It wasn’t until I moved to Portland that I realized Fall was a season to be not only appreciated, but to be celebrated. In Southern California the seasons come and go with little distinction. It’s nice to be able to see the cycle of life and nature, all the ebbs and flows. There are times when I struggle with the gray and the cold, wet days we see here in the Pacific Northwest but it isn’t without it’s charms. Fall brings a certain smell in the air, the crackle of leaves underfoot, the drop in temperatures and most importantly, the food. Fall dishes are a little bit more understated but I really look forward to seeing all the variations of greens and squash that turn up at the market.
Delicata squash is one of my favorites since you don’t need to peel it and it roasts up really quickly when popped into a hot oven. I’ve combined it in this salad with some purple kale, quinoa, grapes and pomegranates. A sweet, tart dressing of maple syrup, lime and ginger and a sprinkling of crunchy almonds creates great flavor and texture. It’s hearty enough as a stand alone salad or would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table. Kale keeps well after it’s dressed so you can make it the day before and just add the almonds right before serving.
I know that we’ve mentioned this before but I realized after talking to a few friends the other day that the idea of massaging your kale might still be a mystery. Raw kale that is just tossed in dressing is way too fibrous, bitter and tough. A quick rub down and your kale will be silky, sweet and way more palatable.
- 1 delicata squash, cut in half, seeded and cut into ½-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 bunch purple kale, stems removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup sliced, toasted almonds
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Toss the delicata squash on the prepared pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes until tender and just starting to brown.
- Combine the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil with the maple syrup, ginger, lime zest, lime juice and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the kale and using your hands massage the dressing into the leaves until they are slightly wilted and have softened.
- Add the quinoa, grapes, pomegranates and almonds and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with an additional sprinkle of almonds if desired.