I’m sad to say that I’ve gone the majority of my life not knowing that delicata squash existed.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I decided to give it a try. From that moment on, this supreme squash remains THE vegetable I look most forward to eating when fall rolls around!
The sweet almost candy like taste of delicata is superior, in my opinion, to other popular squashes of the season. And the best part is, the skin becomes super soft and edible after roasting, making it much easier to manage than other types of squash.
One of my favorite ways to eat squash is in salads. I’ll roast up a bunch and add them to mixed greens. Last week I had some kale in the fridge. But as you may or may not know, kale is one of those greens that often needs a little bit of coaxing along for it to stand out. In order to get the most out of kale as a base for salads, massaging a flavorful dressing into it first, is key.
This maple apple cider tahini dressing does just the trick to add a ton of flavor and give the kale leaves just the right pleasing texture. It’s creamy, tangy, slightly sweet and goes perfectly with any fall vegetable or salad. You’ll want to slather it on everything! But for now, let’s get back to the kale.
Once you’ve massaged some of the dressing in, let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the flavor and allow it to soften. Now you’re ready to build upon that base. By keeping it simple, the ingredients really stand out and allow pops of color and textures from the sliced purple cabbage and squash come through. A sprinkle or two of hemp seeds adds another dimension of nutty flavor. Feel free to add other delicious ingredients like juicy pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries or any variety of nuts, if you want more complexity. Either way, it’s perfect for lunch, dinner or as a festive holiday starter.
How To Slice Delicata Squash
Simply rinse and pat dry the squash. Slice off the stem. Continue to slice down the center, about one inch apart, creating circular pieces. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Once the entire squash is sliced, you can begin removing the seeds by carefully scraping along the sides with a small pairing knife. Discard seeds and any stringy pieces. Drizzle the squash with oil and season with a dash of salt. After roasting, you can slice the circles in half or leave them whole depending on your preference.
Make Ahead and Time Saving Tips
You can slice and prepare the squash ahead of time and just roast in the oven when you are ready. You can also make the dressing ahead of time, making sure to refrigerate it afterwards. Take the dressing out about at least 30 minutes prior to use, so it can come to room temperature. If you forget to do that, you can simply add a few drops of very warm water and whisk together to help thin it out a bit. To save additional time, you can buy store bought pre-washed kale and sliced cabbage.
- For the Dressing
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ warm water or more if needed
- 2½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- coarse salt
- For the Salad
- 1 delicata squash (sliced as described above with seeds and stringy pieces discarded)
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup sliced purple cabbage
- olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
- optional: nuts, dried cranberries, pompegranate seeds
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
- In a larger bowl, add the kale and a few spoonfuls of the dressing.
- Massage the kale with your fingers until all leaves are coated and begin to wilt slightly.
- Place the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and salt.
- Roast for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
- Add the squash and cabbage to the salad.
- Toss with additional salad dressing.
- Sprinkle with hemp seeds and serve.