This Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Kale salad makes for a bright and delicious Fall salad. It’s perfect on the Thanksgiving table too because it balances the other side dishes and adds some fresh component to the table.
How To Prepare Butternut Squash?
I love butternut squash, if you’ve followed me for a while, you sure have seen plenty of my recipes with this great squash.
Using butternut squash for me as a mom has several benefits. If I don’t have time to cook it right away, it doesn’t go bad even if it stays on my counter for days. Also, I can prepare few meals out of 1 butternut squash, so it’s convenient for meal planning too. And I don’t have to refrigerate it if I haven’t cut into it yet!
My usual ways of preparing butternut squash are as follows:
- Cut in half, clean then roast until you can pierce with a fork. Then use in sauces, soups, salads etc. Be careful with cutting as it isn’t easy.
- Cut in circles, then peel and chop in cube shapes, roast and use as needed. (see Leeks, Butternut Squash & Potatoes Soup recipe as an example)
- Buy frozen butternut squash cubes, thaw then roast or microwave as needed. Takes less time to prepare.
- Buy pre-cut fresh butternut squash!! When I find this at a good price, it’s worth is because it saves on the all the cutting.
Tips & Notes for This Salad
This is a very easy salad, with few ingredients. You can eyeball the ingredients most of the time and still come up with a great salad. I added a video below the recipe card for more tips if you need it:).
But here are some additional tips for this simple salad.
- Use baby kale instead of regular kale. Its leafs are thinner and they taste better in my opinion, plus you don’t even need to chop them.
- If your store sells already pre-washed kale, it saves time because you can just throw it in the bowl from the box.
- If using fresh butternut squash, try to combine 2 recipes in one as you don’t need the whole butternut squash. This Butternut Squash Skillet Chicken recipe is great even if you serve them on different days!
- Dressing – you can prepare the dressing right before serving and toss it in or double the dressing and set on the table for everyone to serve as desired.
- I used 1 jumbo garlic clove for the dressing, which is equivalent to about 4 regular garlic cloves. It is a lot of garlic for some people, so if you don’t like garlic so much, you can add less of it in your salad. Garlic balances the sweetness of butternut squash.
Butternut Squash, Kale and Cranberries Salad
- 15 ozs butternut squash, frozen you can use fresh, just roast and let cool down
- 4 ozs baby kale
- 2 tbsps dry cranberries
- 20 walnut halves
- 1 shallot
- 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves I ended up using 1 jumbo clove as it's equivalent to 3-4 small ones.
- 1.5 lemons squeeze them and zest half a lemon
- salt / pepper add to taste
- 2 tbsps maple syrup
- Microwave the frozen butternut squash for about 10 minutes. You can roast it too but if preparing this salad for Thanksgiving it's better not to occupy the oven with this:). Either way, once done let butternut squash cool down to room temperature.
- Wash baby kale and use a salad spinner to dry. If already pre-washed, just place kale on the salad platter.
- Add butternut squash cubes over kale. Top with cranberries and walnuts.
- Add olive oil in a mason jar. Squeeze 1.5 lemons and add it in. Zest half a lemon over the oil and lemon juice.
- Using a food processor chop the shallot and garlic. You can also chop them yourself real fine. Add the finely chopped shallot and garlic to the mason jar. Pour about 2 tbsps of maple syrup to jar. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper as desired. Cover the jar, shake to mix and dressing is ready.
- Serve dressing over salad and toss it or leave the dressing on the table in a a nice serving bowl for everyone to add on top of the salad as needed. Enjoy your dinner:)
- Feel free to add more ingredients to the salad as desired. Other options would be arugula, radishes, even fruits like apples.
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