Say hello to your new favourite fall harvest salad. This roasted delicata squash and fig kale salad also features toasted pecans, red onion, and celery, giving it plenty of flavour and textural contrast.
I’m beginning to wonder if I should change the name of this blog from UpBeet Kitchen to “Delightful Delicata,” based on the sheer amount of delicata squash that I’ve been roasting lately. 😉 I can’t get enough! And what better way to put it to use than in this delicata squash and fig kale salad?
Delicata squash is the best winter squash, in my opinion, because it is one of the few that can be eaten with the skin on. Plus, when roasted with a bit of olive oil, it’s sweet and buttery. It plays a starring role in this harvest-inspired kale salad that also features roasted figs, toasted pecans, sliced red onion, and celery. There’s just enough flavour and texture contrast going on here without overwhelming the palate.
You might be wondering if it’s necessary to roast the figs, to which I reply with a resounding “YES!” Roasting figs brings out a jammy sweetness that just can’t be found in raw figs. And you’ll have the oven on for the squash, anyways, so you might as well toss some halved figs on a second baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and treat them to some heat. You will not be disappointed!
While preparation of this salad is a little more involved than salads that only contain raw ingredients, I find the addition of roasted vegetables oh so swoon-worthy in the autumn and winter.
To make this recipe, you’ll start by roasting a delicata squash and figs. Meanwhile, you’ll chop up a large bunch of kale, a few stalks of celery, and some red onion. Once the squash and figs have finished roasting, reduce the heat and toast the pecans for 10 minutes while you whip up a simple vinaigrette. Massage the vinaigrette into the kale, add the remaining vegetables and nuts, and serve.
Some final thoughts:
This salad makes 4 large or 6 smaller servings, and would make a lovely lunch served with some pita and hummus or baked tofu/tempeh. It would also be a hit at a Thanksgiving dinner. Scale up the recipe to serve a crowd.
Because kale is so sturdy, this salad keeps in the fridge for a few days. It would be a great salad to make on Sunday for work week lunches.
To make this recipe nut-free, swap out the pecans for toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or raw hemp hearts.
A hearty harvest-inspired salad that features roasted delicata squash and figs, plus kale, pecans, onion, and celery. It’s love at first bite!
- 1 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
- 1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 10–12 ripe Black Mission figs, halved lengthwise
- ½ cup raw pecan halves
- 1 large bunch green kale
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the squash into ¾-inch half moon slices and arrange on one of the baking sheets. Drizzle with ¾ tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly distribute the oil all over the squash.
- On the second baking sheet, arrange the figs. Drizzle with the remaining ¾ tablespoon of oil and toss to coat.
- Roast the figs for 15 minutes and the squash for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and place the pecan halves in a small baking dish. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Wash and dry the kale. Remove any tough stems and chop the kale into ribbons. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Make the dressing by adding the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic, salt, and pepper to a jar. Secure the lid and shake to emulsify. Pour over the kale and massage it into the kale so that the kale turns bright green and becomes tender. Then add sliced red onion and celery and toss to incorporate. Lastly, add the toasted pecans and roasted squash and figs to the salad and toss again.
Leftovers keep in the fridge for several days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: vegan
Keywords: delicata squash kale salad, fall harvest salad, fig pecan kale salad, squash kale salad, fall salad recipe
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