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Mixed salad bowl of orzo, chickpeas, kale, squash, cranberries, pistachios and vinaigrette.

Kale Orzo Salad with Maple Lime Vinaigrette

  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Kale Orzo Salad is a festive combo of roasted veggies, pistachios, dried cranberries and lots of herbs dressed in a maple lime vinaigrette. Easy to prep in advance for meals and pretty enough to entertain with.


  • 1 honeynut squash, peeled with seeds removed and cubed
  • 1, 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 large stalks of kale, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme, optional
  • Drizzle of high heat oil
  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Maple Lime Dressing

  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 12 small cloves garlic, grated
  • Zest and juice from one large lime, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Dry the chickpeas well using a clean kitchen towel then add onto one large sheet pan along with the cubed squash. Generously drizzle with oil and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, spread the mixture out in a single layer and then place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  2. Place your kale on a separate sheet pan, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. After the squash and chickpeas roast, give them a flip and place the tray back in the oven along with the tray of kale to roast for 7 minutes.
  3. While baking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt generously then cook the orzo until al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, place back in the pot. To prevent clumping, drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients together in a jar or bowl. If using a jar, seal the jar and shake the dressing ingredients until it emulsifies (becomes uniform). If in a bowl, use a whisk to whisk the ingredients together vigorously until it emulsifies.
  5. Now assemble the salad. To a large salad bowl add the kale, orzo, roasted squash and chickpeas, parsley, pistachios, and dry cranberries. Drizzle the dressing overtop and then toss the salad until everything is coated evenly and well distributed. Serve and enjoy!


Do not rinse the pasta after draining. Just drain the pasta well and if not using right away, add it back to the pot with a drizzle oil and toss to coat to prevent it from clumping together.

Make the orzo right before dressing the salad. Having warm orzo mixed with this dressing helps for the orzo to better absorb the flavors.

Swap the pasta. Try this salad with a different pasta or grain. This can work well with options like quinoa, farro, or barley.

Cook the vegetables and chickpeas in a single layer on the sheet pan. This will help your vegetables and chickpeas to properly brown and crisp up in the oven. Bonus points if you place the squash cut side down on the tray as this will help the squash evenly brown as it roasts.

Keywords: kale orzo salad, orzo salad with kale