Hello! Welcome to my first salad post of hopefully a year-long project. I shall do my best to complete this task successfully!
I had a sweet little Delicata Squash in the refrigerator that I’ve been waiting to showcase. They are a beautiful variety of winter squash, but any winter squash will work in this recipe. The chunks of roasted squash are tossed on top of the salad so they have distinct texture and flavor. The Orange Maple Dressing is kicked up a bit with the addition of cayenne pepper. The combination is wonderful for a winter meal.
As with any salad, you can add to it as you wish. My recipe lists what I actually used, but I always encourage you to add or take away as you like. No use suffering through eating pears if you really don’t like them. If you don’t have kale on hand, then sub in some bok choy or spinach. These recipes are just a stepping off point so mix it up as you please!
Delicata Squash, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Orange Maple Dressing
Makes 2 Entrée Servings or 4 Sides
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups hot water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup kale, washed and shredded
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa (wet) and allow to toast for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Once the water evaporates and the quinoa starts to toast, add the water and the salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the grains are plump and soft (but not mushy). Add more water if necessary – you can drain off any leftover water. When it is fully cooked, drain off any excess water. Stir in the kale, vinegar and oil and set aside to cool. (Yes, the kale should wilt a bit in the heat of the quinoa but not be totally cooked.) Now it’s time to prepare the squash:
1 Delicata Squash, Acorn Squash or other Winter Squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Preheat your oven to 450F . Wash the squash under running water, remove any stickers and cut into bite-sized pieces. The skin can be eaten, but if you don’t like this, you may peel it before cutting. But why make extra work? Place the squash pieces on a lightly oiled baking sheet, then sprinkle with the olive oil and salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turning the pieces over after 7 minutes. Just keep an eye on it since all ovens bake differently (really!). You want a nice browning on the edges but not burning and the squash should be just cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. While this is baking, start cutting up the rest of the veggies:
1 pear, washed and cored
1 cucumber, washed and seeded
1 carrot, washed
Pumpkin seeds or other seeds
Cut up the pear, cucumber and carrot into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Now make the dressing:
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a capped bottle. It won’t emulsify, so just stir or shake before using.
To compose the salad:
The quinoa and squash should be at room temp. Divide the quinoa amongst your plates, making a mound. Then flatten the mound down a bit. Top off with the squash pieces, the cut up veggies and seeds. I don’t stir everything together in one bowl because the squash will probably turn to mush. Plus, it looks nicer! Stir or shake your dressing and pour over the salad to taste. Enjoy!