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Kale Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Pesto Dressing

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This Kale Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Pesto Dressing is easy-to-make, fast, healthy and delicious. It’s the perfect fall kale salad with squash and it comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Kale on a Plate.

Kale salads are a healthy, simple, and incredibly flavorful meal. 

They also make for a great meal-on-the-go. Even fully dressed kale salads will keep for a few days when stored and refrigerated possibly (and they won’t get soggy!).

My delicious vegan fall harvest salad is a perfect example of that.

Plates with kale salad with pumpkin and feta.

Is Kale A Superfood?

You might already have heard that kale is a superfood and everybody should eat it. If so, you heard right! 

Raw kale is one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your diet; it’s the richest source of vitamin K and contains large amounts of other vitamins (A, E, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6 ), minerals (manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium and copper), fiber, protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants.

Kale may also serve as an anti-inflammatory, cancer-preventive, cholesterol-lowering and detoxifying addition to your healthy eating plan. It provides more nutritional value for fewer calories than any other food (source)!

Those are good reasons to include kale in your diet right now.

Kale leaves closeup shot.

Is Pumpkin Healthy?

Pumpkin is a seasonal squash that is ready to eat when the cold weather settles in; that makes it a prime addition to autumn tablescapes in northern areas.

It’s also a very healthy addition. Like kale, it’s an abundant source of Vitamin A.

Like other orange fruits (and yes, it’s technically a fruit), it may help protect and enhance vision.

It’s rich in vitamins known to boost immunity as well as being credited for reducing inflammation and acting as a cancer preventative (source).

Chopping pumpkin for the roasted pumpkin salad.

Seasonal Cooking With Pumpkin and Kale

I love to cook with pumpkin! You can check out my pumpkin pasta, roasted butternut squash soup, pumpkin waffles, roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash and pumpkin spice latte to see some other yummy recipes for this time of year.

And if you are looking for holiday salads, make sure to check my vegan thanksgiving salads roundup.

Eating with the seasons is always such a treat; fruits and vegetables in season usually have the best flavor.

Kale is also in season right now, which is how this roasted pumpkin salad recipe came to be.

Adding the light and zesty flavors of pesto and feta to kale and pumpkin created a colorful dish loaded with flavor.

It’s lovely enough to grace your holiday table and simple enough to be in your lunchbox if you happen to have leftovers.

This salad has a variety of flavors and textures that complement each other to perfection. It has salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami and spicy ingredients.

It has crunchy, chewy and creamy components. It has just the right temperature for the season, as pumpkin is roasted and served warm.

Kale salad on a plate with a fork.

Ingredients

For the salad:

Ingredients for the kale salad.

For the pesto dressing:

  • kale
  • basil
  • garlic
  • pumpkin seeds
  • hard cheese
  • olive oil
  • water or olive oil to adjust the consistency
  • salt
  • black pepper

Ingredients for the pesto dressing.

How to Make It

The salad is very easy to make and it can be a part of your weekly meal prep. You can watch how to make it in this kale pumpkin salad web story.

Roast the pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Remove seeds from pumpkin and dice one half with a sharp knife. Put the pumpkin chunks on a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and black pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes. It should not be too soft.

Baked pumpkin chunks.

Prep the kale

Meanwhile, remove the ribs from kale leaves using kitchen scissors. Roughly chop kale and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage kale for a minute until softened and dark.
Prepping kale leaves with scissors.

Make the pesto dressing

Combine kale, basil, garlic, pumpkin seeds, grated hard cheese, olive oil, salt and black pepper and blend until smooth using a food processor or immersion blender. Add water or more oil to adjust the consistency if needed. Add the dressing to the kale and combine.

Pesto Dressing for the kale salad.

Assemble the salad

Dice Greek feta cheese in small cubes and add to the salad bowl together with cured black olives (pit them if necessary). When the pumpkin is ready, add it to the salad. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds to serve. Another way to serve this salad is to distribute kale among 4 plates and top it with feta, pumpkin, olives and pumpkin seeds (see pictures).

Kale pumpkin salad on a plate.

Top Tips

  • This kale salad is perfect for your holiday table and for a quick on-the-go lunch.
  • Serve it with warm or cold pumpkin, because it tastes great either way.
  • To save time, instead of roasting the pumpkin, you can fry it in a pan like in this fall harvest salad.
  • If you have leftover steamed kale, you can use it in this salad.
  • Keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three or four days. Even with the dressing, this salad won’t get soggy.
  • If you have leftover kale, use it for this delicious kale smoothie, vegan casserole with sweet potatoes and kale, buddha bowl or vegan zuppa Toscana.

Recipe Variations

  • Any variety of kale and pumpkin or squash will work for this salad.
  • If you have leftover roasted sweet potatoes (for example, after you’ve made this sweet potato lentil soup), you can use them instead of pumpkin.
  • Use vegan feta and vegan pesto for a plant based version of this salad.
  • You can use buddha bowl dressing or roasted garlic dressing instead of pesto dressing.
  • Dried cured olives are preferred but regular olives would work here, too.
Print
5 from 1 vote

Kale Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Pesto Dressing

This Kale Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Pesto Dressing is easy-to-make, fast, healthy and delicious. It’s the perfect fall kale salad with squash and it comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Course Salad
Cuisine American, European
Keyword beetroot kale salad, fall salad, pumpkin kale salad, pumpkin salad, roasted pumpkin salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 449kcal
$5

Ingredients

For the salad:

For the pesto dressing:

  • 1 cup or 70 g kale leaves chopped
  • 1/3 cup or 20 g fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hard cheese grated
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • water or more olive oil to adjust the consistency
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180 ºC or 350 ºF. Remove seeds from pumpkin and dice one half with a sharp knife. Put the pumpkin chunks on a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and black pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes. It should not be too soft.
  • Meanwhile, remove the ribs from kale leaves using kitchen scissors. Roughly chop kale and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage kale for a minute until softened and dark.
  • Make the pesto dressing: combine kale, basil, garlic, pumpkin seeds, grated hard cheese, olive oil, salt and black pepper and blend until smooth using a food processor or immersion blender. Add water or more oil to adjust the consistency if needed.
  • Add the dressing to the kale and combine.
  • Dice Greek feta cheese in small cubes and add to the salad bowl together with cured black olives (pit them if necessary). When the pumpkin is ready, add it to the salad. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds to serve. Enjoy!
  • Another way to serve this salad is to distribute kale among 4 plates and top it with feta, pumpkin, olives and pumpkin seeds (see pictures).

Notes

Top Tips

  • This kale salad is perfect for your holiday table and for a quick on-the-go lunch.
  • Serve it with warm or cold pumpkin, because it tastes great either way.
  • To save time, instead of roasting the pumpkin, you can fry it in a pan like in this fall harvest salad.
  • If you have leftover steamed kale, you can use it in this salad.
  • Keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three or four days. Even with the dressing, this salad won't get soggy.
  • If you have leftover kale, use it for this delicious kale smoothie, vegan casserole with sweet potatoes and kale, buddha bowl or vegan zuppa Toscana.

Recipe Variations

  • Any variety of kale and pumpkin or squash will work for this salad.
  • If you have leftover roasted sweet potatoes (for example, after you've made this sweet potato lentil soup), you can use them instead of pumpkin.
  • Use vegan feta and vegan pesto for a plant based version of this salad.
  • You can use buddha bowl dressing or roasted garlic dressing instead of pesto dressing.
  • Dried cured olives are preferred but regular olives would work here, too.

Equipment

chef's knife
cutting board
baking tray
culinary scissors
mini food processor
salad spinner
olive pitter
rubber spatula

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 1020mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9556IU | Vitamin C: 96mg | Calcium: 361mg | Iron: 4mg
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Kale Salad with Roasted Pumpkin Pinterest Image.

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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