This hearty Fall Salad with Roasted Sugar Pumpkin, Kale, Apples, and Black Rice is topped with Maple-glazed Pecans, Dried Cranberries, and a scrumptious Fall-inspired Vinaigrette. Vegan and Gluten-free!

Maple-glazed Pecans, Dried Cranberries, and a vegan Maple Dressing.  #thanksgivingsalad #fallsalad #vegansalad #holidaysalad #pumpkin #wildricesalad #kalesalad #applesalad #thanksgiving #salad

Here’s a beautiful Fall Salad that would be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving table or simply served up as a healthy vegan dinner. Roasted Pumpkin, black rice, apples and kale are tossed in the most delicious dressing – and topped with maple glazed pecans. Add dried cranberries or currants if you like.

Hearty and filling, this could also work as a vegan main dish. For extra richness feel free to add crumbled goat cheese, or try farmer’s cheese. A very beautiful autumnal salad!

Here I’ve used little sugar pumpkins, but if you can’t find them, feel free to use delicata squash, butternut squash or acorn squash!

What are Sugar Pumpkins?

  • Sugar Pumpkins are little orange pumpkin-like winter squash also called “pie pumpkins” or “sweet pumpkins” that have a beautifully creamy, orange, sweet flesh when roasted.
  • They’re perfect for roasting, making salads or soups, or even making homemade pumpkin puree for pies- not just for their sweetness and flavor, but because of their texture- so creamy vs. stringy!


Maple-glazed Pecans, Dried Cranberries, and a vegan Maple Dressing.  #thanksgivingsalad #fallsalad #vegansalad #holidaysalad #pumpkin #wildricesalad #kalesalad #applesalad #thanksgiving #salad

On the home front: For the past week, we’ve been out of power along with thousands of others here in Spokane, after a huge wind storm blew down hundreds of old trees, taking the power lines down with them.  With frigid temperatures at night, it has been challenging trying to keep our house warm so the pipes and pets don’t freeze.

For the first day or two it felt like camping –  ha!  Playing games by candlelight, having fires, listening to the battery-powered radio and reading with a headlamp. Fun in a way, exciting!

But as the days wore on, and I awoke this morning with an aching head and scratchy throat, missing my mother. With Thanksgiving only two days away and a houseful of guests planning to come over, I felt quite glum. The opposite of thankful.   

At least we didn’t have a tree crash into our living room like our neighbors, my husband kept reminding me.  At least we weren’t Syrian refugees fleeing for our lives, another friend piped up. Yep, true, it can always be worse.

But I don’t want to feel gratitude because we fared better, compared to others, or because it could be worse.  I don’t want to feel it because I would feel guilty if I didn’t, or because my rational brain (or Oprah) tells me I should.

I want to feel it, because I feel it.

So I sit here.  I stir the fire. I let my brain calm and let my heart open…and wait.  Nothing. And wait.  And wait…

And then something shifts, a feeling of acceptance, ever so brief. A feeling that no matter how difficult our lives can be at times, I’m honored to be alive and experience all of it. Even the hard stuff. Which in perspective, turns out is not really that hard.

Because in some way, it’s all perfect. 

I want to hang on to this feeling forever… but it is fleeting.

There seems to be a deeper level of gratefulness that we can tap into. One that is constant and unconditional regardless of external circumstances.

I haven’t evolved far enough as a human to be able to remain tethered to this place, but I can sense its presence under the surface and dip into every now and again, and it feels transformative. I wonder how my life would change if I could feel it daily.

I wonder how this world would change if we could all feel it.

Wherever Thanksgiving finds us this year, may we find gratitude, even amidst the chaos, if only for a brief and sparkling moment. May it seep into our bones and infuse our day… and infuse those around us.

Happy Thanksgiving friends. Love and hugs.


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This delicious Thanksgiving Fall Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, Apples and Wild Rice, is topped with Maple glazed Pecans, Dried Cranberries, and a scrumptious, healthy, Allspice Vinaigrette. Vegan! #thanksgivingsalad #fallsalad #vegansalad #holidaysalad #pumpkin #wildricesalad #kalesalad #applesalad #thanksgiving #salad

Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Black rice, Apple and Kale


A Fall-inspired Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Apple, Kale and Black Rice tossed in a maple vinaigrette, topped with Maple Pecans and dried cranberries. A tasty Thanksgiving Salad, or vegan dinner idea!


  • 1 small sugar pumpkin cut into ¾ inch wedges. (56 inches in diameter) Or use a delicata squash
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 cups cooked black rice (or wild rice, or any cooked grain- farro, quinoa, freekah,etc. )
  • 4 ounces baby kale (or arugula)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries ( or dried currants)
  • 1 apple, ( honey crisp are great!) sliced into thin wedges (or try a persimmon)
  • ½ cup sliced green onion

Maple Glazed Pecans: ( you’ll use half) 

Maple Vinaigrette:


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Cut into ¾ inch wedges (leave skin on) and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a parchment-lined backing sheet and roast in the oven until fork tender, about 30- 35 minutes.
  3. Make the Maple Glazed Pecans, baking at the same time. (see notes)
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add cooked rice, kale, apple, scallions, half of the pecans and dried cranberries and give a stir.
  5. Add vinaigrette ingredients and toss. ( Or make it separately, and toss before serving)
  6. Spread out on a platter and tuck warm roasted pumpkin wedges over top. Scattering with remaining pecans and cried canberries.
  7. Add crumbled goat cheese or farmers cheese if you like (feta may be too salty)


  1. Note: You can make maple glazed pecans at the same time (or ahead).  In a bowl, toss pecans with  maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchement-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven, 13-14 minutes, giving a stir halfway through. Let them roast until they just darken slightly. Remove from oven, and using a metal spatula, loosen, then let cool 5-10 minutes, and loosen again. Let cool completely. scrape up, breaking apart, and store in an airtight container.

Feel free to sub delicata squash, sliced into rings.

Make the maple glazed pecans ahead and keep on hand for salads and such.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 281
  • Sugar: 12.4 g
  • Sodium: 200.8 mg
  • Fat: 15.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.1 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Fall salad, fall salad recipe, fall salads, fall salad recipes, wild rice salad, thanksgiving salad, harvest salad, pumpkin salad, thanksgiving salad recipes, thanksgiving salads















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  1. Excellent Salad. The allspice really takes the vinaigrette to a new level!. I got rave reviews from family and friends on TDay. I prepared black rice and pumkin ahead, and warmed up next day, to add to salad. Thanks.

  2. I made this for a potluck and it was a hit! So delicious, hearty, and colorful. I made the candied pecans and those are delicious by itself. I look forward to making this recipe again for my other upcoming Thanksgiving potlucks!

  3. Such a delicious and beautiful salad and easy/quick to make…..while the squash (I used delicata) is roasting and the quinoa is cooking, blend the dressing and assemble the salad. I used green curly kale, removing ribs and tearing into pieces. The quinoa worked well. Will look forward to using black rice next time. Just watch those pecans as they darken very quickly at the end!! I served on a rectangular dish….impressive presentation with all the colors and textures to enjoy. Definitely a keeper.

  4. Having moved from our PNW home of 21 years to the dry high desert of southern Utah this past year has been met with intermittent thankfulness. Your post reminded me of those moments when I truly connect with my Maker for that deep, settling, purposeful peace, which will one day be constant. I must admit one surprise that brings thankfulness to mind is the interloper kale plant that has survived a 110-degree summer, is thriving now in fall, and ready to bless us with this delicious salad. Thankful for you and your blog of delicious recipes, too!

  5. Has many of my favorites in this salad. I use it as a spring board to make for two. Had left over wild rice mix, roasted delicata, shelled raw pumpkin seeds, green onions, apples, reduced fat feta, a couple dried medool dates, the kale some other greens and used just a bit of lemon juice and a teaspoon of olive oil. Love this salad and can use what have to make it interesting and different.

    1. Love it Frances! So happy you are enjoying playing around with this one. Your additions sound so delicious!

  6. What an amazing winter salad! The vinaigrette and quinoa mix was bright and tangy. It is so fun to make such a colorful, delicious, healthy meal for my family. I ended up using a kabocha squash, and I’d love to try a pumpkin too.

  7. THIS recipe is incredible. I made our whole Thanksgiving feast from Feasting at Home recipes and asked everyone their favorite dish and this was the winner for each person! It was my first time roasting pumpkin and I cannot believe I don’t cook it more. It’s absolutely delicious. Thank you for introducing it to me! I also opted for Farro which was great.

    I did make it a second time and could not find pumpkin in the store so I used butternut squash that I had at home. I liked it much better with the pumpkin but still delicious either way.

  8. Hi Sylvia! I am making this recipe as I’m typing the comments. Though Thanksgiving this time is a little different but we still have a lot to be thankful for. With that said, I’m thankful for the family we love and friends we cherish. I’m thankful for you for this recipe. It’s amazing! It’s a great addition to my Thanksgiving meal. All ingredients came together and has different texture and flavor – so festive. It also compliment to my other dish. I also made your quinoa dish with pomegranate. So I omitted the quinoa to this recipe since the other recipe has quinoa already. I hope your Thanksgiving is safe and wonderful. Take care and Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🥧🍐🍎

  9. I have made this recipe twice now both times with Delicata Squash, red quinoa, kale, apples pecans and some goat cheese crumbles… YUM! Hits all craving areas, sweet, salty and crunchy… the pecans take this recipe over the top– thank you for sharing your recipes!

  10. Okay Sylvia, this salad has seriously become a binge food for me. I’ve moderated it by using less rice, unglazed pecans and more kale but I can eat the entire bowl over the course of an evening. It is truly one of the most satisfying meals to my cells and taste buds!

  11. We made this salad today for our Thanksgiving celebration on Vashon Island and it was delicious, everyone loved it 😋

  12. Made this phenomenal dish for today’s Thanksgiving and it was totally worth the effort. It was the star of the meal and that’s saying a lot because it was a fantastic meal. I will definitely be making this again. Oh and I used Scotch kale from my garden which is a bit sturdier than baby kale but the vinaigrette broke down the fiber just enough to take out the raw taste and leave some great texture. I can’t wait until tomorrow to eat some more!

  13. Questions:
    Can I roast the squash (I’m using butternut squash) ahead of time?

    Is the squash supposed to be warm when added to salad and served?

  14. Made this earlier this week with delicata squash and it was so delicious! The squash made my whole house smell amazing! Thanks for another beautiful recipe Sylvia.
    ~ Melanie

  15. I made this last night to see if I wanted to bring it to Thanksgiving dinner next month. I definitely will be, it’s a standout! I used the delicata squash and (because I skimmed the recipe when making my grocery list) feta cheese. The feta worked in this case because I only used a little bit once I realized, but I imagine it could be too much if there was more. I also forgot to add the black rice I had cooked. Poor me, I had to have a second bowl to get the full experience. Yep, perfect combination of flavors and textures as always.

  16. This was such a delicious recipe. I used quinoa as the grain and almonds as the nuts. It was easy and quick to make. Thanks so much for sharing with us. It was a hit with the whole family

  17. I’d like to substitute butternut squash. About how much weight is one small sugar pumpkin, with seeds scooped out? I’ll use a 1 for 1 exchange. Thanks, Arthur (PS I like the variegated colors in this recipe!)

    1. That is a great question. You may have to eye ball it, because I don’t know. Its about the size of a grapefruit, if that helps. So probably half of a small butternut ?

  18. I am grateful that I read your post! You eloquently put into words what I could so relate to, I feel much the same way but to read your words I realized and identified in myself the difference between having a grateful heart and wanting to have a grateful heart. I truly love all of your recipes and anyone who visits your blog will have added benefit of very worthy words attached, thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words ….and I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Means a lot. All the best to you Cheer!!

  19. Beautifully said. Reading your thoughtful reminder of what is so important to our health, relationships, and well being….thankfulness…is right on the mark. Praying for warmth of heart and electricity to fill everyone’s homes here in Spokane!

  20. Déar Sylvia,
    I love your blog, I think you are a great cook (and a good photographer). I am always very excited to find your new recipie in my mailbox because I know in advance it will please me. I am in Montreal, french speaking, and I admit I had to verify where your Spokane city is situated on the map. Your way is so personal and universal in the same time (your Persian chicken with Chelow rice is a now part of my basics), you could be in Australia or a Californian girl living in Italy! Today I red you with a smile on my face. After the Paris events, the Turkish and Russian twaddle and all the non sense of the world, the freshness of your words feels very good.
    The bonus is the salad which I will make no later than tonight. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Sylvia. Thanks for your passion and your share. Hope you did not lose too many old trees as they are important for inspiration in one’s life. I say that but inspiration, you already have a lot…

  21. Awesome post. We have so many little things to be grateful for that I think we lose track of them as we meet the challenges of our day. I sometimes like to stop and reflect on where I am in life, and where I could have found myself had things turned out differently. I find this brings a renewed appreciation for what I have in life, and helps me to prioritize what is truly important. For me this means family, health and shelter. I sometimes feel that undercurrent of gratitude too!

    I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving 🙂

  22. What a lovely, beautifully written post, Sylvia. Your humanness shines through as a light on and for all of us. Your writing is honest and open hearted. Thank you!

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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