Delicata squash and cranberry kale salad in a white bowl set on a Thanksgiving table.

Delicata Squash and Cranberry Kale Salad

  • Author: Ally
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American


This delicata squash and cranberry kale salad has all of the flavors of fall in one bowl; the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Vegan, gluten-free, and paleo.




  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (can be thawed from frozen)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large bunch Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) kale (see notes)


  • 46 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)


  1. Roast the pecans and the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Chop pecans into coarse pieces. Place on the lined sheet pan and toast until golden and fragrant, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove pecans from the pan, place on a plate to cool.
  2. To prepare the delicata squash, wash well and cut in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds (save to roast later, if desired), and slice into 1/2 inch semi-circles. Cut each semi-circle into 3-4 pieces and put into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Rinse the cranberries and add to the bowl with the squash. Dice the red onion (pieces should be roughly the same size as the squash and cranberries) and place in the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and kosher salt. Toss to combine. Pour mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  4. Prep the kale. While the squash mixture is roasting, prepare the kale. Wash the leaves well under cool running water, shake off excess liquid, and place on a cutting board. Cut out the tough center rib on each leaf and chop the leaves coarsely. Place in a large bowl.

  5. Make the salad dressing. Prepare the salad dressing by putting all of the ingredients into a small jar (a pint-sized mason jar works well) and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. Place dressed kale into a serving bowl.

  6. Assemble. Remove the squash mixture from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Once cooled, spoon the squash mixture over the top of the kale and toss gently. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the salad and serve.


Curly kale can also be used as shown here; just massage to soften before assembling. Salad can be made in advance and leftovers keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Keywords: delicata squash salad, cranberry salad, thanksgiving salad, healthy thanksgiving salad

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