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Kale and Sunshine Kabocha Squash Salad

Buttery sweet sunshine kabocha squash roasted in a wash of red pepper vinaigrette, together with vitamin-rich kale that’s been massaged with the same tangy dressing, this kale and kabocha squash salad pops with inviting color and extraordinary depth of flavor.

Kale and Kabocha Squash Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette | Letty's Kitchen

Almost as an afterthought, when I prepped the kale and squash, I decided to mix in some of my roasted red pepper vinaigrette. La-ti-da–what a way to bump up the flavor of a simple seasonal salad! Tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds accent with salty crunch, and healthy hemp hearts offer a final contrasting sparkle.

The roasted red pepper vinaigrette whips up quickly in a blender and is one of our favorites dressings. If have the dressing ready and waiting in the fridge, the salad is a cinch to pull together. If you make the vinaigrette special for this recipe, count on having some left for your next weekday salad!

Sunshine kabocha squash is a varietal of regular green kabocha. Known sometimes as Japanese pumpkin, sunshine kabocha has an exceptionally sweet buttery and nutty flavor—in fact, it was bred specifically for it’s sweet qualities.

steps for Kale and Kabocha Squash Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette | Letty's Kitchen

Just like you do with delicata squash, you can leave the skin on kabocha squash, because the thin skin becomes tender and edible when cooked. What a bonus–no peeling necessary!

I learned that you don’t have to peel kabocha squash from Marcie at Flavor the Moments blog. In her recipe for Chorizo Black Bean Kabocha Squash Chili, Marcie teaches an easy and safe way to cut winter squash–using a paring knife. Simply poke a paring knife into the squash at its equator and slowly roll the squash away from you as you work the knife around.

Kale and Kabocha Squash Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette | Letty's Kitchen

If you are looking for a new and colorful Thanksgiving side dish, this autumn/winter salad is the one. Prepare it ahead of time and have it chilled in the fridge, or serve it slightly warm, mixing the goodies together as soon as the squash comes out of the oven.

Kale and Kabocha Squash Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette notes:

  • I used Lacinato kale, but any variety of kale is fine in this salad. If you want, use a pre-washed and pre-cut mixture of kale.
  • Look for sunshine kabocha squash at farmer’s markets, or ask for it at your favorite specialty produce grocery store. If you can’t find sunshine kabocha, substitute roasted sweet potatoes instead.
  • You might also like this recipe for Roasted Fall Vegetables and Tamari Tempeh.

Do you serve winter squash at your holiday table? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

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  • Maura Mark

    That sounds delicious. Thanks again Letty for your amazing recipes! Reply · 15 November, 2016

  • I’ll admit cutting winter squash can send fear through my heart. Nice tip and gorgeous salad. GREG Reply · 15 November, 2016

    • Thanks Greg! I cut an acorn squash with a paring knife last night. So much safer! Reply · 17 November, 2016

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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