This roasted pumpkin kale salad is a riff on something I make all the time in autumn and winter, a vegan warm salad with some sort of roasted vegetable, lentils, greens, and a creamy tahini dressing. It’s a slightly fancier version of my everyday spicy roasted carrot salad.
Think of it as a relatively quick and easy meal for any day of the week – but it makes a really lovely side dish on a holiday table, too. If you’re planning on having a more traditional main then this is also something that’ll satisfy any veg family/friends.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lentils: use either green, black, or brown lentils here, but not red. You want them to keep their shape and some texture after cooking, so red lentils aren’t appropriate.
- Kale: any hardy green can replace kale. Chard, spinach, and rucola (rocket/arugula) are all very good options and can be used interchangeably.
- Tahini: if you don’t like tahini, almond butter or sunflower seed butter are good substitutes.
Choose a tahini you actually like. Turning it into a sauce and pouring it over roasted veggies is obviously not the same as eating straight from the jar, but it should be at least edible straight, or you won’t like the dressing either. Runny tahini is best.
The dressing does tend to thicken up significantly after sitting for a few minutes. It also has a tendency to seize if you go a little crazy with the maple syrup. Water can be added to thin it up to a point, but it will, of course, dilute the flavour. Don’t go over a tablespoon or so of water – after that, add a little more olive oil and vinegar, to thin it out.
Pomegranate is key in this recipe. You need those little acidic pops or else the salad is too rich and savoury. Apple cranberry sauce would be a good alternative, and equally festive, so if you don’t have a pomegranate around, dollops of cranberry sauce are also fine.
How to Store
Storage: keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days. This is quite good cold.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
- Think about the squash: I used a kogigu squash in these photos, and read that it doesn’t need to be peeled. It should be peeled. You can use a hokkaido and skip peeling, or try butternut, acorn, whatever you like most.
- Mix immediately: tossing the kale with the roasted pumpkin while it’s still hot wilts the kale and makes it much nicer to eat.
- Toss if you’d like: rather than topping the kale with the other elements, I often mix everything together in a big bowl and serve that way. It doesn’t look as nice, but it’s a good way to get the dressing in every nook and cranny.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Lentils, Kale, and Tahini Dressing
- 400 grams pumpkin 1/2 small pumpkin, cut into 2cm (1 in.) slices
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 300 grams cooked lentils*
- 1 bunch kale chopped, (~70 grams or 3 cups)
- ½ pomegranate seeds
Tahini Ginger Dressing
- 60 ml runny tahini
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Place the pumpkin onto a large, parchment paper lined baking sheet. Mix with the olive oil, cumin, pepper, and salt to coat.400 grams pumpkin, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Bake the pumpkin slices for 30-35 minutes, or until fork-soft and golden brown around the edges.
- While the pumpkin is in the oven, cook the lentils in well seasoned water (if they're not already cooked).300 grams cooked lentils*
- Make the dressing. Add the tahini, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a jar or container and whisk/shake until fully combined. Add a splash of water if necessary (see tips and notes in the post).60 ml runny tahini, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- When the pumpkin is ready, place the lentils and kale onto a large platter or plate. Top immediately with the roasted pumpkin (this will help to wilt the kale slightly).1 bunch kale
- Top with the tahini dressing, followed by the pomegranate seeds, and serve warm. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days and are pretty good cold.1/2 pomegranate
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally published in December 2018. It has been updated with new and more informative text, and some clarifications to the recipe, as of October 2020.