Kale and Pumpkin Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing is my newest salad love story and I am quite serious about the love part! It might look quite ordinary and not very colorful at first, but wait for that flavour to hit your tastebuds! Happy pumpkin season to all!
Kale and Pumpkin Salad in a nutshell?
- super tasty
- super-food healthy (#kale #vegan !)
- rich, nutty & savoury sweet
- satisfyingly filling
- really easy to put together
As you would expect, this simple dish tastes amazing when freshly made, but I also absolutely love it reheated! Simply spread it on a baking tray and bake for circa 10 minutes at 180C.
Kale wilts and crisps up on the edges and let me tell you, what a fantastic result! It makes the pumpkin pieces taste even nuttier and sweeter… So delicious!
Have you ever made kale crisps (chips in the US)? If you haven’t I strongly recommend you do, because these are the healthiest crisps you can snack on. Plus, I’m pretty sure that they might also give you some great inspiration on tasty variations of all sorts of superfood-healthy kale salads!
The flavour of kale in my leftover salad, which I reheated in the oven, was pretty close to that of kale crisps. Obviously, the kale wasn’t as crispy because of the dressing, which was largely absorbed, but it made the flavour even better!
What’s the best pumpkin choice for Kale and Pumpkin Salad
I went with the butternut pumpkin, or butternut squash if you like (still a pumpkin)! Any “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins” like butternut squash, butternut, acorn, kabocha or spaghetti squash will do. But make sure to go for the smaller one (no more than about 2 pounds in weight) as they really are sweeter and simply tastier than the large ones (which are better forjack-o’-lantern carvings).
BTW. I find peeling pumpkins a real pain so I tend to quarter my pumpkins with the skin on, remove the seeds, and then halve each of the quarters before brushing the exposed pumpkin flesh with olive oil and roasting. The flesh comes off the skin really easily and you end up with less mess as well!
Let’s talk Dressing
So, I explained why I have a thing about well dressed salads in my last post.
Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing is simply the best dressing you could possibly have with kale and pumpkin in one bowl as main ingredients. It just works so well!
The mellow flavour of roasted garlic, sticky, nutty tahini and deliciously sweet honey play so nicely together that all you need is a bit of lemon juice acidity to cut through this gorgeous richness, to balance things up.
I don’t add any salt and pepper to the dressing. Instead I season the whole salad with plenty of salt and pepper when it is ready to serve.
- 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds in weight when raw (you'll only need about 200g of roasted pumpkin flesh in this recipe, but any leftover can be reserved and used in other pumpkin recipes)
- 250g kale
- Handful pumpkin seeds
- 2 handfuls of nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans...)
- Preheat oven to 200C (392F).
- Place nuts on a baking tray and toast for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
- Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, quarter your pumpkin and then halve each quarter lengthwise. Remove the pumpkin seeds from the inside of your pumpkin and discard (or reserve for roasting and snacking later if you like).
- Place pumpkin pieces on a baking tray and brush the exposed flesh with olive oil. (If you haven’t got any roasted garlic ready, place 6 garlic cloves (still in their skins) on the tray to bake together with the pumpkin pieces.)
- Roast your pumpkin (and garlic cloves) for 35 to 40 minutes, until the pumpkin is fork-tender.
- While your pumpkin is roasting, wash, drain and chop kale leaves into smallish pieces, pour the dressing over and, using your hands, massage it in until you start to fill that the kale is becoming softer and limp.
- Place all dressing ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and reserve.
- (If you don’t have any ready, roasted garlic, wait to complete this step until the garlic cloves have finished roasting. When cool enough to handle, squeeze them out of their skins before placing the cloves in the food processor. Discard the skins.)
- Remove pumpkin from the oven, scoop the flesh off and discard the pumpkin skins. Slice the pumpkin into bite size pieces and scatter 200g of it together with roasted nuts over kale.
- Season with salt & pepper and serve.
Store any leftover roasted pumpkin refrigerated for up to 3 days.