Holiday recipes

Join Loveleaf’s salad movement

If you’re considering revamping your holiday offerings, why not try a recipe Loveleaf founder Ally Milligan loves.

Milligan, one of the founders in this year’s Babson WIN Lab Boston cohort, is on a mission to help simplify life, by encouraging one salad a day.

Milligan says she doesn’t mean sad, store-bought, diet-fanatical, I’m-still-hungry salads. She means satisfying, colorful, energizing, homemade salads, packed with nutrients, antioxidants and flavor.

“It’s a simply powerful habit that will transform your approach to healthy eating without having to give up the fun stuff,” Milligan says. “Because we believe life is about balance, not deprivation. So enjoy that wine and pumpkin pie. You’re welcome.”

Milligan says she loves this Thanksgiving squash and cranberry salad because it’s make-ahead friendly and uses one of her favorite time-saving tricks: roasting everything together on one pan. “So you can spend more energy on the things that really matter. Like friends and family. Or not burning the turkey (you got this),” she says.

You might want to bookmark this one for January, too—when Loveleaf’s 7-Day Salad Reset might be just what you need to jumpstart your new year. Follow @Loveleaf on Instagram for a daily infusion of healthy food inspiration. 



For the salad:

½ c. pecans
1 delicata squash
1 c. fresh cranberries (can be thawed from frozen)
½ red onion
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. maple syrup
1 t. kosher salt
1 large bunch Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) kale (see notes)

 For the dressing:

4-6 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. maple syrup
1 t. lemon juice
½ t. cumin
½ t. sea salt (or more, to taste)
pinch of cayenne (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Chop pecans into coarse pieces. Place on the lined sheet pan and toast until golden and fragrant, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove pecans from the pan, place on a plate to cool.
  1. To prepare the delicata squash, wash well and cut in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds (save to roast later, if desired), and slice into ½ inch semi-circles. Cut each semi-circle into 3-4 pieces and put into a large mixing bowl.
  1. Rinse the cranberries and add to the bowl with the squash. Dice the red onion (pieces should be roughly the same size as the squash and cranberries) and place in the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and kosher salt.

Toss to combine. Pour mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  1. While the squash mixture is roasting, prepare the kale. Wash the leaves well under cool running water, shake-off excess liquid, and place on a cutting board. Cut out the tough center rib on each leaf and chop the leaves coarsely. Place in a large bowl.
  1. Prepare the salad dressing by putting all of the ingredients into a small jar (a pint-sized mason jar works well) and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. Place dressed kale into a serving bowl.
  1. Remove the squash mixture from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Once cooled, spoon the squash mixture over the top of the kale and toss gently. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the salad and serve.

NOTE: Curly kale can also be used as shown here; just massage to soften before assembling. Salad can be made in advance and leftovers keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.