Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

I don’t know about you, but I need a good salad right about now. I’ve been kind of over doing the comfort foods lately and my body is like, “pleeeease, can I have some fresh vegetables??” But I’m still trying to enjoy these fall vibes, so I whipped up this Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad. It meal preps well, which means that every time I open my fridge there is a delicious salad staring at me, ready to be eaten. That helps. That helps a lot. :P

Autumn kale and sweet potato salads in glass meal prep containers

How Long Do the Salads Last?

Thanks to the heartiness of kale and the low moisture ingredients, you can prep this salad and keep it in your fridge for about five days. You can either keep the dressing separate, or toss the salad in the dressing ahead of time to help soften the kale. If you do toss the salad in the dressing before storage, you may want to make extra dressing, as some of it will be absorbed as the salad refrigerates.

Can I Use a Different Green?

Yes, if you are not a fan of the texture of kale, you can swap it out for spinach. You might also consider trying lacinato kale, which is a little bit softer than the curly kale I used. You can also make this salad over finely shredded cabbage and carrots, which would be similar to my Sweet Crunch Winter Salad.

What Other Dressings Can I Use

This slightly sweet and savory Maple Tahini Dressing is by far the best match for these flavors, but if you must swap it out for something else I would go with some sort of sweet vinaigrette, like either a honey poppyseed, apple cider or pomegranate vinaigrette, honey mustard dressing, or even a raspberry vinaigrette.

Swap Out the Sweet Potatoes

If you happen to have leftover roasted winter squash of any kind (butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin, kabocha, etc.) you can use that in place of the sweet potatoes and still have all those fall flavors! I just find sweet potatoes to be easier to source and prepare, so I chose those today.

front view of maple tahini dressing being poured over autumn kale and sweet potato salad
dressing being poured over the autumn kale and sweet potato salad in a bowl
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5 from 10 votes

Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

This fresh and crisp Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad is chock full of fresh produce, but still has all those cozy fall flavors!
Total Cost: $6.67 recipe / $1.67 serving
Author: Beth – Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes ($2.40)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)

Maple Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini ($0.85)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.09)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup ($0.60)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)

Salad

  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 bunch) ($0.50)
  • 1 large apple* ($0.70)
  • 1/4 cup pepitas ($0.60)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans ($0.52)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries ($0.22)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and add the cooking oil, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Toss the sweet potatoes until they are coated in oil and spices.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they are tender and browned on the edges, stirring once half way through.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. Start with the dressing. Add the tahini, water, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to a blender or bowl. Blend or whisk together until the ingredients are emulsified and smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • Pull the kale leaves from the tough woody stems and rinse them well in a colander with cool water. Drain the kale well, then slice it into thin strips (they don't have to be perfect, so don't stress about this, just aim for smaller pieces). Divide the sliced kale between four bowls or containers.
  • Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into thin slices. Add the apple slices to each container.
  • Add 1 Tbsp each of the pepitas, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries to each container. When the sweet potatoes are finished roasting, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then divide them between the containers. Divide the dressing between four small containers. Enjoy the salad immediately or refrigerate up to five days.

Notes

*Use a sweet or sweet-tart variety of apple. I used Honeycrisp, but Gala would be another nice option.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 512 kcalCarbohydrates: 79 gProtein: 13 gFat: 20 gSodium: 462 mgFiber: 10 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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dressing being poured over the autumn kale and sweet potato salad in a bowl

How to Make Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes prepped for roasting on a sheet pan

Start with the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice 2 lbs. sweet potatoes into ½-inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are coated in oil and spices.

Roasted sweet potatoes on the baking sheet

Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they’re tender and browned on the edges, stirring half way through roasting.

maple tahini dressing in a blender

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. Begin with the dressing. Add ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup water, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne, and ¼ tsp salt to a blender or bowl. Blend or whisk until the ingredients are smooth.

Chopped kale in a bowl

Pull the kale leaves from the woody stems and give them a good rinse with cool water in a colander. Drain well, then slice the kale into thin strips (this doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress, just aim for smaller pieces).

Cored and sliced apple

Cut a large apple into quarters, then remove the core. Slice each quarter into thin slices.

kale, apple, and sweet potato in a bowl

When the sweet potatoes are finished roasting, let them cool for about five minutes. Divide the kale between four bowls or meal prep containers, followed by the apple slices, and the roasted sweet potato.

cranberries, seeds, and nuts added to the salad

Then add 1 Tbsp dried cranberries, pepitas, and chopped pecans to each bowl or container. Divide the dressing into four small containers as well.

autumn kale and sweet potato salad being eaten

Drizzle the maple tahini dressing over top, then enjoy!

meal prep containers full of autumn kale and sweet potato salad

Or refrigerate the salad up to five days and enjoy later. :)