Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
A hearty and flavorful roasted delicata squash salad. Golden rings of quick roasted delicata squash combine with fresh kale, tangy goat cheese, toasted pepitas, shallots, sweet-tart pomegranate arils, and a quick and simple apple cider vinaigrette. A lovely salad all through the fall season, and especially suited for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. Gluten free and vegan friendly.
A Seasonal Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
As we head into shorter, cozier days, veggie-packed salads may not always be top of mind. But, fresh, full of flavor, and shining with seasonal goodness, they’re a nice balance for the richer soups and stews and braises that otherwise simmer and bubble and roast away throughout the fall and winter.
This vibrant fall farmers market salad combines rings of tender, caramelized delicata squash, tangy goat cheese, sweet-tart pomegranate seeds, toasted pepitas, and thinly-shaved shallots atop a bed of dark green kale greens, all drizzled with a sweet and balanced apple cider vinaigrette.
It’s lovely and festive for fall and holiday entertaining, and simple enough for weeknights, too.
(Those are actually mini variegated acorn squash, which would also be lovely!).
Why you’ll love this delicata squash and kale salad
This fall farmers market-inspired salad begins with a big bowl of dark green kale leaves.
We’ll start by massaging the kale with a bit of dressing. Yep, you read that correctly. Why should you spend two minutes of your one precious life massaging kale? This added step really does make a difference in tenderizing the leaves, making them not only tastier, but easier to digest.
We’ll make up that time though, by skipping any peeling, because this thin-skinned variety doesn’t need it. It takes just a couple of minutes of hands-on prep before it heads to the oven to become golden and caramelized and full of fall flavor.
It’ll join other fall salad favorites – goat cheese, pomegranate, pepitas, and shallots – before being tossed together with a homemade apple cider vinaigrette that comes together quickly, simply whisked or shaken up in a spare jam jar.
Roasted Delicata Squash Salad Ingredients:
This sort of seasonal salad is super versatile. Don’t have or love a particular ingredient? There are lots of ways to mix it up to please everyone at the table. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Delicata Squash: of course! Golden half moon slices of maple roasted squash give this salad lots of flavor and some heft. You could also use another variety of your favorite winter squash (just adjust the roasting time accordingly!).
- Kale: we’ll use a combination of roughly chopped (and massaged) Lacinato – or “Dino” – kale and tender baby kale leaves as the base of the salad. Baby spinach, arugula, or spring greens would also work well.
- Goat Cheese: adds a super creamy tang. Crumbled feta would also be nice.
- Shallots: for a subtle bite. You can also use sliced scallions/green onions or shaved red onion if you prefer.
- Pomegranate: a handful of vibrant pomegranate arils adds a lovely sweetness. Sweet dried cranberries are another option.
- Pepitas: for added crunch. Walnuts or pine nuts would also be delish.
- And quick homemade dressing: made with olive oil, fresh orange juice, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and a spoonful of maple syrup.
Find all the exact ingredients and recipe instructions below.
How to Roast Delicata Squash
Roasting delicata squash couldn’t be easier. Unlike many varieties of winter squash, it doesn’t need to be peeled, speeding up prep time quite a bit. It also doesn’t take long to roast, and emerges from the oven deliciously caramelized and full of flavor. Here’s how you make it:
- Cut the ends off the squash. Slice in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in the center. For this recipe I like to slice the squash into crescents, about 1/2″ thick.
- Add the squash to a sheet pan and toss with olive oil and maple syrup, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast until golden and fork tender, flipping a couple of times along the way.
- Add to your salad, and enjoy!!
For full instructions, see the recipe card, below.
More Fall Recipes to Make Next
If you like this delicata squash salad, you’ll also love this vibrant pear and radicchio salad. And be sure to also try these other holiday favorites:
If you make this roasted delicata squash salad recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint
A hearty roasted delicata squash salad. Golden rings of quick roasted delicata squash combine with fresh kale, tangy goat cheese, toasted pepitas, shallots, sweet-tart pomegranate arils, and a quick and simple apple cider vinaigrette. A lovely and flavorful salad all through the fall season, and especially suited for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. Gluten free and vegan friendly.
for the delicata squash salad:
- 1 medium delicata squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1–2 tsp pure maple syrup, to taste
- 1 medium bunch Lacinato kale, tough stems removed and chopped or torn to bite-size
- 2 cups baby kale leaves
- 1 small shallot, shaved or thinly-sliced
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled ¹
- 1/4 cup pomegrate arils
- 1/4 cup pepitas ²
apple cider vinaigrette:
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice ³
- 1–2 tsp pure maple syrup, to taste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Roast the delicata squash:
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Chop your delicata squash and layer the slices on the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup, just enough to lightly coat. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash, flipping once or twice to ensure both sides are browning, until golden, caramelized, and fork tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to add to the salad.
Make the apple cider vinaigrette:
- Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients except for the salt and pepper to a leftover jam or mason jar, and shake well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the salad:
- Add the chopped lacinato kale leaves to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with about 1 Tablespoon of dressing (or enough to lightly coat), and use your fingers to massage the kale for a couple of minutes to tenderize the greens.
- Toss with the baby kale and shallot, then top with the roasted squash, goat cheese, pomegranate, and pepitas.
- Drizzle the salad with additional dressing, to taste, and toss together when ready to serve. Enjoy!!
¹ Feta cheese or even a salty shaved pecorino can be substituted for the goat cheese, if you prefer.
² Pepitas are small specialty pumpkin seeds. If you can’t find them, or prefer a different seed or nut, pine nuts and pecans would also be excellent here. For an extra flavor boost, toast the pepitas in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
³ I like the flavor and sweetness of orange juice here, but lemon juice would also work well.
Make it vegan: simply skip the cheese or use a plant-based cheese instead.
Keywords: roasted delicata squash salad, winter squash, kale, goat cheese, pomegranate, maple, vinaigrette, pepitas, gluten free, holiday, side salad