Butternut Squash Cranberry Kale Salad, a hearty fall-inspired vegan salad with warm roasted squash and pumpkin seeds with a homemade avocado pear dressing. The perfect healthy cool weather salad!

Two white bowls with a fall kale salad on a blue table with orange flowers.

Love butternut squash? Love kale salads? Combine them into a salad! With roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas!), this is the perfect salad for cozy cold weather nights. Let's make it!

👉 Ready to learn how to make a kale salad with butternut squash? Let's do it!


🥬 Ingredients

  • Butternut squash: one large butternut squash, which will be roasted
  • Cranberries: dried cranberries for a tart and sweet flavor with a chewy texture
  • Kale: sturdy kale leaves hold up well in this salad and go well with a creamy dressing
  • Pumpkin seeds: crunchy pumpkin seeds add a taste of fall
  • Red onion: sliced red onions add a bite with a touch of sweet flavor
  • Creamy dressing: we’re making a creamy dressing with avocado, pear, maple syrup, and vinegar
  • Recommended tools: baking sheet, food processor or handheld mixer
butternut squash, kale, red onion, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds on white cutting board

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Roasted butternut squash

The first step to making this salad is to preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cut butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast until golden brown.

👉 Butternut squash roasting tip: Leave in oven for 15-20 minutes untouched, or until sizes are browned. Then flip every 5 minutes or so until golden brown, but not burnt.


2️⃣ Step Two: Make creamy avocado pear dressing

Add avocado and pear to food processor or hand mixer and chop until smooth(ish). Add vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper and mix until combined.

a white bowl with cut and whole pears and half an avocado

Then slowly add olive oil until desired consistency and salt and pepper to desired taste. I wanted my dressing to be a bit thicker to stick to the kale leaves, but you can also add more olive oil to make it a thinner consistency.


3️⃣ Step Three: Build salad

When butternut squash is done, combine it with kale, red onions, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and top with dressing.

Then use your hands to rub dressing into the kale to coat throughout. Then serve and enjoy!

Kale salad with butternut squash in a white bowl

🧊 How to store

  1. Refrigerator storage: Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  2. Freezer storage: I do not recommend freezing and thawing this recipe.
A green kale salad with orange squash with cranberries and pumpkin seeds

🥗 More cool weather kale salad recipes

Want more kale salad recipes? We've got you covered:

Butternut Squash Cranberry Kale Salad

Butternut Squash Cranberry Kale Salad, a hearty fall-inspired vegan salad with warm roasted squash and pumpkin seeds with a homemade avocado pear dressing.
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Ingredients

For Butternut Squash Cranberry Kale Salad

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups kale, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • cup roasted pumpkin seeds

For Creamy Pear Dressing

  • ½ avocado
  • ½ pear, cut into small pieces
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cup olive oil

Instructions 

  • Roast butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast until golden brown. My trick for perfectly browned squash: Leave in oven for 15-20 minutes untouched, or until sizes are browned. Then flip every 5 minutes or so until golden brown, but not burnt.
  • Make dressing: Add avocado and pear to food processor or hand mixer and chop until smooth(ish). Add vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. Then slowly add olive oil until desired consistency and salt and pepper to desired taste.
  • Build salad: When butternut squash is done, combine it with kale, red onions, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and top with dressing. Then use your hands to rub dressing into the kale to coat throughout.

Notes

  • Leftovers and storage: This kale squash salad is a great salad for leftovers as kale is a sturdy green that holds up well to refrigeration after it is dressed. It will keep in the refrigerator for two days if dressing is added, more if dressing is on the side.
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information includes dressing. This salad is high in fiber, high in plant-based protein, and is an excellent source of vitamin A and C.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving (2 cups salad, 3 tablespoons dressing), Calories: 285kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.003g, Sodium: 152mg, Potassium: 788mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 17779IU, Vitamin C: 72mg, Calcium: 189mg, Iron: 2mg

UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated for clarity in January 2023.