Kale Apple Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Arugula and kale topped with thyme roasted butternut squash, hazelnuts, and apples. Topped with a sweet and tangy apple cider vinegar dressing, this kale apple salad is the perfect Fall side dish. Great for holidays or weeknight dinners alike!

hand pouring homemade dressing over kale and apple salad

Oh hey, kale apple salad. The perfect combination of refreshing, comforting, and healthy. Now that’s my kind of salad! What makes this salad recipe so darn good?!

  • Thyme-roasted butternut squash
  • Zesty arugula
  • Kale
  • Toasted hazelnuts
  • Pepitas
  • Honeycrisp apples
  • Homemade apple cider vinegar dressing

Yeah, now we’re talking! Serve as a side with a delicious main dish or “beef” it up with some quinoa to serve as a meal.

Learn how to make this simple salad recipe that will have your tastebuds swooning.

ingredients for kale apple salad

Ingredients for kale apple salad

  • Leafy greens
  • Squash
  • Pepitas
  • Hazelnuts
  • Apples


  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey (can use agave or maple syrup to make vegan)
  • Mustard
  • Salt and pepper

how to cut butternut squash

How to cut butternut squash

  1. Start by peeling the thick skin off using a potato peeler.
  2. Cut in half length-wise and scoop out the insides.
  3. Cut into 1/2-inch slices
  4. Cut into cubes

pouring salt over butternut squash cubes

Transfer the cut butternut squash to a mixing bowl and add oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Mix well and transfer to a baking sheet.

butternut squash cut into cubes on baking sheet

Roast the squash at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. While the squash is roasting, you can prep the other ingredients for the salad.

kale in salad spinner

How to wash kale

Fresh kale can be tough and bitter. With a few tips and tricks, you can prep kale to make it so much more palatable.

  1. Remove tough stems from the kale and break into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Transfer to a salad spinner or bowl and massage well under very warm water.
  3. Drain the water and let the kale dry thoroughly

You can even add a splash of fresh lemon juice when massaging the kale as the acid helps to break down the bitterness of kale as well.

homemade dressing in mason jar

Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside until ready to assemble the salad.

At this point too you can toast the hazelnuts for 7-10 minutes.

wooden salad spoons tossing salad in serving bowl

How to make kale apple salad

  1. Start with a base of kale and arugula
  2. Add butternut squash, apples, toasted hazelnuts, and pepitas
  3. Add half of the dressing and toss well
  4. To serve, place salad on a plate or bowl and top with additional dressing if desired

two salad plates and a wood salad bowl on grey background

Ways to customize this kale apple salad

  • Instead of hazelnuts, use toasted walnuts or pecans
  • Use gala apples or even pears in this salad recipe
  • Add cheese such as crumbled goat, feta, or cheddar if not vegan
  • To make this salad more of a meal, add quinoa
  • For an extra sweetness element, add craisins (dried cranberries)

gold fork holding bite of salad over plate

If you tried this kale apple salad, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

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salad with kale, apples, squash, and hazelnuts in wood salad bowl

Kale Apple Salad with Butternut Squash

This healthy salad recipe is LOADED with delicious ingredients! Thyme roasted butternut squash, toasted hazelnuts, apples, greens, pepitas, and an irresistible homemade dressing. So easy to make and vegan!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side
Cuisine: American, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: fall salad, healthy side salad, side dish christmas, side dish thanksgiving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 312kcal
Author: Amanda


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale any kale variety or leafy green will work
  • 2 cups arugula chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts chopped
  • 1 apple sliced; I used Honeycrisp
  • 1/4 cup pepitas


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey can substitute with maple syrup or agave if vegan
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


Prepare Butternut Squash:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Peel skin off the butternut squash using a potato peeler. Cut in half length-wise and cut off top and bottom.
  • Spoon out the seeds and cut into 1/2-inch slices. cut into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add olive oil, salt, thyme, and pepper. Mix well and transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Roast for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Toast Hazelnuts:

  • Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes while the squash is roasting. Set aside.

Prepare Kale:

  • Remove stems and tear into bite-sized pieces. Place kale in a salad spinner or bowl and massage until very warm water.
  • Drain the water and let the kale dry.

Make Dressing:

  • In a small bowl or mason jar, add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.

Assemble Salad:

  • Add kale and arugula to a large serving bowl. Top with squash, apples, hazelnuts, and pepitas. Pour half of the dressing on top and toss well.
  • To serve, place salad on a plate or bowl and top with extra dressing if desired.


Leftovers will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. To prolong life, do not toss the salad with the dressing.
To make this salad for meal prep, store all of the ingredients separately and assemble salad before eating.


Serving: 1salad (1/4 recipe) | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.3g | Protein: 4.3g | Fat: 18.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.3g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 831mg | Fiber: 5.8g | Sugar: 18.2g | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 2mg

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15 thoughts on “Kale Apple Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash”

  1. 5 stars
    I love that you roasted the squash and didn’t make it sweet, which is so common. This salad is how I would want to eat butternut squash! Yum!

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a flavorful dressing and the salad has awesome combination of ingredients. Unique and crunchy and Nutty and healthy too.

  3. 5 stars
    Such a wonderful, seasonal salad! I can imagine how tasty it must be drizzled with that dressing! We are hosting small gathering this weekend, and I think this would be a perfect side to serve!

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! I love a creative side salad. This looks easy enough to serve on weeknight but elegant enough for holiday dinners too. Looking forward to making it!

  5. 5 stars
    What a delicious salad. Perfect for this season. I love all the ingredients. Can’t wait to make this for me and my husband. We are both in love with kale – squash combo.


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