So the thing about this kale salad with roasted pumpkin is that you really need to enjoy a little bit of everything in every bite. This is a salad with sweet, tart, salty and nutty flavors, so it tastes best if you get a mix of two, three or all of these flavors together. There’s the delicious chestnut-like flavor of hokkaido, my favorite winter squash, sweet tender Tuscan kale, tart-sweet cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds and everyone’s favorite briny, salty, crumbly cheese, together with a sunshiny splash of lemon juice.
How to bring Tuscan kale into your recipes
If you are not already familiar with lacinato kale, its long time staple in Italian cuisine and most prevalent in Tuscany. But it is making its way to Germany and gaining more and more popularity — even being grown locally! Yes, I am so excited to see my favorite Italian kale popping up more and more at the farmer’s markets and surprisingly in some of my local supermarkets! So what do you do with it? Well, my first choice is in salads, as it’s a little sweeter and definitely more tender than curly kale. So yes, to raw kale salads! You can massage it to make it more tender, just like curly kale. Or enjoy it in warm dishes…pretty much any recipe you would normally use curly kale or savoy cabbage in. Think soups, stews, casseroles, even sautéed potatoes. There are so many ways to enjoy these delicious and healthy greens, so bring on the winter recipes!
A kale salad with roasted pumpkin is the perfect addition to any holiday table!
Since this gorgeous salad uses colorful in-season for fall and winter ingredients it would also make the perfect addition to your Christmas dinner table (or in my case Thanksgiving) as a side dish that not only is loaded with vitamins, but will also please vegetarian and flexitarian guests. If you are looking to go all out and serve vegan recipes for your Christmas dinner, then feel free to skip the feta. A beetroot coconut soup would pair perfectly as well. Just sayin’… ;-)
This recipe for kale salad with hokkaido pumpkin, cranberries, feta and toasted pumpkin seeds makes a terrific wintery salad for a weeknight dinner or tasty meatless side dish on your Christmas dinner table. Serves 4-6.
- 1 small Hokkaido pumpkin, seeded and cut into 12 wedges (max 1 kg)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons organic dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (good quality)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar (I use Gepa Organic raw cane sugar Mascobado)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato kale), center stems removed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 75-100 g feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin wedges, 1 tablespoon olive oil, coriander seeds, a good grind of ground pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss gently with your hands until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, add the cranberries, vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a small skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. (If any liquid is still remaining, then drain).
In a large bowl, add the kale, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Using your fingers, rub the dressing into the kale leaves, until well coated, then transfer to a large serving platter. Top with the pumpkin wedges and red onion. Then sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, cranberries and crumbled feta.
- I like the taste of red onions as they are, however you can tone down their strong taste by soaking the sliced onions in ice water for 10-20 minutes before adding them to the salad.
- Tuscan kale (also called Lacinto kale) taste slightly sweeter than curly kale leaves, and it also more tender making it perfect for salads. Look for it at your local farmers market.
- I've made this a few different ways now and am not sure which version I like best. The other way I make this is to skip the fancy soaked cranberries and simply toss the Tuscan kale with a dressing made with 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (add some honey or maple syrup if you like sweeter). Then serve with chopped dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds.
Recipe adapted from the Cooking Light magazine.
If you make this Kale Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Cranberries & Feta recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t forget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!