I’m always looking for interesting new salads and this one, which serves a crowd (a big plus!) is my new favorite. It takes a little longer to make than most chop-and-go salads, but the results are so worth it: the squash is caramelized and sweet, the kale adds freshness and crunch, the pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth, and the ginger vinaigrette has a little heat and acidity. I like to sprinkle salted pumpkin seeds over the salad for the final touch- it rounds it all out and adds even more texture.
All in all, this is a pretty fun salad! We like it served alongside simple roasted chicken, grilled skirt steak or salmon, but either way you have it, it’s the ideal fall side dish: healthy, seasonal and delicious.
Yields: approximately 4 servings
Why I love this recipe: sweet with caramelized squash, tart with pops of pomegranate and with a satisfying crunch from the kale and salted pumpkin seeds, this salad has it all. The spicy, honey-laced ginger vinaigrette ties it all together.
Notes: this salad is easily doubled and I usually make a double batch of the vinaigrette to keep in the fridge for other salad needs. It’s extremely versatile! I like to serve the squash on top of the salad in pretty half moons, but if you like, you can cube it instead, which makes it easier to serve.
Variation: substitute cubed sweet potato for the acorn squash and adjust bake time accordingly.
For the acorn squash:
- 1 small acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to season
For the salad:
- 4 cups curly kale, washed and chopped
- 1/4 cup salted, roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, plus extra for garnish
For the ginger vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 11/2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the squash: preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and toss the squash slices with the olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper. Roast until tender and caramelized, 35 to 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: combine shallots, ginger, and vinegar in bowl, drizzle in the extra virgin oil olive and honey and season with salt and pepper. With an immersion blender, blend it all together until smooth.
- Assemble the salad: on a platter, toss the kale and pomegranate seeds with the vinaigrette.
- Surround with roasted slices of squash, top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and more pomegranate seeds. Serve.