Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans (vegan, keto-friendy, gluten-free)

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This past winter, I had the absolute honor (and pleasure!!) of working with the prepared foods team at Whole Foods Market to have vegan keto dishes featured on their hot bars. The dishes were released in 14 states (!!!) and were well-received by vegans and non-vegans alike. It was seriously one of the coolest experiences I’ve had, and going into my local WFM and being able to buy my own food on the hot bar was surreal. Since not everyone was able to find these dishes at their local store, and since they’ve made their way off of the food bars, I’ve decided to start posting them here. First up: Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans.

Vegan Keto Fall & Winter Ingredients

Like most of my dishes, I aimed to make these vegan and keto-friendly hotbar recipes simple, flavorful and delicious. So, the list of ingredients is pretty small. Because these debuted in January, I wanted to use ingredients that were in season local to where I am, New England. Fortunately, winter veggies in New England are all super nutrient-dense…and delicious!

This recipe, in its original form, requires only the following:

  • kale (any type)
  • butternut squash
  • pecans
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • olive oil
  • low-sodium tamari

That’s it. These are things that I have in my fridge/pantry at all times, plus the butternut squash, which I really only have during the winter. I’m so excited because this year, the squash I’ll be using actually came from my garden. I know I’ve blathered on about my little container garden ad nauseum these past six months or so, but I am just continually amazed by how much a little plot of containers can produce.

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this dish! It was a hit amongst team members and customers alike at Whole Foods Market. If you try it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! I’d also love to hear if you got a chance to try it at WFM. 😀

Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans (vegan, keto-friendy, gluten-free) | Meat Free Keto

Notes on Making Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans (vegan, keto-friendy, gluten-free)

  • This can very easily be made soy-free by using coconut aminos in place of the tamari.
  • While I used kale for this, the carb count is a little higher than other greens. To knock it down a bit, you could sub in collards, chard or even spinach. Just keep in mind that kale is a bit heartier than these other greens (maybe excepting the collards), so the dish may be a little “flimsier,” if that makes sense…does it?
  • If you can’t eat pecans, pretty much any toasted nut will do here. I just really like pecans. Walnuts or almonds are also great choices, as are pepitas, if nuts just aren’t your thing (pepitas are also higher in protein than any of those nuts!).
  • Yes, butternut squash is a bit higher in carbs than most foods commonly eaten on keto. In the winter, I tend to eat a few more carbs on average (~50g net per day) because that’s just what feels right to my body. So, if you aren’t super keen on this level of carb consumption, but still want to eat some squash, just cut the amount in half. 🙂
  • While I strive to provide accurate nutrition information, different brands and varieties of ingredients often have different nutrient values, so your calculations may vary.
Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans (vegan, keto-friendy)

Sauteed Kale & Butternut Squash with Toasted Pecans (vegan, keto-friendy)

Print Recipe
This hearty cold-weather dish features warming garlic and ginger and nutrient-dense seasonal veggies to add some nutrition to any fall or winter meal!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vegan keto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 144.8


  • 10 oz ~280g chopped, de-stemmed kale
  • 6 oz 170g cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp low-sodium tamari
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ cup 60g toasted pecans


  • Cook squash in the olive oil in a covered pan on medium-low heat, adding the ginger, garlic and tamari once the squash begins to soften after about 5 minutes.
  • Continue cooking until tender (about another 10 minutes).
  • Add in kale, cover and let wilt for a few minutes, then stir to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Toss with toasted pecans to finish and enjoy!


Calories: 144.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.5g | Protein: 4.6g | Fat: 14.3g | Fiber: 4.3g

Join the Conversation

  1. This sounds pretty good for a side dish at Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

  2. sarasayshi says:

    Oops, I mistyped my email so I am reposting my comment. This sounds pretty good and I would love to try this for a side at Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This sounds like a great side dish. I have butternut squash every now and then as a treat.

    Are we supposed to cut the butternut squash in half before we try cooking it? It doesn’t say.

    I usually cook the whole butternut squash in the microwave for a minute or two so I can cut it open more easily. I have to make sure that I skewer it a little bit with a knife before putting it in the microwave or it could explode.

    Thank you very much!

  4. Really good! I made a half recipe for the two of us.

    I think I cut the pieces of butternut squash too small. They roasted very quickly. Next time, I will try for 1 inch cubes.

  5. I have made this twice now and I absolutely love it! I eat this as a meal and it’s quite filling.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Minchi!! 🙂

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