Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Spicy Maple Dressing

Fall at the farmers’ market has a whole different feeling, and while I miss the fresh berries terribly, I do love how forgiving fall produce can be.  I lugged home a heavy bag today, filled to the brim with butternut and delicata squashes, onions, garlic, a bottle of apple cider and several pomegranates.  One of my pomegranates escaped and went rolling down the sidewalk in front of me, but I just scooped it up and it was really no worse for wear.

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Fall produce can be just as pretty as it’s spring and summer brethren (I love the colors of this salad!), but it’s so much hardier.  At the summer market, I always overbuy strawberries, pulled in by the promise of strawberries in salads and yogurt and smoothies and straight from the bowl with juice-stained fingers.  Then I get home to discover I’ve bought eight quarts and I pound strawberries day after day trying to consume them all before they rot in my fridge. 

Squash don’t create the same problem.  I’m just as excited to see them in the market, but I’m not compelled to bring home eight butternut squash.  (Delicata now, those are a different story)  Even when I do overbuy squash or pomegranates or apples, they are far more willing to sit on my counter and wait.  I’ve been meaning to make butternut squash enchiladas for two weeks now, and my trusty squash has been perched on my kitchen counter for two weeks, and I think it would be perfectly happy to sit there for at least two more if I can’t get my act together.

It’s good that fall and winter produce is so patient, since it comes to the market during the holidays when I’m running around like a crazy person.  Which reminds me, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I can’t celebrate it without Vegetarian Stovetop Stuffing and Mushroom Gravy with mashed potatoes.  I wanted to share those recipes with you if you’re searching for Vegetarian thanksgiving options.

But back to this salad.  I have a disappearing problem with roasted delicata squash much like I have with kale chips.  I’ll pull the pan out of the oven to check if they’re done, and before I know it I’ve eaten half the pan leaning over the stove.  So I’d suggest roasting twice as much squash as you actually need.  We rolled extra roasted squash up in burritos with rice, black beans, avocado and goat cheese, which I suggest you try if you aren’t afflicted with a disappearing squash problem.

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Roasted Delicata Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Spicy Maple Dressing

  • 2 delicata squash
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • lettuce mix of your choice (I used half baby spinach and half arugula)

for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the ends off your delicata squash.  Cut each squash in half width wise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise, so you have 8 half moon shaped lengths of squash total.  Scoop out the seeds and cut the squash into 1/2” thick half moons.  (You can eat the skin of delicata squash so don’t worry about removing it)
  3. Lay the squash half moons on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle them lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and roast them for 30-45 minutes or until they’re starting to brown.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water.  Cut the top off your pomegranate, and cut it into quarters.  Immerse each quarter in the water, one at a time, and remove the seeds from the membrane under water.  The seeds should sink while the white membrane will float, and nothing should be stained with pomegranate juice.  Repeat with each quarter and then dispose of the membrane and the water and set the pomegranate seeds aside.
  5. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar.  Season with a pinch of crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.  Start conservatively here, I always find it’s easy for me to overspice things with cayenne.
  6. When the delicata squash is done, pull it out of the oven and try to avoid eating it all off the cookie sheet.  Fill a large bowl with your lettuce and top it with the roasted squash, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and almonds.  Drizzle on the dressing and serve.

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