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There was a time not all that long ago that I rarely ate squash. Most of the preparations I had tried were of the “candied” variety served around Thanksgiving and I didn’t care much for the sweetness or the mushy texture of the squash. But when I started trying to eat more seasonally I gave roasting squash a try and was immediately hooked. While I tend to think most vegetables are delicious when roasted, it’s the only way I’ll cook squash. It caramelizes and gains just a bit of crispiness while still being soft inside. So good. And this sage-roasted pumpkin and kale salad is no exception. All the flavors of fall in one simple little salad.

Sage Roasted Pumpkin and Kale Salad
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Thanks to the quinoa and kale base, this makes a great lunch salad as-is. Or toss in some roasted chicken or chickpeas to bump it up a bit. The sage-roasted pumpkin would also make an amazing side dish for any upcoming holiday festivities. Even if those “festivities” consist of you eating by yourself while watching holiday movies. Or maybe while having a virtual Thanksgiving video call with your friends and family? Honestly, how is 2020 even real at this point?

Sage Roasted Pumpkin
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Sage-Roasted Pumpkin And Kale Salad Notes

  • I used pumpkin in this recipe but any winter squash variety will do. And, honestly, you won’t even have to adjust the recipe. All winter squash cook similarly enough.
  • Instead of quinoa, you could also opt for rice or any other grain you like. Or leave the grains out completely for a nice side salad option.
  • The nuts can also be swapped out for anything you have on hand. They just add a nice crunch to the dish. Same goes for the cheese. 
  • Feta or blue cheese crumbles would also be bomb with this squash salad. Or leave the cheese off completely for an easy vegan option. 
  • I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again — you’ve gotta massage the kale. It makes a world of difference when using kale in any salad. It’s extra effort, yes, but it’s 100% worth it.
Roasted Pumpkin Grain Salad
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Sage-Roasted Pumpkin And Kale Salad

This sage-roasted pumpkin and kale salad is the embodiment of fall and a unique spin on the classic flavors of the holiday season.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Servings 6 as a side


  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Toasted pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese, for serving
  • Pinch of sald


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a very sharp knife, very carefully cut the top off the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin cut-side down and then cut it into quarters. Remove the seeds and then cut each quarter into four slices. Toss the sliced pumpkin in one tablespoon of avocado oil then place them on the baking sheet.
  • Mix the remaining one tablespoon of avocado oil, maple syrup, minced sage, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush each slice with the herb mixture.
  • Place the pumpkin in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender and golden brown on both sides.
  • Rinse the quinoa well with water and let drain for several minutes. Put the quinoa in a dry stockpot over medium heat. Stirring frequently, let the water cook off and then allow the quinoa to toast for a few minutes. Once quinoa has turned just a bit golden and is started to smell nutty, add the stock into the pot. Bring back to a boil, if necessary, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let quinoa simmer for 20 minutes until stock has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked through and fluffy. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Rinse kale and then remove the leaves from tough stems. Tear leaves into bite-size pieces and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then massage the kale until it turns a deep shade of green and has reduced in volume by at least half.
  • Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a small jar and shaking vigorously.
  • Add the quinoa to the kale with about half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
  • Spread the quinoa mixture over a large serving platter, then top roasted pumpkin slices. Serve with toasted pine nuts, goat cheese, and remaining vinaigrette.
Keyword grain salad, Kale, Pumpkin, Quinoa
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