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Thanksgiving kale salad with pomegranates, pecans, and butternut squash in a large glass bowl.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Rosemary Pecans

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  • Author: Ally Milligan
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 as a side 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


The best Thanksgiving salad with kale, butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, feta (optional), and maple-rosemary pecans. Gluten-free.



Maple-Rosemary Pecans

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Butternut Squash

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (OR 34 cups pre-cut butternut squash)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Shallot Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Salad Assembly

  • 12 bunches of kale (12 oz total), destemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 oz crumbled feta or goat cheese (about 1 cup, dairy-free if desired)
  • 34 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1 cup maple-rosemary pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Make the maple-rosemary pecans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Add the chopped rosemary and salt, toss again, and arrange evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, gently stir, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until just golden brown. Allow to cool.
  2. Roast the butternut squash. Turn up the oven heat to 425 degrees F. Arrange the butternut squash cubes evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss so that the squash is evenly coated. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  3. Massage the kale. Add the de-stemmed and thinly sliced kale to large bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage the kale with your hands until softened.
  4. Make the dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl (or jar) and stir (or shake) until well combined.
  5. Assemble the salad. To the bowl with the kale, add the pomegranate seeds, crumbled cheese, roasted butternut squash, coarsely chopped pecans, and dressing. Toss everything together and add more salt, if needed, to taste. Enjoy!


Make-Ahead Instructions. The components of the salad can be made ahead of time and stored separately in the fridge, including the dressing, but wait to massage the kale until the day of. Toss everything together before enjoying it!