Get Baked: Winter Kale Salad

I would love to be one of those people who so enjoys eating salads that they just can’t bear to part with them in the dead cold of winter. In actuality, salads do not really feel like real food to me, and in winter all I want out of life is a bowl full of warm things, even if it is just “microwaved spaghetti-os.” But sometimes I realize it’s been three weeks since I ate anything green that wasn’t a Lifesaver, and also that my hands are sort of shaking and I might have scurvy, and oh look there’s a bunch of kale in the fridge, maybe I should eat that. But since eating a bowl full of cold greens when it’s eight degrees outside is depressing, here is a salad that’s nutritious and filling and (kind of) warm.

Winter Kale Salad


1 bunch kale
1 squash (I used butternut, but acorn or kabocha or even delicata would be good), peeled and cubed
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
6 oz mushrooms
1 small onion
Some sort of cheese would probably be good if you eat cheese, I leave that up to you


dijon mustard
red wine vinegar
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cubed squash with a few tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange squash in a layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or so, stirring every 10 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time, and you can keep the cooked squash in the fridge if you don’t care about it being warm.)

2. While the squash roasts, tear up or roughly chop your kale into a bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the leaves and use your hands to work it through the kale, gently squeezing and scrunching the greens. Within a few minutes the kale should have broken down visibly to become sort of wilted.

3. Heat a small dry pan on the stove and toss the walnuts in it for a few minutes, or until they are slightly browner and smell very walnutty.

4. Slice the mushrooms and onions (I prefer doing the onions in rings, but have no real reason for this) and sautee for eight minutes or so in a little bit of olive oil, or until soft.

5. Roughly now-ish the squash should be done; take it out and let it cool for a minute while you make the dressing. Unfortunately I cannot really advise you as to amounts for the dressing, because I am bad at measuring things. I would recommend mixing some amount of mustard with some amount of vinegar, salt and pepper, and perhaps some minced garlic or herbs if you like, and then drizzling some olive oil in while you stir it with a fork. Taste to see if you like the ratio of everything, and adjust if not!

6. Mazel tov! Now you can combine all the ingredients in a bowl together, and toss with the dressing. Eat while it’s still warm and delicious! The good news is that you can just stick any leftovers in the fridge, as the kale is hardy enough that it won’t get gross and slimy if it sits in the dressing overnight. Enjoy being able to survive a few more days of winter without your teeth falling out or needing to be hospitalized for malnutrition after eating only pasta and ramen for six weeks!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I’m really starting to wish the salad I brought to work for lunch were this instead! I recently had the “you can’t survive the entire winter on frozen pizza” chat with myself…so anything in the realm of salad is a step in the right direction! Warm salad sounds even better…with bread…kinda like a pizza!

  2. Well now I’ve got dinner covered..But I’m going to toss in some quinoa because I need the extra protein

  3. I live in a co-op. We have SO much kale. Yesterday we made three different types of kale chips. We still have SO much kale. This will be happening to the kale.

      • One kind was garlic, cheddar, parmesan. One kind was honey, maple-pepper (maple-pepper is a real thing). And the BEST kind was nutritional yeast (which only sounds weird!)

        • Nutritional Yeast is the best. So is kale. I love kale chips. Once I made kale chips with nooch and cayenne and it was the best.

          I love many things about this post. I want to make this salad and add nooch to it. Right now. I’m so sad that I used all of my kale in a tofu scramble this weekend.

          • Wait I could just google this (I probably will after I post this comment) but what is nooch!?!?!

          • Well now I just feel silly. Non-vegans who don’t feel like googling: nooch = nutritional yeast. Or, according to Urban Dictionary, “Nutritional yeast, the pungent yellow vitamin B-12-filled flakes loved by vegans everywhere.” Sigh. I’m such a bad fake-vegan.

          • Not to worry. You can still redeem yourself and join our ranks by doing one of the following:
            a. Make your own seitan this week and post updates to Facebook.
            b. Start a 2 month juice cleanse and tweet your progress.
            c. Create a food blog and rant about the lack of vegan options at chain restaurants.

            Choose wisely.

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