This Hokkaido pumpkin and Tuscan kale salad is a delicious combination of textures and flavours — sweet, tart, crunchy and creamy. Pumpkin and kale in a lemony sumac dressing and tossed with honey-toasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds as well as crumbled goat cheese. For a splash of color and even more flavor, there are also late summer red currants or sweet-tart pomegranate seeds. This dish makes a healthy side dish or even a light meal.
Massaging raw Tuscan kale to get it salad ready
Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato kale, Palmkohl) is my favorite variety of kale and it can be found popping up at local farmers markets even in late summer. It’s fantastic in salads. All it needs is a little massage with a drizzle of olive oil (or squeeze of lemon juice) and pinch of salt. Just rub the kale leaves together between your fingers, until they JUST start to wilt. This takes all of two minutes (longer if using traditional curly kale). The result: perfectly tender leaves without having to cook them.
- When toasting the nuts/seeds, it is super important to keep a watchful eye on them, shaking the pan often so that they toast evenly. Pumpkin seeds start to puff up and even pop when they toast, so this is a good sign to know when they are done. The honey also can quickly burn so it’s important to only heat it till is STARTS to bubble. The candied nuts/deeds add tons of flavor and extra-crisp texture, so a must have in this salad.
- This salad can be served while the roasted pumpkin is warm out of the oven or at room temperature.
- I like adding something sweet-tart to this salad, like pomegranate or red currants, but you could also add a handful of coarsely chopped dried cranberries instead.
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
- Lacinato Kale Pesto – quick, easy, delicious!
- Kale Tabbouleh with Quinoa
- Sage Roasted Potato Wedges with Lacinato Kale
Or check our my recipe archive for more ideas using pumpkin and winter squash.
Roasted Pumpkin Salad and Tuscan Kale with Goat Cheese & Candied Walnuts
For the salad:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small Hokkaido pumpkin, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces (max 1 kg)
- 2/3 cup walnuts (60 g)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey (alternatively maple syrup)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse or flaky sea salt (see notes)
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped (about 6 handfuls)
- handful mint leaves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- seeds of one pomegranate or a 1-2 handfuls of red currants
- 80 g goat's cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Arrange the pumpkin on the prepared baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until well coated. Season with salt. Arrange in a single layer, careful not to crowd.
Transfer to the pre-heated oven and roast for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is golden and tender. Tossing half way through.
While pumpkin is baking, gently toast the walnuts and pumpkin seeds in a small dry skillet. Once the pumpkins seeds are puffed up, add the honey and sea salt. Once honey starts to bubble, immediately remove from heat. Watch carefully, as can be quick to burn! Transfer onto a clean sheet of baking paper to harden and cool.
In a large serving bowl, add the kale, plus a small drizzle or olive oil and pinch of salt. Massage till leaves are tender and softened (about 1-2 minutes).
In a small bowl, add the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
Add the roasted pumpkin to the bowl with massaged kale, top with mint leaves, goat's cheese, honeyed walnuts and pumpkin seeds and pomegranate or currants. Pour over dressing and serve. Enjoy!
- This pumpkin and Tuscan kale salad is tossed in a very lemony-tart dressing. If you prefer a classic dressing instead then I recommend my French dressing.
- For the honeyed-nuts/seeds, I recommend using a coarse salt like Flor de Sal do Algarve or flaky salt like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
- Ich kaufe Sumach im türkischen Laden. Aber es gibt das Gewürz auch online.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist auf Spotify.
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