I LOVE winter squash. I love butternut, kuri, spaghetti, kabocha, acorn, pumpkin and delicata. There are many more varieties but those are the ones most readily available and easy to get in the belly. The problem with my love for winter squash is that my husband hates it. He will eat the customary slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (slathered in whipped cream, of course) but the rest of the year, forget it.
You see, my husband grew up in Circleville, Ohio which is known for its pumpkin festival known as Pumpkin Show. If you’ve seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, it’s basically the pumpkin version. So, he must have been force fed pumpkin through childhood or something because it spoiled him for all winter squash. Until now!
Last night I made an arugula and delicata salad and he said, “This is the only way that I’ll eat this squash.” I WIN! So now it must be a blog post.
This is basically a superfood salad and it just happens to be super yummy. It could even be a main dish with some roasted chicken.
Delicata squash, and orange fleshed winter squash in general, is a superstar for its carotenoid power which is important for eye health and a million other things. It’s also high in Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. One of the best things about delicata is that the skin is edible so you can just remove the seeds, slice it and cook it. Arugula is packed with Vitamin A and Vitamin C also and is high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Your eyes, heart, muscles and bones will love it and your palate will love its peppery-ness. The pumpkins seeds add a ton of minerals like zinc, copper and manganese and the pomegranate seeds have anthocyanins which are basically amazing for everything but particularly good as antioxidants, fighting free radicals and protecting cells.
The recipe is super easy. You can roast the squash ahead of time and hold it in the fridge for a few days or you can enjoy it warm on the salad. I made a raw apple cider vinegar dressing and added pomegranate seeds but you can use your fave salad dressing and add tart dried cherries if you have them on hand. I love arugula but you can use spinach, massaged kale or any other green. It’s basically a choose your own adventure salad.
Special shout out to the farmers of the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative who provided the inspiration and fresh local ingredients for this salad.
Arugula and Delicata Salad
1 large bunch arugula or your favorite greens, chopped or torn into bite size pieces
About 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette or apple cider vinaigrette (see recipe below)
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup crumbled feta, queso fresco or mizithra cheese
¼ cup pomegranate seeds or chopped dried cherries
1 delicata squash, sliced and roasted (see recipe below)
1. Toss the arugula in your desired amount of vinaigrette. My husband and I fight about this. He likes extra light dressing and I like my salad sufficiently dressed Start light with about 2 tablespoons and go from there.
2. Add all the toppings.
For the squash:
1 delicata squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Half the delicata squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.
3. Slice into ¼ inch pieces
4. Place on baking sheet and toss in olive oil and a couple of pinches of sea salt
5. Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they begin to brown. Keep an eye on them. Oven temperatures vary and these can overcook quickly.
6. Remove and allow to cool.
For the dressing:
1 garlic clove 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons raw honey,or less if you like 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil salt and pepper, to taste
1. Throw all ingredients in a food processor except oil, salt and pepper.
2. While the food processor is running, SLOWLY drizzle in all of the oil. It should emulsify.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste