Kale, Squash and Fennel Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing

This kale salad brings together butternut squash, fresh fennel, pomegranate seeds and walnuts for a nourishing winter salad. Finished with a deliciously creamy and dairy-free orange tahini dressing!

a large bowl of kale, squash and fennel salad and a small bowl of fresh pomegranate seeds.

I love salads, but come winter time I’m usually looking for one that is a little heartier and filled with lots of textures and flavours. This salad completely hits the mark for me! It combines massaged kale, crispy fennel, toasted walnuts, roasted butternut squash, and fresh pomegranate seeds for a little added sweetness.  

Since a good salad is nothing without a flavourful dressing, I’ve paired it with an orange tahini dressing. This dressing is one of my favourite parts of the salad – citrusy, creamy and super delicious. It really gives the salad an instant boost of flavour and brightens it up! 

Ingredients needed for the salad 

  • kale: I used curly green kale but you could also use lacinato/dinosaur kale.
  • butternut squash: you can roast it in the oven or use your air fryer! 
  • fennel: I love the flavour and crunch of raw fennel, but if you’re not a fan, or are just craving a little more cooked veggies, feel free to roast it first. This really mellows out those licorice notes.
  • pomegranate seeds: I recommend seeding them from a fresh pomegranate for the freshest flavour. I find the best way to do this is to cut the pomegranate in quarters, submerge them in a bowl filled with water, and then remove the seeds They should separate fairly easily this way. 
  • walnuts: toasting them helps to bring our their earthiness and adds a nice crunch to the salad. Feel free to use pecans, or for a nut free version, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. 
  • orange tahini dressing: a delicious, flavourful dressing made with tahini, fresh orange, apple cider vinegar, garlic, dijon and honey. 

Recipe tips 

  • massage the kale: as weird as it might sound to massage your greens, don’t skip this step! Massaging the kale really helps break down the tough fibres, making it tastier and much easier to digest. Massage until it has a softer texture and just starts to wilt. Be careful not to over-massage though or you’ll end up with mushy kale!
  • how to serve: this kale salad makes a nutritious side for your next dinner. You can also top it with a protein like salmon, chicken or some crunchy chickpeas to make it a meal on it’s own. 
  • storing leftovers: the great part about using kale as your base is that it holds up really well, even with dressing on it. Fully dressed, it should last in the fridge for about 1-2 days, but you can also store the dressing and salad separately and then toss before serving to keep the kale a little more crisp. 

Kale, Squash and Fennel Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing

Recipe by Emily MaudeCourse: Sides, Dinner


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This kale salad brings together butternut squash, fresh fennel, pomegranate seeds and walnuts for a nourishing winter salad. Finished with a deliciously creamy and dairy-free orange tahini dressing.


  • 1 large bunch kale, washed, dried, ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1.5 lbs), peeled and cut into cubes

  • Avocado or olive oil

  • Sea salt and pepper

  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

  • Pomegranate seeds from 1 medium to large pomegranate

  • 1/2 cup dry toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

  • Orange Tahini Dressing
  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/2 tsp orange zest

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, strained

  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)

  • 1-2 tbsp water, as needed

  • sea salt and pepper to taste


  • Roast the Squash: Preheat oven to 425F. Place butternut squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and roast for another 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  • Massage the Kale: Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and gently massage kale with your hands for 2-3 minutes or until the texture becomes softer.
  • Toast the Walnuts: Break the walnuts into bite-sized pieces and place them in a dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant (careful not to let them burn!). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients, except the water, and whisk to combine. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a dressing consistency.
  • Assemble the Salad: Add most of the squash, fennel, pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts to the kale, reserving some for the top of the salad. Add about half of the dressing and toss to combine. Add more dressing as needed (you will likely have some left over). Taste salad and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining squash, fennel, pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts.


  • Leftovers will keep for a day or two in the fridge in an air tight container.

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