We love our zucchini and spaghetti squash, but we’d be lying if we said we were anything but over the moon that kabocha, butternut, and other non-summer squashes are slowly coming back in season! Although called “winter squash,” seeing these babies back on farmers market stands is an unofficial signal that the hottest months are behind us and autumn is on our heels. This recipe from green goddess Candice Kumai’s new cookbook Clean Green Eats uses roasted kabocha squash atop a bed of hearty kale leaves and quinoa – a perfectly balanced lunch or dinner, if you ask us. Get cooking on your new favorite fall recipe… 

This hearty, heartwarming salad is delish as a side dish or even as a full meal. It’s also a great base recipe to experiment with – feel free to swap out the quinoa with another healthy grain like farro, freekeh, or barley. You can also swap out the kale for arugula, the apple for pear, or the pepitas for walnut or pecan pieces. Make it your own and get creative with your cooking!

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is so good for you in so many ways – from stimulating your circulation to clearing up breakouts. It also adds a slightly sweet tang to any dressing. I love it paired with a bit of mustard and honey.

Kabocha Squash Salad with Quinoa and Kale
Serves 6


1 kabocha squash, halved, quartered and thinly sliced into ½-inch moons
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
2 cups curly kale leaves, tough stems removed, finely chopped
1 honeycrisp or Fuji apple, cored and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
¼ cup raw pepitas
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp apple cider vinaigrette

For the apple cider vinaigrette:
¼ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp manuka honey or maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, toss the squash slices with the olive oil until well coated. Spread the squash out in an even layer across the baking sheet, making sure each piece is touching the surface of the pan to ensure even browning. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, then flip the squash and roast for another 20 minutes on the opposite sides. When the squash is fork-tender, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash is roasting, make the salad: To a large bowl, add the apple cider vinaigrette, quinoa and kale and toss gently to coat. Add the slightly cooled squash, apple slices and pepitas to finish. Toss well to coat and serve immediately at room temperature.

For the apple cider vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until well combined. Store the dressing in a resealable glass jar, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

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