Fall is my favorite time of year! I love seeing all the pictures of leaves and seasons changing, because of course, here in Southern California, much doesn’t change, weather-wise. Another thing I love about fall is that some of my favorite fruits & vegetables are finally available again – namely, persimmon and delicata squash.
Admittedly, I was a little late to the delicata party, having only discovered them a couple of years ago. Until now, all I did was slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, slice rounds and roast with olive oil & paprika (try it – it’s delicious and they will never make it to the dinner table because you will eat them straight out of the oven).
I also love adding fruit to salads, and often throw in a pear or apple. When I saw the persimmons at the market recently, I stocked up on some and they’ve been my go-to afternoon sweet snack.
Salads are, hands down, my favorite type of meal. I know that sounds strange, but they are, and I actually crave them. So naturally I’m always looking for ideas for new combinations. I recently had a kale salad at a restaurant, and while the blend of ingredients had nothing whatsoever in common with this salad, it got the wheels turning.
Some people peel their squash beforehand, but the skin on the delicata is edible, and I do not peel it. I think there are good nutrients in the skin and it has such a pretty combination of colors. You will want to start with the squash and get it into the oven to roast, since that takes the longest.
Kale has a deep, nutty taste to me, and I actually enjoy it quite a bit. I like the curly kale the best, and after washing thoroughly, I suggest removing the center spine, which I find to be tough. If you think kale has a bitter taste, just try massaging it a bit after this step.
And when I say massage, I mean bunch it up in your hand and squeeze a few times! You’ll notice, right away, the texture and color change, and the flavor softens as well.
This salad can easily be adjusted for 2, 4 or more people. It’s a great lunch salad, and we even had it for dinner last week. The recipe calls for using the entire squash, but for 2 people, you’ll probably only use 1/2, and the same goes for the pepitas.
If you are short on time, a good store bought salad dressing is Whole Foods 365 Lemon Tahini Dressing, which is what I based this dressing recipe on.
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 1 persimmon
- 1 delicata squash, washed
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ½ tsp. olive oil
- salt to taste
- Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3 tbls. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- ¼ tsp. agave
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. fresh rosemary
- 2 tbls. fresh parsley
- pinch of salt
- grind of pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare delicata squash for roasting by slicing lengthwise & removing seeds. Slice ½" pieces crosswise and place on a rimmed sheet, lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil, and salt to taste. Slide into the oven for 20 minutes.
- While squash roasts, lightly toast the pepitas in a pan on the stove. Watch carefully, they toast fast and will start to crack & pop - swirl the pan to evenly toast all seeds. When done, remove from the pan to a small plate to cool.
- Wash & spin dry the kale. Lay the kale on its' side on a cutting board and slice away the tough, spiny center (you may need to hold the leaves away from the spine).
- Take a handful of kale and squeeze it in your hand, into a tight fist. Transfer the kale hand-to-hand, squeezing and lightly massaging as you do a couple of times. This will soften the kales texture and taste. Tear the kale into bit size pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
- Prepare the dressing: place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add water by tablespoons to thin.
- When ready, remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool.
- Peel the persimmon & cut into pieces, removing the center spine if desired.
- When squash is cool, slice into pieces.
- Add the squash, persimmon and pepitas to the salad bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing on top (there will probably be more dressing made than necessary, save some for later!). Toss the salad, plate and serve.
To make this Paleo and/or Whole 30 compliant, omit the agave.