Roasted Delicata Squash & Pomegranate Salad with Vanilla Vinaigrette

Delicata squash is an often overlooked option, but it’s actually the easiest squash to cook and has a delicious subtly sweet flesh. To prepare Delicata, all you need to do is clean, remove seeds, slice and roast. The skin is tender enough to eat without the need to peel. Winter squash contain beta carotene, fiber, a small amount of protein, vitamin , magnesium, and potassium. They also have a low glycemic index, making them a good choice to regulate blood sugar. My preferred way to consume Delicata is to add to a heart salad base of kale and quinoa and finish in vanilla dressing. This recipe makes a complete weeknight dinner or family style salad, presents beautifully, and is simple to make.

Roasted Delicata Squash & Pomegranate Salad

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients:
1 Delicata squash, halved, ends cut
2 T. olive oil for roasting
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
3 cups dinosaur or curly kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
1 pomegranate broken into quarter with seeds falling out (or approx. 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds)
1/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds or hazelnuts
Dressing:
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
3 T. fresh juiced lemon (could also use an orange if desired)
2 tsp. maple syrup
pinch sea salt
3 T. olive oil
Shake first 4 ingredients, then add olive oil and shake well before using 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut ends off your Delicata squash, use spoon to remove seeds. Then cut squash into 1/2 inch circles. Toss cut squash in olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Lay flat on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, then turn over and roast for additional 15 minutes. Squash should be golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.

While squash cooks, prepare your cooked quinoa and your chopped kale. Make dressing and massage 1/2 of dressing into the kale leaves. Set additional dressing aside.

When squash has finished cooking, prepare your salad by layering: kale (massaged with dressing), quinoa, and squash pieces. Finish with pomegranate and drizzle with remaining dressing (or amount desired). Finish with a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts or almonds.