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Acorn Squash Salad with Maple-Dijon Dressing

There’s something special about the transition from light summery salads to hearty, heavier salads you can enjoy throughout the fall and winter months.

Winter is all about comfort food, and around here, that includes salads, too! I love the addition of seasonal ingredients like apples and Asian pears, brussels sprouts, roasted squash or carrots, smokey bacon or pancetta, rich and creamy cheeses, toasted seeds and nuts, and so much more.

This festive and nurturing winter salad is made with lovely ingredients like tangy pomegranate seeds, nutty and velvety acorn squash, and crunchy apple ribbons. Hearty kale is massaged until tender, providing the perfect crisp base for a nourishing and delicious cold weather salad that is topped off with a sweet and tangy dressing.

This can be served as a meal on its own, a weeknight side, or a bright and colorful holiday course. If you create this recipe, be sure to tag @threebirdsonestove so I can check out your gorgeous fall salad!

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Yield: Serves 4


For the Salad:

1 acorn squash, about 2 pounds

6-7 cups, (about 5 ounces, chopped or shredded kale

½ cup toasted pecans roughly chopped (purchase toasted or follow method below)

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

1 small sweet apple (Honeycrisp or Gala, for example), peeled and rubbed with lemon

For the Dressing:

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 375°

Roast the Squash:

  1. Slice off top, halve, and scoop out the seeds.

  2. Slice each half into ¾-inch wide wedges.

  3. Coat wedges with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Place wedges on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping with tongs halfway.

  5. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before handling.

Toast the Pecans:

  1. Bring a saute pan to medium heat. Add the nuts, olive oil, and a little sprinkle of flaky salt.

  2. Toast for 5-6 minutes, tossing a few times so the nuts toast evenly and to avoid burning them.

  3. Transfer nuts to a cutting board and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Then chop roughly. Place aside.

Assemble Your Salad:

  1. Add kale to a large wide bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt and massage to tenderize, about 3-5 minutes.

  2. Top with pecans, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese.

  3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the apple into 3-inch ribbons. Add as many ribbons as you prefer. Drape the ribbons over the kale.

  4. Top with the warm acorn squash wedges. Drizzle with dressing or serve on the side.

For the Dressing:

  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake until combined. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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