While salads are not traditionally thought of during the fall, this hearty recipe is the epitome of a fall-time salad! It's packed with figs, squash, candied walnuts, and kale and topped with a delicious vinaigrette.
Remove the stem and cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pith. Slice halves into ½-inch pieces and place them on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, rub with hands to coat evenly, and place in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper.
Roast in the preheated oven until golden and beginning to caramelize, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
For the walnuts
Preheat oven to 425°F.
On a baking sheet, combine the walnuts, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Toss to evenly combine and spread to a single layer.
Place in the oven and watch closely until the sugars begin to caramelize and the nuts are toasted, 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir occasionally while cooling to separate the pieces.
For the salad
In a large salad bowl or a small jar, combine the shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine. Continue to whisk and slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
Add the kale and toss to coat. Using hands, massage the kale slightly to tenderize. This can be done up to five hours before serving.
When ready to serve, add the prepared squash, figs, walnuts, and feta cheese.