut squash kale salad!
It may look a little underwhelming, but just wait until you taste it.
Oh my, the flavor is so good.
This is one of those salads where you will think about the flavor the next day and want to make it again. It’s true.
This is one of those salads that is almost too easy. It can surely be a great side dish – I feel like I’m always searching for a new kale salad! Just made another one last night for the super bowl – as a side to all the snacks. It’s accompanies most meals and kale salads always hold up great if you have leftovers.
But it’s also hearty enough that if you’re not starving, like on a day that you had a big lunch or you’d just like something lighter for dinner? It works. It’s filling and satisfying thanks to the squash. The pepitas bring the crunch and the goat cheese is so dreamy and creamy!
The dressing though! Oh this dressing. I became obsessed with this idea of jam dressing, especially apricot dressing. Which is hilarious because it’s not like I’m a huge fan of apricots or anything. But!
I just LOVE this vinaigrette so much.
Grab some apricot preserves and you can have this year round. It’s slightly sweet but also tart and just adds so much depth of flavor to the salad. And of course, you can use any jam that you’d like! This is one of my tips in my next book and I just couldn’t wait to share. Got jam? You can have an exciting and unique vinaigrette then too.
Aside from the roasting of the squash, the salad comes together quickly and without fuss. I used lacinato kale here but you can always use curly green kale. Make sure to massage the kale with the tiniest drop of olive oil – it helps to remove the bitterness from the greens. It also allows them to be chewy in a GOOD way – not chewy in a tough way. You know?
It’s an important step that you can’t forget!
All that’s left to add? The goat cheese and pepitas. Almost TOO easy, right? Sure, I could have added some dried fruit or a cucumber or an avocado. But I’ve really loved making these “base” recipes lately that allow me to enjoy great flavors AND possibly account for leftovers.
By that, I mean that this salad makes a great base. The flavors are not overly polarizing so you could add some leftover shrimp or chicken to this. You could even add a soft boiled egg or something like that for a little more ooomph.
This salad is:
All the things!
These are just my favorite kinds of recipes! HELLO DINNER.
Butternut Squash Kale Salad
Butternut Squash Kale Salad
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash, about 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
- 1 head lacinato/tuscan kale, leaves torn from stems
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup roasted pepitas
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the squash on the sheet and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and chipotle pepper. Toss well. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the squash has started to caramelize.
- While the squash is roasting, chop the kale leaves. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle on 1 to 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale, massaging for a few minutes. Let the kale sit for 5 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the kale and toss. Add on the crumbled goat cheese and the roasted pepitas. Add on the squash. Drizzle with the dressing and serve!
- In a bowl or jar, whisk together the vinegar, preserves, garlic, salt, pepper flakes and pepper. Stream in the olive oil while whisking until emulsified. Drizzle on the salad! This stays great in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Did you make this recipe?
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I appreciate you so much!
In it for meatless monday!
30 Comments on “Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette.”
Looks and sounds great, especially that dressing! Your recipes for dressing are always so incredible and very flavorful!
This salad looks amazing! I wish I was eating this for lunch today!
Apricot dressing!!! **all the heart eyes** I absolutely love apricot anything. This is genius. Making it for my lunch salads next week!!
Oh my gosh I never thought of making a dressing from JAM! A whole new world has opened up!
My grocery delivery person accidentally brought me an almost-ten-pound butternut squash instead of the spaghetti squash I requested. Lol. I’ve been trying for a week to figure out what to do with it…I’ll be making this for SURE! This is just the kind of salad I could eat for dinner multiple nights a week–although my fiancé is like Eddie and will make me add meat to it for him. Haha!
Made this last night and it was divine! thanks for the recipe :)
I cannot wait to make this for dinner tonight (and subsequently lunch for tomorrow!!!)
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Me again! I’ve made this twice so far – I’m kind of obsessed with it!!! Trying to be strong and not eat my lunch right now – must wait another 3 hours!!! An absolute favorite!
Though I like kale I’m not usually a fan of kale salads, but your description was irresistible. After dinner I immediately recommended it to a friend and have entered it into my mobile cookbook. This will be a staple go to for years to come, and will be going ‘on the road’ to many a church potluck. I roasted an entire squash, so ended up with way more than I needed for this salad – about 6 cups more – and will use it in a butternut squash soup recipe. It will be a perfect side to have with the salad on a cold winter’s night.
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This is an absolutely delicious salad. Way superior to other kale salads I’ve tried and made. You’ll hope for leftovers!
I just made this salad to take on an overnight camping trip with friends and it is excellent! The flavors are fantastic! I have already recommended this to several family members and friends!
I have wild blueberry jam and raspberry preserves in the refrig – can I use any of them in this recipe?
yes!! any jam works, as long as you think you’ll like the flavor with the kale and butternut!
Flavors are so yummy!! I also added some lentils for protein and crisped up some pancetta bits when I roasted the squash.
This was heaven 😍
Made this last night in addition to some grilled chicken for my carnivores. We loved it! My meat loving husband said next time to scrap the chicken and make more squash!
Delicious salad! All the flavors worked really well together! Used crumbled feta in place of goat cheese. I am usually not a kale fan, but would definitely make this salad again!
This is the best easy meal prep fall salad! I love how smoky the butternut squash is and how it’s balanced out by the creamy goat cheese. And the crunch of the pepitas adds the best texture. Love the dressing too!
Made this salad with out the chipotle red chili pepper. Absolutely delicious! Massaging the kale really softens it and making for a perfect texture. Love the nice combinations of spices with sweet and sour. Also used sheep feta in place of goat cheese. Will make again. Thank you.
We really enjoyed this salad.
Substituted arugula (not baby) and added some wild rice to make it heartier for a pescatarian. Have added it to my recipe book.
Just made this for a friends group. So yummy!
This was really good. The squash added some heft to the salad and the dressing was super flavorful.
I had fig jam so used it -WOW! Also had Cajun seasoning so used that on the squash. Thank you, delicious!
This was great! We’ve been on a roll with your salad recipes… the dressings alone are enough to make them. And thanks for the reminder to toast my nuts/seeds–always makes a meal feel extra fancy.
Really delicious and so simple! The dressing is too die for. The butternut squash came a little spicy but that might be because I used black peppercorn for pepper.
I LOVE this salad! So simple yet so perfect!
Great recipe! I have made this several times, including for a group, and it has gone over wonderfully every time. The flavors are great and massaging the Kale makes it tender and less bitter. Looking forward to eating it for lunch all week since I made a batch just for myself!
Made this for a party and it was a big hit! The sweet tangy dressing was perfect with the smoky squash and the creamy goat cheese.
Absolutely delicious!! I made this for our anniversary dinner and it was so yummy! I didn’t have chipotle seasoning but canned, so i used a spoonful and used a blender to mix the vinaigrette. Also used more pepitas! Highly recommend!