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Squash, Lentil, and Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

Butternut Squash, Lentil & Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe

Butternut Squash, Lentil & Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
On Friday, the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining and I felt excited and hopeful that spring was almost here. I even tweeted this:

…and then about 20 minutes later, I got a winter weather alert on my phone. And, indeed, we got about an inch of snow on Saturday. I think Chris and I are now true North Carolinians because, when looking out the window at the (pitiful!) accumulation of snow, we decided it was best to stay off the roads and hunker down for the day. How soon I’ve forgotten the days of schlepping around campus at the University of Wisconsin in blizzard conditions or being unable to open the balcony door in our apartment because several feet of snow had sealed it shut.

This Squash, Lentil, and Kale Salad was supposed to be my farewell to winter post. I was going to vow to you that you wouldn’t see another kale or winter squash recipe on my blog until next fall rolls around. But after this weekend, I’m thinking it’s more fitting to call this my winter’s last hurrah post. Because as much as I want to believe that spring is almost here, it seems that Mother Nature has other ideas. (I’m not complaining either—as happy I was for the beautiful weather on Friday, it was nice getting a little snow for a change!)

Butternut Squash, Lentil & Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe

Squash, Lentil, and Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

A hearty winter salad made with kale, butternut squash, and lentils. Inspired by Real Simple's Chicken, Squash & Chickpea Salad.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 small bunch kale tough stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup pita chips


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to baking sheet and roast about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  • While squash is baking, place kale in large bowl. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, massage kale leaves until it softens and wilts, about 3–5 minutes. (Kale will taste mild when it's done.) Set aside.
  • Whisk together tahini, water, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide kale, butternut squash, lentils, and pita chips into servings bowls or plates and serve with tahini dressing.


You can use store bought pita chips in this salad or make your own with fresh pita bread. Cut the bread into small pieces and bake them for 10–15 minutes at 350°F, or until crispy, stirring halfway through baking time.
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  • Reply
    Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    February 19, 2013 at 2:12 am

    This looks great! I looks similar to another kale and lentil dish from Real Simple with steamed kale, lentils, and a tahini dressing. I’ve made that one a few times, but I think that steaming the kale is an unnecessary step if you do the dressing massage thing. I like the idea of bulking the salad up with squash. And yes, I’m officially sick of winter! We’ve had snow on the ground, and a lot of it, since mid November. I was so excited for it to show up for the contrast to the darkness, but now we’re getting our daylight back and I’m ready for spring!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 7:17 am

    I made chocolate peanut butter eggs the other day, because I am dreaming of spring so much. But it’s frigid here now! Your salad looks like a nice way to stay healthy this winter!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    February 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

    HA! That’s what the weather has been like here.. smiles, frowns, smiles, frowns.

    At least this gorgeous dish would cheer me up on nasty weather days!

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I’m totally ready for winter to be over…I so want spring time farmer’s markets! Ugh…can’t wait!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    This looks so good, great combination.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    This looks delish! I’m so ready for spring as well! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    February 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    You had me at butternut squash! I love that stuff and will happily try anything with it in there. I needed a new recipe to try with kale – this looks great!

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    February 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

    My husband shares all your recipes on facebook! This one sounds yummy!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Well, tell him thank you for me! 😀

  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Oops, I had been missing your latest posts in my reader, but I just updated my feed so its fixed now! I actually haven’t cooked any squash in quite a while – I should get my fill in before winter officially ends! I love anything with a tahini dressing…I think I’ve used a similar dressing on squash, kale, lentils, and pita chips before but never at the same time – makes total sense!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Atwood
    February 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Yummy! I’m a huge fan of butternut squash. I never thought to put it in a salad.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I’m going to pass this recipe along to my sister-in-law – it’s right up her alley.

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    February 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    this recipe has all my favorite foods – yum!!! I want to make this asap. Great site! 🙂

  • Reply
    Robin {Mom Foodie}
    February 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

    A lot of my favorite ingredients in this one & loaded with nutrients 🙂

  • Reply
    March 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I made this tonight, using spinach instead of kale. It was fab!! Thanks.

    • Reply
      March 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks for your comment–I’m glad it turned out well! 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa Klotz
    August 9, 2013 at 12:29 am

    How yummy! I love all the elements in this salad and I’m always trying to find a way to use my jar of tahini!

    • Reply
      August 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      I LOVE tahini. It’s my favorite thing to put on salads. 🙂

  • Reply
    kathy osteen
    January 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Been in a wheelchair a few months and have to get creative with simple and tasty dishes. My latest is so easy and I keep it in fridge now all the time. Make terryaki sauce with soy sauce and brown sugar and powdered ginger. Add sauce to a drained can of black beans and store in a container. If I’m busy and I need a quick bite or two of something satisfying I eat a couple of tablespoons. And also a good way to get beans in you which I’m not overly fond of-don’t really care for chile.

    • Reply
      January 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      I love teriyaki sauce, but never thought to try it with black beans. Sounds like a nice, quick lunch idea!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2015 at 5:03 am

    How do you get the lentils cooks so they are still firm? Mine are always so mushy after I cook them.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    After making this twice, I feel compelled to say it is absolutely delicious! I’m not even vegetarian but I follow a lot of your recipes because I need tasty ways to eat healthier/ heck of a lot more veggies. Until I made this last week for the first time, I’d never eaten either kale or a butternut squash before. I know…

    Anyway, I just made this for the second time this week because I dreamed about it. I needed it. I’m currently eating it and so very, very happy. My husband said he didn’t want any and I’m excited because MORE FOR ME!

    Seriously, amazing.

  • Reply
    Valerie Wang
    July 14, 2020 at 9:55 am

    What type of lentils do you recommend using? I only have regular green ones right now but heard others are less mushy when cooked and I think sound like would be more tasty paired with this salad.

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