We are in the season of squash! So many varieties in all different shapes and colors. Some of the squash are decorated in the most beautiful patterns. A favorite squash of mine is delicata squash! If you can tell by the name, this squash is slightly sweet, delicate in texture, and makes great for roasting. Today I am sharing with you my current favorite fall salad, full of vibrant produce that’s both healthy and colorful! This is my Delicata Squash + Kale Salad.
Roasting the squash will create a rich caramelization that brings out both sweetness and texture. Save the seeds, because once toasted, these crispy treats will add great texture and an earthy bite! I use flat leaf kale, which has a beautiful deep green color and sturdy build, acting as the perfect vessel for all these delicious ingredients. I cook a little quinoa to add protein and heartiness. And the basil, that I harvested from the garden (right before the first frost). There were basil flowers at the top of the plant, which served as the perfect garnish to this salad. The color extraordinary and the taste, undeniably..basil! Perhaps because purple basil is used in a lot of coconut dishes, but I can taste coconut in the basil itself; true or not, the two compliment each other wonderfully, so when it came to the dressing, I knew I had to have something coconuty.
Creamy coconut dressing. The number of words in this title is more than the amount of ingredients in the dressing. There is: coconut yogurt and lemon juice. That’s it! I use plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt, and mixed with some lemon juice, makes for a creamy, slightly sweet, and perfectly balanced dressing. It helps tie all the ingredients together, and to infuse the flavor more, I massage the dressing into the kale first, not only to coat the salad but to also wilt the raw kale slightly.
If you are looking for a bright and healthy fall salad, this one if for you! The squash is crispy and caramelized, the seeds earthy and adds texture, the quinoa is hearty and filling, the pomegranate seeds add a refreshing bite, the basil, a nice liquorish garnish, and the creamy coconut dressing, a wonderful coat to bind together all the ingredients. This makes for a great lunch or dinner throughout the week. It stores well in the fridge, just add the dressing right before you eat. There are so many wonderfully vibrant produce, and they say the more colors you eat, the more nutritional variety. It’s a feel good salad that will surely brighten your fall day. Happy eating!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
Being by cutting the squash in half and scooping out the seeds and set aside. Cut the squash into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes. Toss with hands to evenly coat each squash, and arrange so that they are spaced apart. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until caramelized.
While the squash are cooking, wash the squash seeds thoroughly and remove any squash. Dry on a towel (better yet, let dry out for an hour!). After the squash is done cooking, lower oven heat to 325 degree fahrenheit. Place the squash seeds on a baking sheet (I used the same one I used for cooking the squash, just remove the squash). Drizzle with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and toss until evenly coated. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
To make the quinoa, place the quinoa, salt, and water (or stock) in a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat (resist opening the lid) and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
For the dressing: in a small bowl, mix together the coconut yogurt and lemon juice until combined. Set aside until use.
To assemble the salad, in a large serving bowl, place the kale and a few spoonfuls of coconut dressing. Massage with hands for a minute or so until the kale slightly softens. Add the rest of the ingredients: quinoa, pomegranate seeds, roasted squash, squash seeds, and basil. Drizzle on more dressing. Serve and enjoy! Store in an air-tight container in the fridge (best, without dressing).
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: about 1 hour
1 delicata squash (save the squash seeds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon (or small pinch) smoked paprika
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
1 cup water or broth
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch flat leaf kale, deveined and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil (I like thai or purple basil)
1/2 cup coconut yogurt, plain + unsweetened
1/2 juicy lemon or 1 small lemon