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Thanksgiving Kale Salad

Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Tahini Dressing

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


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.


  • 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)
  • 2-3 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


  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.


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.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: oven baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: thanksgiving kale salad