Kale and Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes

published Sep 25, 2021
Kale & Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This hearty kale salad, packed with quinoa, roasted veggies, and a creamy tahini dressing, is absolutely perfect for fall.

Serves6 to 8

Prep30 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

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Kale and quinoa salad in large white bowl with serving utensils inside the bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

During the warmer months I always opt for cold salads, filled with raw veggies and lots of leafy greens. But now that there’s a chill in the air, I like to mix things up with warm components. Roasting sweet potatoes and butternut squash gives them a slightly crisped exterior with soft and creamy insides, which perfectly contrast the sharpness of the kale and the crunch of Honeycrisp apple. Protein-packed quinoa and crumbled feta cheese make for a dinner-sized salad that will fill you up until dessert. This is a salad you’ll want to put on repeat all fall.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

A Satisfying Salad That Tastes Great for Days

The size of this salad makes it incredibly versatile. Because it feeds six to eight people, it’s perfect for a dinner party. But thanks to the staying power of all of the ingredients, it’s also great for meal prep.

If you’re going the make-ahead route, I recommend roasting the veggies, washing and chopping the kale, cooking the quinoa, and making the dressing in advance, then refrigerating all of the components separately. When you’re ready for lunch or dinner, toss the components together with the dressing. The dressing may thicken a bit in the fridge, but a few drops of cold water will loosen it up.

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This hearty kale salad, packed with quinoa, roasted veggies, and a creamy tahini dressing, is absolutely perfect for fall.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1

    medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

  • 2

    large sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds total)

  • 4 tablespoons

    plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 cup

    quinoa, any color

  • 1 cup

    water

  • 1 large bunch

    curly kale (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 2

    large Honeycrisp apples (7 or 8 ounces)

  • 6 ounces

    feta cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup

    tahini

  • 1

    large lemon

  • 1/4 cup

    cold water

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Peel and dice 1 medium butternut squash and 2 large sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups each). Place the squash and sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Arrange into an even layer.

  3. Roast until tender and browned on the edges, stirring halfway through, 35 to 40 minutes total. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa, prepare the kale, and make the dressing.

  4. Place 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cool, running water. Drain well. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, until the water evaporates and the quinoa is toasted, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and remove from the heat. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.

  6. Strip the leaves from 1 large bunch curly kale and discard the stems. Coarsely chop or tear the leaves into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and gently massage with your hands until you feel the leaves becoming tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

  7. Make the dressing: Place 1/2 cup tahini, the juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup cold water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and whisk until combined.

  8. When ready to serve, dice 2 large Honeycrisp apples into 1/2-inch cubes (no need to peel) and add it to the bowl with the kale. Add the quinoa, roasted squash, and sweet potatoes. Crumble 6 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup) into the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: All of the salad components can be made and refrigerated in airtight containers up to 24 hours in advance and then dressed and tossed together when ready to serve. The dressing can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days ahead.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.