Salmon, Butternut Squash, and Avocado Kale Salad

Salmon, Butternut Squash, and Avocado Kale Salad is a low carb, Paleo, and Whole30 friendly salad that is full of flavor and packed with nutritional benefits. It's a salad that will keep you full and can be prepped in advance.

431 CAL 40g CARBS 19g FAT 31g PROTEIN
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A Salmon Kale Salad with butternut squash, tomatoes, avocado, and apples that is not only good for you but tastes amazing. Using a simple broiled salmon that can be prepped in advance, this salad is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition.

Originally I never intended to share this recipe on the blog since it essentially began by me dumping all the leftovers I could find in my fridge into a big bowl and calling it lunch. Then I ended up loving the resulting salad so much I started making it on purpose. It all starts with quickly broiled salmon prepared with lemon, salt, and pepper. This is paired with some sweet butternut squash, earthy kale, tomatoes, apples, cucumber, and creamy avocado. All topped with a simple balsamic dressing with whole grain mustard.

I like to prep the butternut squash (or sweet potatoes), salmon, and kale over the weekend and then enjoy the salad all week for lunches. As you can see in the picture, I also make it with sweet potatoes depending on what I have on hand. The butternut squash version disappeared before I had a chance to photograph it. 

Is this Salmon Kale Salad healthy?

This salad is full of ingredients that pack a nutritional punch and is quite simply, really good for you.

  • Salmon is the fish that we hear about most often when it comes to health. This cold water fish is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids as well as lots of lean protein and other vitamins and minerals. It promotes bone health, packs in a full spectrum of B vitamins, and can help reduce inflammation. Learn more about salmon as well as how to choose it, wild vs farmed, cooking it, and more in our Ultimate Guide to Salmon.
  • Kale is one of the most nutrient dense ingredients available and for that reason is often referred to as a superfood. It packs in vitamins, minerals, calcium, folate, and even iron. It is also rich in antioxidants and other cancer-fighting substances. 
  • Butternut Squash is a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, beta carotene, and fiber. It promotes heart health and is believed it aids in digestion. It is also lower in carbohydrates than many other starchy veggies.
  • Avocados are many times viewed as one of the most nutritious foods available since they contain heart-healthy fats, tons of vitamins and minerals, and are a plant-based protein source.
  • Apples have always been known to be a healthy ingredient since parents taught their children that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are a good source of fiber and are known to aid in weight loss and digestive health.
  • Lemons have tons of benefits or your skin from serving as a detoxifying ingredient that helps with inflammation, skin, and digestion.

Tips and Tricks for Making Salmon Kale Salad

  • Salmon: Any cooked salmon will work for this recipe, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand or prepare the salmon using your favorite cooking method. You can also use canned salmon, just make sure to look for a variety without skin and bones.
  • Other proteins: If you don't like salmon, you can make this with chicken, ground turkey, lean beef, pork tenderloin, or shrimp. You can also replace the meat with tofu, tempeh, or beans for a vegetarian version.
  • Greens: If you don't like kale, just substitute your favorite green. Spinach, arugula, spring mix, and Romaine are all good options.
  • Veggies: Often I make this salad with whatever leftover veggies I have at home. They could be leftover roasted veggies from dinner or just raw veggies that I need to use from the farmer's market. Anything goes but I do recommend including a sweet element like an apple, pear, or berry to add some sweetness to the salad.
  • Dressing: I like to make this dressing with balsamic vinegar but any vinegar will work. You can also make a creamy vinaigrette by adding some Greek yogurt or sour cream to the dressing.
The Recipe
Salmon, Butternut Squash, and Avocado Kale Salad

Salmon, Butternut Squash, and Avocado Kale Salad

431 CAL 40g CARBS 19g FAT 31g PROTEIN
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  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. coho salmon (or any boneless skinless salmon)
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups kale
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 avocado

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Place the butternut squash in a microwave safe dish and cover with 1 inch of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5-7 minutes until tender.


Preheat the broiler on high. Spray with butternut squash with cooking spray and toss with salt and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet or pan. Squeeze half the lemon juice over the salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon and squash under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until salmon is flaky and cooked through and squash is browning. Shake the squash pan halfway through cooking.


Meanwhile combine the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard. If you like a sweeter dressing, add a touch of Stevia. Massage into the kale for 1-2 minutes until kale begins to soften.


Toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 431
Calories from Fat 110
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 51mg
Sodium 166mg
Total Carbohydrate 40g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 11g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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