Winter Kale with Butternut Squash and Spiced Pecans

A plant-­‐based recipe – adapted + perfected by Adrienne Leigh Hoyt

One of my favorites-­‐ this recipes is incredibly flavorful -­‐-­‐-­‐ and bonus! you can prepare some for now and some for later based on the number of people you are serving. The leftovers are wonderful. Each element of the dish can be made ahead of time. Combine at the last minute for more textured kale, or, place the hot squash from the oven in the kale mix and allow the heat to wilt and slightly cook the kale for a different take on the dish. Dish can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. If you are watching your sugar intake, a great alternative to the candied pecans is roasted pine nuts.

Kale & Vinaigrette

  • 2 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1-­‐2 bunches large-­‐leaf kale (like Tuscan or Dinosaur), de-stemmed & ribboned splash of soy or tamari sauce ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil*
  • 1 package, spiced or candied pecans


  • 1 butternut squash, cubed-­‐ about 2 cups kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons honey + 2 tablespoons water or 2 tablespoons olive oil*

Kale preparation: This recipe is made perfect by large leaf Tuscan, Dinosaur kale or other whole whole leaf variety. You can do this part while your squash roasts: de-stem each leaf (you will need to do this even if you buy a bagged variety from the market. It seems tedious, I know, but don’t skip this step- kale stems are bitter!) Then you’ll want to roll the leaves like cigars and cut them into beautiful ribbons, no wider than a half inch. The thinner, the better. Set aside in a large bowl.

Vinaigrette preparation: “Mise en place” makes your life so much easier-­ get out all your ingredients and your measuring spoons. Like all dressings, the amounts are a guide-­ start here and then taste it-­ I usually add more mustard and lemon for more tang. In a medium bowl, add all your vinaigrette ingredients and whisk the heck out of them. Taste, tweak to your taste. Add dressing immediately to kale and toss. The longer those can hang out, the tastier they both will be.

Squash preparation: Preheat oven to 350. If you can’t find pre-­cubed squash at the market (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), you’ll need to peel, halve, de-­seed and cut your butternut squash into ½ to 1-­inch cubes. They don’t have to be perfectly uniform, but make sure they are similar so they cook at about the same rate. Toss and coat your squash with either the honey/water combination (after you have mixed them together, that is, to thin the honey out) or olive oil*, top with some kosher salt. Layer cubes evenly on a parchment or Silpat/silicone lined baking pan and then bake for about 20 minutes. Stir the pieces around halfway through baking. Once your squash is baked, add it to the dressed kale and top with your spiced pecans or pine nuts.

*Plant-­‐based note: If you consume extracted oils (olive, walnut, etc.) you can add some of that in these places (to the vinaigrette and/or to coat squash)-­‐ but note that oils are not included as part of a holistic plant-­‐based diet).

Adrienne Leigh Hoyt PhotoSometimes I Instagram my meals & plant-based snacks… you can follow me at adrienneleighhoyt.