Sometimes the simplest ingredients come together easily like this Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad.
I adore warm salads during the cooler months, which is why I probably make a warm salad almost every night for dinner. I like to serve warm salads with roast beef, pork and chicken as well as fish or shellfish. Warm salads also make a fabulous one-dish meal.
When I make a warm salad, I use every kind of green that’s available this time of year – or any leftover leafy greens that might be growing in my fall garden. Kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, spinach and arugula are all perfectly delicious slightly warm and dressed in a sweet or spicy vinaigrette.
Kale and collard greens hold up best to the slight heat and vinaigrette – and they hold really well on the dinner table. If I’m using Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens or arugula, I heat the vinaigrette first, add the delicate greens and then take the pan off the heat, tossing the greens in the warm vinaigrette.
I especially adore the flavor combination of this warm kale, Delicata squash and quinoa salad. The slight peppery flavor of kale, sweetness of the Delicata, and nutty flavor of quinoa pair so deliciously together. I use thinly sliced red onions for the aromatics and roasting the squash with maple syrup adds another beautiful layer of flavor. I toss the salad in a sweet and spicy mustard vinaigrette and I like to finish this salad with pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds or dried cherries.
For me, the weeknight meal is all about taking fresh, seasonal ingredients and pairing them with a few pantry staples. This makes dinner delicious, healthy and achievable. Achievable is good, right?
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!
- 1 Delicata Squash, halved, seeded and chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1-2 cups cooked quinoa (cook according to package directions)
- 1 bunch purple or green kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Dash of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Toss the bite sized Delicata squash with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Place the squash in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until the squash is slightly soft and golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Whisk together the 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes and dash of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a skillet over medium heat, add about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and heat. When it's hot add the sliced red onion and sauté just until slightly soft. Then stir in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds longer. Fold in the chopped kale and tossing it with the onion and garlic. When the kale is warm and slightly wilted, remove the skillet from the heat and season the kale with salt and pepper. Toss the kale with the squash and quinoa, adding more vinaigrette as needed.
Transfer the warm salad to a platter or individual bowls and garnish with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cherries or cranberries. Serve.