Thank you to Whole Foods Market and Kitchen PLAY for sponsoring this post. This kale salad makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish with its mix-ins of roasted squash, cumin-spiced pecans, brie croutons, and cranberry vinaigrette.
kale salad with brie croutons, roasted butternut squash, cumin-spiced pecans and a cranberry vinaigrette

Kale salads are kind of my Thanksgiving jam.

They might not be as ooey gooey as the mallow-covered sweet tater casserole, as sweet and tangy as whole berry cranberry sauce, as creamy cheesy as a string bean gratin, or as flashy as a triple chocolate pumpkin apple salted caramel pie.

But they can hit the holiday spot just the same.


I’ve done a few variations on the kale salad in my day so I like to think that with all my “experimentation” I’ve developed a kind of method to the massaged greens madness.

And with kale, which can seem a little bit bitter and, uh, vegetal, to the untrained palate, you have to do as much as you can to offset it with a little bit of sweet and tangy if you want it to have mass appeal.


My favorite way to do that is with roasted winter squash, some sweet-smoky spiced nuts and a berry vinaigrette.

Oh, and cheese. There is no better way to win taste buds over than with a little bit of fried cheese.


It may seem like a lot of components  for just one salad, but they come together quickly and are completely worth it when you get all of them together in one bite.

No one wants to have to go running around to multiple stores when shopping for the “big day”, but luckily, Whole Foods is your one-stop shop for all of things Thanksgiving. They have all the fresh, high quality ingredients you could ever wish for, a great e-store for all of your catering and online ordering needs, and a super useful Holiday Guide to help steer you in the right direction.

In my opinion, that is straight towards the kale, winter squash, and/or the cheese counter (Bonhomme French brie = the new love of my life)….

…but, then again, I’ve tasted this salad. And am thus quite, quite biased.

In case you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed by this whole holiday cooking thing, AND would like to have a chance at winning one of TEN $50 Whole Foods Gift Cards, join us for a Twitter party next Tuesday, November 12th, at 7PM EST. Mark it down in your calendars and click here for more details!

Disclosure: Though I was compensated for this post, my thoughts and opinions, as always, are 100% my own!


One year ago…Hasselback Sweet Potato Crumbles, Coconut Semolina Cake

Two years ago…Pasta with Sage-Walnut Pesto, Winter Squash and Brussels Sprouts, Curried Root Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

Three years ago…Braised Short Ribs with Pickled Green Tomatoes and Polenta with Blue Cheese and Garlicky Chard, Carrot, Dill and White Bean Salad

Four years ago…Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Raisins, Apples and Cheese

Kale Salad with Brie Croutons, Roasted Winter Squash, Cumin-Spiced Pecans and a Cranberry Vinaigrette
This kale salad makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish with it's mix-ins of roasted squash, cumin-spiced pecans, brie croutons, and cranberry vinaigrette.
Yield: 12 servings
For the roasted squash
  • 1 kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
For the kale
  • 1 lb kale leaves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
For the cumin-spiced pecans
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
For the brie croutons
  • 6 oz brie, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • olive oil, for frying
For the cranberry vinaigrette
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss the squash chunks with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until tender. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Put the chopped kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and salt. Massage for about 3 minutes or until kale has reduced in volume by half. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the pecans with the confectioner's sugar, cumin seeds, water, and salt. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  5. To make the brie croutons, spread the bread crumbs out on a shallow plate and put the beaten egg in a small bowl. Coat the brie pieces with the egg and then dredge in the bread crumbs.
  6. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of it and heat until shimmering. Add the brie croutons to the pan and cook for 20-30 second per side, or until bread crumbs are toasted and crispy and cheese is starting to melt. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining brie croutons.
  7. For the vinagirette, puree the cranberries, honey mustard, balsamic vinegar, and sugar in a food processor or blender. Add in the olive oil and salt to taste.
  8. Toss the kale, roasted squash, pecans, brie croutons, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve.
An Eats Well With Others Original
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 small bowl


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63 Responses to Kale Salad with Brie Croutons, Roasted Butternut Squash, Cumin-Spiced Pecans and a Cranberry Vinaigrette

  1. Victoria says:

    Wow, so many awesome flavors!! Between the crisp and bitter kale and the gooey cheese and sweet squash, this is such a lovely and complex salad! I’m so intrigued!

  2. Mmm, i would never think to add squash to a kale salad. This sounds amazing. Brie croutons?! You genius! 😉

  3. There is not one single thing that I do not love about this salad. And brie croutons – I die!

  4. This looks absolutely amazing – I love grilled cheese-like croutons. This is totally up my alley. I’ll have to try – you can’t go wrong with kale!

  5. Beth says:

    How could a salad with all these amazing ingredients be anything but delicious? Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a great salad for Thanksgiving!

  7. Jessie says:

    Kale and fried cheese in the same dish? Yes, please!

  8. Brie croutons? Now that is an interesting and delicious sounding idea!

  9. I never thought this would happen but I may legitimately be freaking out over a kale salad. And then you added kabocha. I think I just died!

  10. wow Those Brie croutons!!! The salad looks fabulous with the flavour combo, Joanne.

  11. sandra says:

    What a lovely salad. I will bring this into my repertoire.

  12. Megan says:

    This salad sounds wonderful! I’m especially intrigued by those brie croutons. I love Whole Foods!

  13. gloria says:

    look so good Joanne! I have o find kale here not always I find!!

  14. SallyBR says:

    Did I hear brie croutons? I think I’ll faint.

  15. Monica says:

    Those croutons look so good! Houston’s used to make these buttermilk croutons that were so good, I’d order a salad just for the croutons. They don’t make them anymore and I miss it. These might be even better…

  16. There’s nothing I don’t love about your salad. I think it’s crazy cool how creative + healthy you are!!!

  17. Kale with squash, this makes fall even better and tastier! Great post, Joanne!

  18. Pam says:

    What a beautiful salad! So many wonderful textures and flavor in this!

  19. Kate says:

    I want to put brie croutons on EVERYTHING.

  20. Ya ya, kale salad. You’re engaged!! 😉

  21. I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe for Thanksgiving!

  22. Those brie croutons are calling my name. What an awesome salad you made!

  23. Whoa, mama! This is one sexy kale salad. Those croutons?! Mmmmm!

  24. What have I been doing living my life without some sort of cheese filled crouton??

  25. Kim Tracy says:

    I’m making a spinach salad with brie and cranberry dressing later in the week and this recipe has definitely inspired me to add some toasted and seasoned nuts of some sort. Love the idea of fried brie….could anything be more decadent? This salad looks incredible!

    Meant to get on board with the 12 weeks of winter squash today. Guess there’s always next week!

  26. Ashley says:

    Fried cheese? Sign. Me. Up.

  27. This kale salad looks so delicious 😀


  28. Ohh, yummy. The combination can never go wrong. Pinning.

  29. sandra says:

    wait, did you say a triple chocolate, pumpkin, apple, salted caramel, pie? What would that even look like???

  30. I want a big bowl of this salad!! My T-Giving dinner just went from drab to fab!

  31. I love kale.. This looks yum !!

  32. Yes times a million for kale salads!! Especially this time of year. And the tender, loving massaging is the key. Also, this cheese!! I can’t wait to get into Whole Foods this season and go hog-wild shopping. It’s one of my favorite parts of November 🙂

  33. Always looking for a new kale salad recipe. This looks awesome!

  34. Oh my goodness I want a HUGE serving of this salad.

  35. Ooh, you had me at Fried Cheese. I don’t mind the green taste of kale, but smothering it with squash and nuts and cheese can only make it better.

  36. P says:

    BRIE croutons?! How have I lived without these?!

  37. OMG I love how colorful and beautiful this salad is AND wow brie croutons! YUMMMM! This is light but at the same time looks very satisfying!

  38. Time out: fried brie croutons?! This is the Thanksgiving salad of my dreams.

  39. Oh wow! And that’s in response to your previous post. Congratulations. I wish you a life time of happiness. And I love the ring 🙂

  40. Great combination on this salad. Yummy salad.

  41. I like every single thing about this salad. (Especially the fried cheese!) 😉

  42. tigerfish says:

    I like the red speckles of cranberry on the vivid green kale….really christmas-y! 🙂

  43. Katerina says:

    I wish I had this salad right now to devour it!

  44. bellini says:

    Brie croutons..I am in love.

  45. I love kale prepared any way and this looks so yummy with all the fun additions. I am trying that dressing asap!

  46. This sounds absolutely amazing — I’m always looking for kale salad recipes rather than always throwing it into stews — especially when working with Tuscan kale, yum!

  47. @700words says:

    sounds delicious, though i could see myself eating the spiced pecans before they ever made it to the salad bowl!

  48. You had me at “fried cheese”!! Seriously, this look amazing. I was already on board the kale train, but this just made me love the vegetable that much more. Such a pleasure cooking along side you for Whole Foods!

  49. Susan says:

    I personally love kale salads, but yeah I’m going to have to add brie croutons next time around.

  50. Hannah says:

    Oowah! Wonderful! Swap the brie for blue cheese and I’m in heaven.

  51. This is all kinds of awesome — OMG. But those brie croutons have me absolutely salivating!

  52. Girl, you had me at fried cheese! I think I’ll just make a batch of those and go to town, lol. Serious nom nom 🙂

  53. The brie croutons and spiced pecans definitely adds an elegant touch to kale and squash salad! Great recipe!

  54. Shannon says:

    brie croutons? i’m drooling. YUM 🙂

  55. Did someone say fried brie croutons????

  56. […] Kale Salad with Brie Croutons, Roasted Butternut Squash, Cumin-Spiced Pecans, and Cranberry Vinaigre… from Eats Well with Others […]

  57. Lynn says:

    This all looks good, but I would be all about that fried brie. 🙂 Yum.

  58. I love kale salads. Pretty sure it will be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving menu.

  59. Love kale salads…I would love to incorporate croutons to make a vegan “caesar” kale salad!

  60. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I just love kale, I can’t get enough of it these days! Brie croutons, oh wow I am dying to get a taste of those 🙂 so perfect!

  61. That is a gorgeous salad! I love kale, but I usually saute it. I really must try this salad!

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