Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Tahini Dressing

This festive, flavorful and hearty plant-based Thanksgiving kale salad looks gorgeous on any holiday table.  It is full of texture from seasonal ingredients that everyone craves this time of year.  The creamy dairy-free maple tahini dressing ties everything together perfectly.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad

Have you ever been asked to bring salad to Thanksgiving but want to do more than just lettuce, carrots, tomato and balsamic dressing?  This Thanksgiving Kale Salad feels extra special for a holiday table and will wow your friends and family for the big feast.  It is full of incredible texture and flavor from the seasonal ingredients.  This hearty salad definitely adds a welcomed pop of color and every bite is so delicious and satisfying.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad Deconstructed

This salad has everything that makes me think of Thanksgiving and fall… toasted maple pecans, plump and sweet dried cranberries, salty and crispy roasted sweet potatoes and fresh juicy pear.  You could even add crispy quinoa or roasted chickpeas to make this more of a vegan entree.  It is most definitely not a sad salad!  It brings seasonal freshness, vibrant colors and so much flavor to your Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad Deconstructed Close Up

I personally love kale because it is sturdier than other salad greens.  It works well with hearty toppings like roasted sweet potatoes and pecans.  And, it doesn’t get soggy right away so it travels well if you are bringing this along to a gathering.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad

What are the health benefits of kale?

Kale is low in calories and provides plant-based iron, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, fiber and loads of antioxidants.  One cup of kale contains well over 20% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A and C.  My favorite kale is lacinato (or dino) kale because it is less bitter than curly kale.  I also prefer the texture of it.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad

What are the health benefits of sweet potatoes?

This dish also features sweet potatoes, one of my favorite veggies.  Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (one serving has 240% of your Daily Value).  Vitamin A plays an important role in vision and bone growth while also helping to regulate the immune system to help prevent or fight off infections.  Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber and potassium.

The perfect dressing for this Thanksgiving Kale Salad

The creamy tahini dressing really takes the salad to another level.  It is simple to make but so unique and unexpected in flavor.  It provides a welcomed touch of creaminess and sweetness.  It is a hearty and thick dressing and the kale leaves stand up to it well.

I love adding tahini to my diet wherever possible since it provides so many nutrients and works with so many dishes.  Tahini is made with sesame seeds, a plant-based source of protein, iron and calcium which is great for vegans.  They also provide omega 3, omega 6, magnesium and B-vitamins.  I add tahini to dressings, hummus and drizzle it on top of grain bowls and roasted vegetables.

Want more addictive and easy vegetable side dish recipes in your life?

If you are a vegetable lover like me, you are always looking for the next best recipe that takes vegetables to the next level.  Here are some of my favorite simple vegetable side dishes for you to try (they are all vegan, soy-free and gluten-free):

  1. Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  2. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash 
  3. Whole Roasted Rainbow Carrots Over Creamy Hummus with Green Tahini Sauce
  4. Baked Crispy Cauliflower Poppers
  5. Roasted Green Cabbage with Green Tahini Sauce 
  6. Hemp Seed Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce 
  7. Garlic & Chive Roasted Vegetables
  8. Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs
  9. 10 Tips for Actually Crispy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

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Thanksgiving Kale Salad

Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Tahini Dressing


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

This festive, flavorful and hearty plant-based Thanksgiving kale salad looks gorgeous on any holiday table.  It is full of texture from seasonal ingredients that everyone craves this time of year.  The creamy dairy-free maple tahini dressing ties everything together perfectly.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale (also known as dino kale), large stems removed and finely chopped

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour/starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • flaky sea salt or kosher salt (sprinkled at the end after roasting)

For the Maple Roasted Pecans

  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

More Salad Toppings

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced (skin on)
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • flaky sea salt

Maple-Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup tahini (fresh, runny tahini works best)
  • 23 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a half baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place finely chopped kale in a large mixing bowl and set aside as you prepare the toppings.
  3. For the Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Toss cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, arrowroot powder and pepper until fully and evenly coated. Spread the potatoes out so they are not touching one another otherwise they will steam and get soggy. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, toss well and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.  Watch closely at the end to avoid browning.  Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then toss with a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
  4. For the Maple Roasted Pecans: Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Place pecans on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and add maple syrup and salt.  Toss to coat well and spread out on the baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes until fragrant.  Watch closely so the pecans do not burn.  Remove pecans from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet.
  5. For the Maple-Tahini Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup and whisk with a mini-whisk until smooth.  Add more water to thin out if needed.  Pour over kale salad just before serving and toss until dressing is evenly distributed.
  6. Assemble Your Salad: Add all ingredients (roasted sweet potatoes and pecans, dried cranberries, pear slices and shallot slices) to the salad and toss well.  Taste and sprinkle with additional flaky sea salt if desired.
  7. This salad is best when served fresh when the sweet potato and pecans are still warm.

Notes

Kale Selection: My personal favorite type of kale to use is lacinato (or dino) kale (as opposed to curly kale).  I find it to be less bitter and have a more pleasant texture than curly kale.  I like to chop it finely for best results.

Nut-Allergy? If you have a nut allergy you can substitute raw pepitas for the pecans.

Make Ahead: You can make the dressing in advance.  If you do, you will need to whisk in a bit of filtered water before serving as it will thicken in the refrigerator.

Cranberries: If your cranberries are very dry, hard and shriveled you can re-hydrate them by soaking them in boiling water for a couple minutes before adding to the salad.  Be sure to thoroughly drain and pat dry before adding to your salad.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: oven baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: thanksgiving kale salad

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