Maple Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Kale and Wild Rice Recipe
Massaged kale with roasted winter squash and wild rice is paired with maple dijon dressing, walnuts, pomegranate, onion and parsley to create a delicious, fall or winter, main dish salad. This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and vegan.**There is some overlap in cooking and prep time, so the recipe comes together in about an hour.
While the oven is preheating, place the walnuts in a shallow baking dish and toast in the preheating oven for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the nuts are toasty and fragrant. Cool, rough chop and set aside.
Bring the water and salt to a boil. In a medium sauce pan bring the water and a heavy pinch of salt to a boil. Meanwhile rinse the rice. Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes. When done, the rice will be chewy yet tender with many grains split open. Drain any remaining water and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
While the rice is cooking, trim ends of squash using a large chef knife. Cut lengthwise in 1/2 and remove and discard seeds. The skin stays on for this squash as it tenderizes as it cooks (it has a nice texture). Cut squash into 1/2 moon shapes at about 1/4 inch -1/2 inch thickness (be consistent in how thick you cut so that they roast up evenly). Use a spoon to smooth the scooped out edges. Dice the remaining pieces that are not 1/2 moon shapes into cubes about the same thickness as the moon shapes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup and ground nutmeg over the squash. Toss with hands. Place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan making sure each piece is flat and roast in oven for about 25 minutes turning squash about half way through cooking. Roast until slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and cool.
Destem the kale. Ribbon the leaves and then cut into 1 inch - 2 inch pieces. (This is the point where I wash the kale in a salad spinner). Place in a large bowl.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, add the olive oil, mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pinch of salt. Whisk well until an emulsion is formed.
Pour 3 tablespoons of dressing over the kale. Set a timer for two minutes and using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Kale is tough, so don't worry about bruising the kale, just go for it! The leaves will be nice and tender after massaging.
Toss the kale with the cooled wild rice, walnuts, onion, pomegranate arils and parsley and then lay the cooled squash over the top of the salads. Pour the remaining dressing over salad or to taste.
Serve cold with a few grinds of pepper and optional shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese.
Store in the fridge for up to three days. Allow to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving so the olive oil can soften a bit.
This salad holds up well in the fridge for a few days. If serving the day after it's made, keep the squash in a separate covered container and assemble when ready to serve.