I've been in charge of our family's Thanksgiving dinner for five years now and have put a seasonal salad on the table every year. And my family clowns me for it every year. I, however, remain unbothered because balance is actually the name of my game. Just like everybody else, I'm going to load up on dressing and mac & cheese but I'm also going to get my [fresh] greens in with something like this positively scrumptious autumn salad. While we're on the topic, be sure to grab my Flawless Thanksgiving Guide to get your whole menu together!
Ever since I caught the travel bug a few years back, bikinis are no longer reserved for summertime and I can't be caught slipping. And eating something that is filled with fresh, good-for-you ingredients on Turkey Day makes me feel good, too. Let's get into the healthy yet delicious specifics of this easy salad recipe.
What to Put in an Autumn Salad
The star of this autumn salad is sliced delicata squash, which gets roasted until crispy and beautifully caramelized then laid on top of all the other yummy seasonal ingredients listed below.
- Chopped Kale
- Dried Cranberries
- Gorgonzola Cheese
- Pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
If this ingredient list looks good to you, slide on over to my (highly addictive) massaged kale salad next, because you will love it, too. 🙂 To take this autumn salad over the top, I mix up an easy orange maple vinaigrette dressing and toss everything in it. It is the best finishing touch and tastes so much better than anything you could find at the grocery store. Believe that!
How to Make Your Own Vinaigrette Dressing
Making salad dressing is very simple so don't be even the slightest bit intimidated by the idea of it. The basic ratio is 3 parts oil to one part vinegar then you can play with whatever flavors you like from there. The yummy orange maple vinaigrette that dresses this autumn salad starts with the same formula then incorporates a couple of seasonal flavor favorites.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Maple Syrup
- Olive Oil
- Orange Juice
- Sea Salt + Black Pepper
This homemade salad dressing has a little kick to it. If you like it (which you will), my easy apple cider vinaigrette is another good one to try next.
More Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas
- This Thanksgiving appetizer board has been doing NUMBERS over on Pinterest. And it's worth the hype.
- For dessert, you cannot go wrong with apple pie, right? Try my popular caramel apple pie for an easy twist everyone will love.
- Here are a few for #teamsweetpotato:
- And for #teampumpkin, too:
- We can't forget the sides, ever. All of my best Thanksgiving side dishes are here.
All the best Thanksgiving recipes and tips are in my holiday guide.
Click here to scoop up yours!
Do you serve salad at Thanksgiving? I think it's a trend we should start. Also, sharing is caring, so be sure to pin this recipe on Pinterest. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Autumn Kale Salad with Orange Maple Vinaigrette
- 1 bunch kale chopped
- 1 delicata squash
- 5 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- ¼ cup walnuts
Orange Maple Vinaigrette
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off ends of delicata squash then cut it in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds then cut into slices about ½-inch thick.
- Place squash slices in a large bowl then drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Toss until evenly coated.
- Spread out squash slices on a non-stick sheet pan (or one lined with parchment paper) then roast for about 15 minutes. Flip slices over then continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until both sides are caramelized.
- Meanwhile, to prepare salad, cut off stalks from kale bunch then chop leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Add to a large salad bowl, followed by Gorgonzola, dried cranberries, pepitas, and walnuts.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and whisk until uniform. Pour over top of salad and toss.
- Lay slices of delicata squash over top of salad and serve.