Italian Recipes

Autumn harvest salad with butternut squash, kale, apples and cranberries

November 19, 2021

If you love cooking as much as I do, it’s impossible not to celebrate the arrival of each new season. Every season is a festival for certain types of fruit and vegetables, and it is impossible for me to pick a favorite season. I love the large varieties of leafy vegetables that are available each fall. My favorites are kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli raven. I’ve been obsessed with kale salad lately and have had one with different vegetables for lunch every day for the past two weeks. Leafy vegetables are low in calories and full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

Along with my favorite vegetables, every store and greengrocer has a great variety of winter squash, and we love them so much that we seem to be eating a variety of squash every day this month. Winter squash is very healthy for you as it is an excellent source of beta carotene, a good source of fiber and vitamin C, and best of all, it is low in calories. Some of the most common varieties of winter squash are squash, acorn, butternut, turban, hubbard, delicata, and of course the unique spaghetti squash that can be used in place of noodles after cooking.

For this sadly inspired fall, I combined roasted butternut squash, kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, diced apples, dried cranberries, and candied pecans that I buy at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find candied pecans, regular pecans or walnuts will work fine. This salad has a lot of texture, is full of flavor, and hearty enough to be a main course if you’re trying to incorporate a few meatless days into your weekly menu. To garnish this salad I needed something alive to bring all of the flavors together and combined apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a little Dijon mustard for my vinaigrette. This salad is an ideal choice as a starter or first course for Thanksgiving or any other fall celebration.

Bon Appetit!
Deborah Mele revised 2021


  • 1 1/2 pounds of diced butternut squash

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

  • salt pepper

  • 5 cups of kale, ribs removed and cut into small pieces

  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 1 large apple, pitted and diced

  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

  • 3/4 cup candied pecans, roughly chopped (see notes above)


  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Mix the diced pumpkin with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the pumpkin on the baking sheet and sauté for about 20 minutes until tender.
  4. Cool the pumpkin to room temperature.
  5. Place the kale and sprouts in a large bowl and rub the greens with your fingertips for a few minutes so it becomes soft.
  6. Put the cooled pumpkin, apple, cranberries and pecans in the bowl.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, oil, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional information:

Yield: 6th

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Amount per serving:

Calories: 413Total fat: 26gSaturated fatty acids: 4gTrans fat: 0gUnsaturated fat: 21gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 199mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 9gSugar: 26gProtein: 6g

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