Showstopping Vegan Sides: Thanksgiving Kale Salad

As vegans, we’re used to making meals out of the side dishes, so when Thanksgiving comes along–a holiday that is all about the sides–it’s nice to know a few side dishes that will really wow the other guests at dinner. People are more likely to try your vegan creations as they are passed around the table with other foods, so why not go big? If you are looking for a showstopping side for Thanksgiving this year, look no further. This kale salad is it.

Thanksgiving Kale Salad

For the salad:
1 bunch of kale, destemmed and ripped into pieces
1 cup butternut squash, cut in 1″ cubes and roasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup raw hazelnuts*, toasted and chopped

For the dressing:
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
pepper to taste

-Preheat the oven to 375 F. Peel the squash with a knife or vegetable peeler and chop into 1″ cubes. Place them in a casserole dish with some space in between the pieces and toss them in enough olive oil to coat them as well as a sprinkle of salt and pepper. (I roasted an entire squash and used 1T olive oil)
-Roast the squash for about 45 minutes, stirring at the half way point for even cooking. When it’s finished, let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. You want the squash to be slightly warm in the salad, but not hot.
-While the squash is roasting, toast the hazelnuts in the oven as well for about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready because they’ll get really fragrant. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Once they’re finished, let them cool for about 5 minutes before chopping them.
-Once the kale is destemmed and ripped into large, bite-sized pieces, wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. Place in a large mixing bowl.
-Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, and then pour onto the kale leaves. Massage the dressing into the leaves with your hands for a few minutes until the leaves are soft and wilted.
-Toss in the cranberries, chopped hazelnuts, and squash.

*If you have a nut allergy, you can add in pumpkin seeds instead. They will only take about 5-10 minutes to toast in the oven, and you don’t need to chop them before adding to the salad.

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