This Kale Harvest Salad is packed with all of the best fall flavours. A shredded brussel sprout and kale base topped with crisp apples, roasted butternut squash, bacon and crumbled feta. Drizzled with a flavourful maple dijon dressing!
Why I love this butternut squash salad with feta
Despite popular opinion, I am a firm believer that salad season doesn't need to end when the summer does. There is something so comforting about a good fall salad. Packed with fresh fall produce, tossed in a warm flavourful dressing these are the salad I get most excited for.
Which is why I am so excited to present to you my absolute favourite fall go-to salad. This kale harvest salad. This is truly a fall salad that will impress everyone.
Here are three of my favourite things about this fall salad recipe:
The dressing- The maple dijon dressing is AMAZING. The perfect balance between sweet and spicy, the maple and dijon flavours work so well together it's the perfect dressing to compliment the fresh fall flavours.
The base- Rather than using arugula, lettuce or a typical spinach base for this salad, I chose to make this a kale and shaved sprout salad recipe. This is a great way to make the salad more filling but also ensure it doesn't get soggy. Making it the perfect stand alone main dish or addition to a holiday potluck!
It's customizable- As with all my favourite salad recipes, this fall salad can be completely customized to your liking. Sub in your favourite vegetables, add in your favourite nuts/ seeds, quinoa or even add your favourite protein to give this salad a unique and filling flair.
It's seasonal- I love choosing my produce by whats in season. Did you know that buying produced based on what's in season is a great way to save money? Costs of local produce are decreased because it's more readily available and the transport costs are lower! So by taking advantage of seasonal fall produce, we are not only supporting our local farmers BUT we are also saving our wallets some extra money.
Ingredients needed for this brussel sprout salad recipe
We take advantage of all the seasonal fall produce in this recipe!
Brussel sprouts- Arguably my favourite autumn seasonal veggie! I know this may be controversial but I LOVE brussel sprouts. If you still haven't tried my famous air fryer brussels you NEED to. The key to making this brussel sprout salad recipe is to THINLY slice your sprouts. Use a mandolin if you have one or slice the sprouts width-wise for best results. If you absolutely cannot stand brussels, you can just add more kale (though I really urge you to try them)!
Kale- The secret to the best non-soggy salad base is using a combination of kale and shredded brussel sprouts. To ensure you have the best tasting kale harvest salad I recommend massaging your chopped kale in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes prior to adding to the salad. If you've ever had a bitter tasting kale salad, it probably just wasn't massaged well enough. So don't skip this! tip: You can buy pre chopped kale or you can chop it yourself, just remember we only want the kale LEAVES in this recipe- not the stems!
Dried cranberries- I love adding dried cranberries to fall salad bowls. They add the perfect amount of sweetness and really bring the salad together. Another great option would be dried cherries or even pomegranate seeds!
Apple- Like I said, we are using all the seasonal produce! Choose your favourite sweet apple variety (such as honeycrisp, jonagold or royal gala) for a touch of crisp sweetness in this kale harvest salad.
Bacon- To make this recipe as inclusive as possible, the bacon is completely optional. Feel free to leave it out if you would like. However I love the combination of a little crispy bacon with shredded brussel sprouts! Tip: I always like to place my bacon on a paper towel after cooking to remove some of the excess grease!
Butternut squash- The carbohydrate of choice in this butternut squash salad with feta! This is a great recipe to use up leftover squash. You have two choices. You can either use a fresh butternut squash and peel/ cut it yourself (tips on how to do this are in this post)- I have also seen pre-cut butternut squash packs at the store! Or you can buy frozen butternut squash. If you choose to use frozen, I recommend to cook them straight from frozen! Choose your favourite go-to way of roasting butternut squash, my personal favourite (and easiest) way is in this post! Another great option is using sweet potato!
Feta cheese- A touch of salty cheesy goodness is needed in every salad in my opinion. If you aren't a feta lover, goat cheese will also work beautifully in this salad!
Chopped almonds- For a little crunch. Slivered almonds, pecans, chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds will also work!
Maple dijon dressing- The star of the show in my opinion. Made with just four ingredients, this dressing is SO good it's my new go-to fall dressing! Tip: choose a grainy mustard for the best flavour!
How to make a kale harvest salad
If you are looking for the easiest fall salad this recipe is for you! It takes less than 15 minutes to prep and makes a big batch so you can store it for the entire week.
Step one: Gather your ingredients. This is the hardest step because it involves the most, hands-on time. I recommend starting by roasting your squash if you haven't already done that. You can roast your butternut squash in less than 15 minutes by following my ultimate air fryer butternut squash recipe (there are also oven instructions included as well). While your squash is roasting, chop your kale leaves and massage them in some olive oil. This helps soften the leaves, leaving you with a less bitter kale flavour!
For the next part of your salad base you will need to shred your brussel sprouts. I recommend using a mandolin CAREFULLY if you have one to shred the sprouts, or using a knife to cut them up as thinly as possible. Tip: if you are using a knife cut them width wise for best results!
Finally it's time to prep the remainder of your toppings, dice your apples, crumble your feta cheese, cook up your bacon (or use pre-made bacon bits), and grab your dried cranberries and chopped almonds.
Make your dressing by whisking together the dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, oil and maple syrup. Another way is to add all the ingredients into a mason jar, seal it and shake it up!
Step 2: bring it all together. Add all your ingredients to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the maple dijon dressing and toss to combine!
TIP: allow the salad to sit for 15 minutes prior to serving, to absorb the flavours and for the brussel sprouts to soften!
This is one of the only salad recipes that I would say actually tastes better the longer you leave it! Time allows the kale and brussel sprouts to soften and absorb more of the flavour from the dressing creating the perfect flavourful fall salad! This kale harvest salad stores best in a sealed airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
As this salad was made with a non-lettuce base it makes the perfect non-soggy salad. This is great as it can be made hours (or even days) in advance of when you need it making it the perfect option for a workday lunch or potluck addition!
- Add grilled chicken and quinoa for a balanced fall lunch
- Pair it with your favourite lean meat and carbohydrate choice for a weeknight dinner
- Bring it to a holiday potluck as a side dish
- Add it to a wrap with some turkey meat for an easy lunch
More autumn inspired recipes
If you love this fall salad with maple dijon dressing I highly recommend you check out some of my other favourite cozy autumn inspired recipes:
- buffalo chicken spaghetti squash
- Italian ratatouille
- zucchini pasta bake
- dill pickle salad
- loaded sweet potato nachos
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this kale harvest salad, don't forget to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Fall Kale Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing
- 1 lb (453g) brussel sprouts thinly sliced
- 3 cups chopped kale leaves massaged in 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup butternut squash roasted
- ¼ cup bacon crumbled
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup apple (choose a sweet variety) diced
- ⅓ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
Maple Dijon Dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- Prepare your salad base by thinly slicing your brussel sprouts and massaging your kale in olive oil.
- Prep your toppings by dicing your apples, roasting your butternut squash and cooking your bacon until crispy.
- Whisk together maple dijon dressing ingredients.
- Combine all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with maple dijon dressing. Toss to coat.
- Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, taste and adjust if desired.