As the weather starts to get cooler I begin to crave soups, stews, slow cooked meats, roasted veggies, and all the warming things! I pretty much live off of salads during the summer – all the fresh veggies. During the fall I find it hard to eat cold salads; I need something that will warm me from the inside out! But my body still craves all of those fresh greens and veggies. It is my mission to create hearty salads that are satisfying enough for the cooler months. Let’s kick it off by making this Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash, shall we?!
If you are thinking to yourself, what the heck is a delicata squash!?? I will tell you, it is my favorite squash! Yes delicata squash even outranks butternut squash in my opinion! GASP! Delicata squash are these cute little yellow things. Their skin is edible when roasted – tender with a slight crunch. The flesh is sweet, nutty, and creamy and especially good when it gets a little bit of caramelization from roasting. Paul and I enjoy delicata squash so much that we attempted to grow a delicata squash plant this year in our garden. Sadly it didn’t make it – sad face emoji. The one downfall about delicata squash is that it’s hard to find. I don’t always see it in my regular grocery store. I have actually had better luck finding it at my super Target! I have always been able to find them at my local farmers’ market during the end of summer and beginning of fall. If you can’t find delicata squash you can always substitute some roasted butternut squash. But only if you must!
When you do find delicata squash, stock up. It lasts for a long time! You could make this salad for weeks on end!
You see that kale right there? That kale came straight from my garden! Proud kale parent over here!
Do you also see those red pickled onions in that salad?! We need to discuss those for a moment: they are tangy, crunchy, salty, with a mild onion flavor! Don’t worry, these are quick pickled onions – we heat up a little water so that the onions are slightly cooked and then allow them to chill in the fridge while the squash is roasting away. Can all my red onions be pickled for the rest of my life, please?!
This Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash is the perfect way to dip your toes into fall cooking. You’ve got the freshness from the kale followed by the juicy tartness of a green apple, the tangy pickled red onions, a few roasted cashews, and the tender, sweet, buttery, one-of-a-kind, freshly roasted delicata squash. The entire salad gets drizzled with a lemony sage vinaigrette – because sage and squash are a match made in heaven! This salad is light and healthy, yet warming and inviting.
We enjoy Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash as a side salad. Or we love to throw in some re-heated leftover chicken to make it a complete meal. If you want to keep things vegan you could also add a some quinoa or even green lentils to create a meal that will stick with you for hours. Oh the possibilities!
Now go, be satisfied, be warm, and feel good, all while embracing that beautiful fall produce.
- PICKLED ONION:
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- DELICATA SQUASH:
- 2 delicata squash, washed and dried
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey (sub maple syrup for slightly different taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups Dinasour/Tuscan Kale, washed, dried and cut into small pieces (can sub curly kale)
- 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
- ⅓ cup roasted and salted cashews
- PICKLED ONION:
- In a medium-sized jar or other heat-proof container with a lid, add the hot water, white wine vinegar, agave nectar, and salt. Close the lid and shake to combine well. Add the onion slices and submerge them in the liquid. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. 30 minutes is best.
- DELICATA SQUASH:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a large chef's knife cut off the ends of each squash. Stand the squash up on its flat end and cut the squash down the middle exposing its seeds. Scoop the seeds out and reserve for roasting or discard. Cut the squash into ½ inch semicircles.
- Place the squash onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the oil and the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange the squash pieces on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. They can be close, but not touching; otherwise they will steam.
- Roast for 10 to 12 minutes per side, or until the squash is tender and slightly caramelized.
- Place all ingredients in a jar or bowl. Whisk together or shake in jar until well combined.
- Place the kale into a mixing bowl. Add a little bit of the dressing and use your hands to "massage" the kale to help break down its texture. Set aside.
- Once the squash is roasted add it to the salad along with the Granny Smith apple, cashews, and pickled onion. Drizzle with desired amount of the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- If you aren't going to eat all of the salad in one sitting, store the leftovers in separate containers. Prepare the kale and apple and dress the salad just before serving. Keep the onions in their pickling liquid. Also you can heat the squash gently in the microwave, or enjoy it cold. Everything keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days.