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This roasted butternut squash salad with lentils, kale, and feta cheese brings the glory of fall right to your plate. The warm, caramelized cubes of squash perfectly unite with the hearty lentils and the refreshing crunch of kale. Packed with healthy nutrients, rich in protein, and satisfyingly filling!
If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate fall salad recipe, look no further! This dish is not just a delight for your taste buds but also a powerhouse of healthy nutrients. It’s rich in proteins and fills you up in the most delicious way.
Our roasted butternut squash salad with kale and lentils combines the flavors and textures of fall in one single dish. The butternut squash provides a pleasant sweetness and tender texture, beautifully harmonizing with the robust kale and feta. The lentils add an extra dose of protein and fiber to keep you satiated longer. A mild mustard dressing brings it all together.
A truly successful salad loaded with healthy ingredients! Serve it as a side or even as a light main course. It will enchant your guests with its fascinating variety of textures and flavors and leave you shining as a host.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how to prepare this ultimate roasted butternut squash salad recipe. Further down, you’ll find numerous variations to customize the salad to your taste. It’s always a joy to inspire you in your kitchen and encourage you to experiment.
Pro Tip: Kale leaves are often quite sturdy and slightly bitter. To soften and sweeten them, tear the leaves into small pieces and massage them with a bit of the salad dressing (or olive oil & lemon juice) for 2-3 minutes. This softens the leaves and reduces their bitterness.
See recipe card for quantities.
Visual Step-by-Step Instructions
This visual step-by-step instruction will help you along the way – definitely recommended if you’re a cooking beginner!
ROAST SQUASH & LENTILS: Wash the butternut squash, peel it, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick sheet pan. Spread the squash on one side and the lentils on the other. Mix olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle over the squash and lentils, then toss briefly. Roast in a preheated oven at 392°F (200°C) for 25 minutes.
PREPARE KALE: First remove the kale leaves from the stalk (either by hand or with a knife), then chop finely. Wash and dry thoroughly, preferably in a salad spinner. Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Massage the kale with clean hands for 2-3 minutes!
ASSEMBLE: Spread the kale on a serving platter. Add roasted lentils, squash, red onions, crumbled feta, and toasted pecans. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and serve!
Here are countless ideas on how to vary the recipe:
- Next-Level: Top the salad with pickled red onions for an extra flavor kick!
- Fruity: Add dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, or cubed apples for a touch of sweetness.
- Crunchy: Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for additional crunch.
- Cheese Swap: Not a fan of feta? Try goat cheese or shaved Parmesan cheese instead.
- Nut-free: If you’re allergic to nuts, roasted chickpeas are a great alternative.
- Vegan: Use this vegan tofu cheese alternative.
- Roast Pumpkin Salad: Use sugar pie pumpkin
- Greens: Instead of kale, use arugula or baby spinach.
- Grains: To serve it as a main, top it with cooked quinoa, farro, or bulgur.
- Off-Season: If it’s not the season for butternut squash, use roasted sweet potatoes instead.
Pop this beauty in an airtight container in the fridge, and it’ll be good for a day. Keep the dressing on the side to keep it crisp.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
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Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentils
- 1 cup (80 g) kale stems removed, roughly chopped
- ½ cup (60 g) feta cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup (30 g) pecan nuts chopped & toasted
- 1 small red onion finely sliced
ROAST SQUASH & LENTILS
- Preheat oven to 392°F (200°C).
- Wash the butternut squash, peel it, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain well.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the squash on one side and the lentils on the other.
- Mix olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle over the squash and lentils, then toss briefly.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- First remove the kale leaves from the stalk (either by hand or with a knife), then chop finely. Wash and dry thoroughly, preferably in a salad spinner.
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Spread the kale on a serving platter. Add roasted lentils, squash, red onions, crumbled feta, and toasted pecans. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and serve!
- Lentils: The quickest way is to use pre-cooked lentils. If you prefer to cook them yourself, you can prepare ⅜ cup (70g) of dried lentils according to the package instructions. I like to use green or Beluga lentils because they give the salad a nutty flavor.
- Kale: Can also be substituted with arugula or baby spinach.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for one day in the refrigerator!