Honest Thanksgiving: Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

Honest Thanksgiving: Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

Here at the Honest Kitchen, we're getting ready for Thanksgiving! Today we've got a better-for-you take on a Thanksgiving staple: stuffing. Roasted veggies and fresh herbs take this seasonal salad to a whole new level. Serve it alongside your Thanksgiving dinner, or try it tonight!

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad


Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

2 bunches tuscan (or dino) kale

2 bunches carrots (with leaves if possible)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup apple juice sweetened dried cranberries

3 slices whole grain bread (I use gluten-free millet flax)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

pinch of sea salt

olive oil spray*

1 cup carrot leaves (can sub fresh parsley)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped raw walnuts

pinch of sea salt


1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash kale and pat dry. Strip leaves from stems and tear into bite sized pieces. Place torn kale into a large salad bowl. (See GIF below for the simplest way to strip!)

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

3. Remove carrot tops from carrots, wash and set aside. Peel carrots and dice on a bias into about 1/4” pieces. Place carrots onto a baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme and paprika. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender and slightly browned on the edges. Set aside.

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

4. In the meantime, toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep your eye on these because walnuts are high in fat so they burn easily. Set aside.

5. Cut Bread into 1” cubes, toss on a baking sheet with rosemary, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme and a pinch of sea salt. Use olive oil cooking spray (preferably one that mists actual olive oil from a pump bottle - if not you can simply drizzle with a small amount of olive oil) to coat the bread. Bake in pre-heated oven for 3-4 minutes or until bread is toasted and slightly browned on the edges. Depending on your oven, you may want to toss the bread half way through cooking. Set croutons aside to cool.

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

6. To make carrot top pesto dressing, place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon into a bowl and set aside.

7. Once it is time to assemble your salad, toss carrots, cranberries, walnuts and dressing together. Add croutons at the last minute so they stay perfectly crunchy! 

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

Stuffing-Inspired Kale Salad

Honest Tip: This salad can easily be prepared up to two days ahead, simply follow all the steps above and keep ingredients separated until you are ready to serve!

~Kristin O’Connor

Kristin is a published author and private chef focused on encouraging optimal wellness. The Kristin O’Connor brand of gluten-free, eco-friendly products is a true culmination of her passion for health and devotion to philanthropy, bearing a mantra as wholesome and pleasing as her food! For more inspiration, check out her website and Instagram.

Thanksgiving is coming up! What sorts of side dishes will you be serving up this year?

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.