Autumn Kale Salad with Chicken

With roasted butternut squash, apples, walnuts, and goat cheese with a maple-Dijon vinaigrette, this healthful fall Kale Salad with Chicken is a must-try.

Kale Salad

Fall Kale Salad with Chicken

This nutritious fall chopped salad blends warm autumn ingredients in a light, crisp, and refreshing chopped salad. The only cooking required is roasting the butternut squash and rotisserie chicken. And because kale is filling and doesn’t wilt in the fridge, it’s an excellent make-ahead dish.

Why This Chicken Kale Salad Works

  • Delicious: This kale salad with chicken dish blends a variety of tastes and textures to create a salad you’ll want to eat all autumn. Tart craisins, crisp apples, creamy goat cheese, robust kale, sweet butternut squash, juicy chicken, and crunchy nuts all contribute something unique.
  • High Protein: The chicken, almonds, butternut squash, and cheese all contribute protein, with each serving containing 30 grams.
  • Healthy: Aside from a substantial quantity of protein, the fruits and vegetables in this salad provide a range of vitamins and minerals. It also has 8.5 grams of fiber and just 504 calories.
  • Gluten-Free: If you’re gluten-free, you won’t want to miss out on this salad! Gluten is naturally absent from all of the components.
  • Make Ahead: Because kale salad does not get mushy, it is ideal for meal prep. Make the salad once and eat it for lunch for several days.

Autumn Kale Salad Ingredients

Kale Salad
  • Butternut Squash: Cut 12 ounces of butternut squash into half-inch cubes. To save time, get pre-cut squash from the grocer.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the squash before roasting
  • Fall Salad Vinaigrette with Kale: Salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard
  • Kale: Five cups of shredded kale are required.
  • Apple: Crisp, sweet apples like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady are my favorites for kale salads. Just before serving, slice the apple.
  • Toasted and chopped pecans: Toast and cut a third cup of nuts.
  • Dried Fruit: Dried cranberries (craisins) or golden raisins can be used.
  • Chicken: Dice the breast flesh from a rotisserie chicken. Go for it if you have leftover chicken or want to prepare your own chicken.
  • Goat CheeseSprinkle two ounces of goat cheese over the salad.

How to Make Kale Salad with Chicken

  • Toss the butternut squash with a teaspoon of oil, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and an eighth teaspoon of black pepper. Spread it out on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper and roast for 30 to 40 minutes at 400°F.
  • Massage the Kale: Drizzle a spoonful of olive oil over the kale and massage it for about three minutes to tenderize it.
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette: Combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and the remaining salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil gradually, stirring until combined.
  • Prepare the Salads: Divide the massaged kale among four serving dishes. Add a quarter of the roasted butternut, chopped apple, nuts, craisins, chicken, and goat cheese to the top. 1 12 tablespoons should be added to each salad.
Kale Salad
Kale Salad


  • Squash: Butternut squash can be substituted for sweet potato or acorn squash.
  • Protein: Replace the chicken with salmon or deli turkey for protein.
  • Cheese: Use goat cheese instead of feta or blue cheese.
  • Dairy-Free: To make it dairy-free, leave off the goat cheese.
  • Pear: Replace the apple with a pear.
  • Dried Fruit: Substitute apricots, dates, or currants for the dried fruit.
  • Nuts: Instead of pecans, try walnuts or almonds.
  • Vinegar: Replace the apple cider vinegar with balsamic or white vinegar.
  • Sweetener: Use honey or agave instead of maple syrup.


Best Type of Kale for Salads

Lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale) and curly kale are the two most common varieties of kale. Lacinato is preferable for salads since it is more tender.

Massaging Kale for Salad

It is critical to massage kale for salads! It softens the rough leaves, making them more appetizing. Simply pour a little amount of oil or dressing over the kale and massage it for a few minutes, or until it turns a darker green and softer.

Does the dressing make the kale soggy?

Kale is a hearty leafy green for salads that does not go soggy when dressed. It really becomes more tender the longer it rests in the dressing, making it ideal for meal prep or party serve.

How to Meal Prep Kale Salad

If you make this quick kale salad with chicken the same day you buy the rotisserie chicken, it will keep for up to four days. Cooked chicken only lasts four days in the refrigerator, so enjoy the salad sooner if your chicken is older. To keep the salad as fresh as possible, refrigerate it in airtight containers and add the pecans and apples immediately before serving.

Kale Salad

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Recipe Card

Fall Kale Salad with Chicken

Fall Kale Salad with Chicken

This high-protein Autumn Kale Salad with Chicken is created with roasted butternut squash, kale, apples, walnuts, and goat cheese in a maple-Dijon vinaigrette.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 12 ounces diced butternut squash 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 5 cups shredded kale I like lacinato kale
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium apple such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened craisins or golden raisins
  • 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2 ounces goat cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, toss with butternut. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Combine the kale and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large mixing basin. Massage the oil into the kale for about 3 minutes to help tenderize it.
  • Whisk together the vinegar, syrup, and mustard with 12 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to produce the vinaigrette. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and whisk until combined.
  • Cut the apple into 12-inch chunks just before serving.
  • To make the salad, split the kale into four bowls. Serve topped with roasted butternut squash, chopped apple, pecans, craisins, chicken, and crumbled goat cheese.
  • Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons vinaigrette over the whole bowl.
Keyword Fall Kale Salad with Chicken

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