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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
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    February 18, 2013 at 7:59 am

    This sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    February 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This looks so good. I have some butternut squash cubed and ready to add to chili today, but now I want to hijack it and make this instead!

    Winter just keeps hanging on, doesn’t it? Soon. Spring is coming soon … please, let it come soon.

    • Reply
      February 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

      I know, I feel like I shouldn’t complain because it doesn’t get too cold here, but the dreariness! Oh, the dreariness. I get so excited whenever the sun comes out for a bit, even if the temperatures are in the 40s…

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I am feeling the same way – while I have enjoyed our winter, around this time I start to get antsy for spring. I shared an ice cream recipe today 😉

    this salad is beautiful, and looks like something I would make! I WILL make…

    Happy Monday, hope you get more of that pre-spring sun!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

    What is tahini and where can I find it?

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds. You should be able to find it at any grocery store–it’s usually either sold in the ethnic aisle with the Middle Eastern foods or by the peanut butter.

  • Reply
    a farmer in the dell
    February 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

    This is totally my kind of salad! I’m making this either tonight or tomorrow. I have everything on hand! I for one am dying for SPRING!!!

  • Reply
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health
    February 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I am so ready for spring weather. We had a wonderful weather yesterday and finally was able to enjoy some sun, run outside, and drink bubble tea 🙂 However, even if its summer/spring, I am going to hold on to kale 😛

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    What’s up with this weather? We have had a pretty mild winter and then we had temperatures in the 30s the last couple of nights. I have been wanting to try a tahini dressing forever, this salad looks great, Kiersten!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Yeah, I think we brought cold weather back with us from Illinois–it was in the 30s when we got home! Luckily today is back in the 60s…

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Aw, hope your weather improves soon! I’m definitely feeling lucky to be in California this February! 😉

    Loving that salad…looks so fresh and delicious! I’m a huge fan of tahini. 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    February 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Definitely my salad! Love sesame dressing.

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits
    February 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I’m cold just reading that! It’s “cold” here when it gets below 65.
    That salad dressing looks amazing, I bet it’s incredible on just about everything. I kind of want to dip sweet potato fries in it.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Following In My Shoes
    February 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Move to Texas…. never a Winter Alert here!

    I’m going to try that dressing — I have been trying to figure out how to remake my favorite Tahini based dressing from Trader Joe’s. I miiiiiiisssssss it now that my bottle is empty (and the closes store is NOT close).

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I feel your pain–our Trader Joe’s is about 40 minutes away, which isn’t THAT far, but we only end up going there a few times a year…

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    February 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I was hunkering down at home too! I certainly am not afraid of driving in snowy conditions, but I’m afraid of those who can’t and I don’t want to be on the same roads they are. That looks positively delightful.

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Exactly! That’s what Chris says too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    February 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    looks so pretty and colorful! Wonderful photos 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer The Quirky Momma
    February 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    The photos are gorgeous, like always! I love the color pops, green and orange foods are so lovely and inviting.

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    February 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    We’ve been having a lot of strange days like that… beautiful, clear skies and then the clouds come in and we get 6 inches (or more) of snow.

    Loving this kale salad. Hearty, yet healthy.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I love tahini dressing – and all the ingredients in this nutrient packed salad!

  • Reply
    Virginia from That Bald Chick
    February 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Oh my yum!

  • Reply
    Rochelle @
    February 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, this is like, all of my favorite foods in one bowl. Yum!

  • Reply
    Freda Love Smith
    February 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This looks like the perfect consolation prize for the dragged out days of winter! Thanks for including the pita chips recipe – I’ve got extra pita bread around and now I know what I’ll do with it. Definitely making this salad soon!

  • Reply
    Meghan @JaMonkey
    February 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Gah, even foods I don’t like look appetizing when you make them!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Super healthy salad, it looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Yes, I would eat this. I love tahini dressing and have never made it, I thought it would be super difficult. Will have to give it a go


  • Reply
    Diana @ Eating Made Easy
    February 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Came across your website via Pinterest! What a gorgeous website you have!! I’ve recently started cutting out most all meat, happy to have found your blog.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 12:48 am

    This salad has all sorts of amazing going on! From all the healthful ingredients to the tahini dressing. SWOON! I normally don’t say that about salads, but SWOON! Looks like a total winner and perfect comforting salad for the cold weather! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary @ Fit and Fed
    February 19, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Ha! You know where I live– the Northwest– winter dreary is one of our specialties. I hope it is not quite so bad in North Carolina. But a salad like this is going to remain appropriate for me for a long time: spring produce happens really late around here. I love both butternut squash and a bold, thick salad dressing that can really stand up to kale, so this looks really good, especially with the added crunchy pita chips. By the way, I think you are smart to stay off the snowy roads when you are not somewhere like the Midwest where people are really used to it.

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