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Kale Butternut and Apple Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette

Winter Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Butternut Squash

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5 from 13 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Kale, apples, roasted butternut squash, pecans and red onions come together to create a beautiful dance of textures and flavors in this scrumptious comfort food salad.  Tossed with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing, it bursts with flavor that will keep you coming back for more.  So simple and so good!


Units Scale

For the Butternut Squash:

  • 1 (10 oz.) bag frozen butternut squash ( or 2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1” cubes )
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 34 cups kale leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small honey crisp (or gala) apple, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 1 thin slice red onion, separated into sticks
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup raw unfiltered honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon


For the Butternut Squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (This isn’t a necessity, but it makes cleaning the pan a breeze.)
  2. Pour the frozen butternut squash cubes into a bowl and break apart any cubes that have stuck together. Pour the avocado oil over the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss the cubes until they are all evenly coated and seasoned.
  3. Pour the squash onto the prepared baking sheet, being careful that they are arranged in a single layer.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The squash cubes should be tender when done and some of them will be brown and caramelized on the bottom.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack while you prep the rest of the salad.

For the Salad:

  1. Remove the leafy greens of the kale from their stems and tear the greens into bite-sized pieces. Place the kale in a bowl.
  2. Core a Honey Crisp or Gala apple. No need to peel it. The peels add beautiful color and vitamins. Cut the apple into thin slices about ⅛” thick. Add the slices to the salad bowl.
  3. Cut a thin slice of red onion. Like the apple, try to cut it not more than ⅛” thick. Separate the slice into individual rings. If the rings are too large, simply break them into manageable strips and then, add them to the bowl.
  4. Pour in the pecans and add the cooled butternut squash cubes. 
  5. Toss all the ingredients together to evenly distribute them throughout the dish. 

For the Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk all the Vinaigrette ingredients together until thoroughly blended. 
  2. Add ½ cup of the Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette to the salad bowl and toss the Winter Kale Salad to coat all the ingredients. The citrus will keep the apples from turning brown and soften the kale just enough to be the perfect texture. (Alternatively, you can use a vinaigrette or dressing that you prefer.)
  3. Transfer to a nice serving dish and serve with the leftover dressing on the side.



This salad keeps in the fridge for about 48 hours.  It’s great in lunches and as a side for your favorite main dishes.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables
  • Method: roasting
  • Cuisine: American