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A Big, Beautiful Harvest Salad with Delicata Squash and Kale | The Year in Food

I realized over the weekend how excited I am about salads for this time of year. Salad in the colder months of fall and winter is a different beast than a bright, refreshing plate of summer produce tossed in olive oil. They’re big and bold; they have heft and weight and substance. And I think that I almost prefer it that way. Perhaps because there’s a challenge in creating an appealing salad that fits with the mood and the tone of the season. In summer, salad is easy and expected, whereas in fall and winter the produce is dense, rooty, starchy, the merit of the vegetables a little less straightforward. They require a little coaxing. I love it.

A Big, Beautiful Harvest Salad with Delicata Squash and Kale | The Year in Food
On Saturday I visited New Family Farm in Sebastopol with 18 Reasons. My ever-present pastoral Sebastopol fantasies notwithstanding, the visit was inspiring. It’s easy to cast a rose-colored patina over farm life, but I doubt anybody would call the work itself easy. I appreciated how open they were in discussing the challenges of beginning and sustaining and learning about the business of farming. And I appreciated their idealism. We need idealistic people in the world to keep fighting, uphill, that good fight. Like growing vegetables that we can believe in.

A Big, Beautiful Harvest Salad with Delicata Squash and Kale | The Year in Food
18 Reasons fed us a gorgeous lunch with produce from the farm – roasted delicata squash and roasted kale and quinoa dressed with oregano and chile. And that’s exactly what inspired this salad. I had Thanksgiving in mind with the big flavors going on here: smoky chills, paprika, fresh lime, toasted nuts, sweet cranberries, sweet-spicy squash, nutty quinoa and earthy kale to pull it all together. I had a hard time giving this salad a name that captured its bigness. And so, a big and beautiful harvest salad for the colder months.

A Big, Beautiful Harvest Salad with Delicata Squash and Kale | The Year in Food

Serves 6-8

For the squash
2 delicata squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the salad
1/2 cup red quinoa
3/4 cup water
1 bunch curly purple kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho powder
2 small garlic cloves, pressed or minced
Sea salt
1/2 cup shelled pepitas
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the delicate squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and reserve. (Roast the seeds, tossed in salt, at 300 degrees in a toaster oven until crisped and golden.)

Slice the squash halves into crescents. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the paprika, chipotle powder, and sea salt. Toss the squash with the oil mix. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until browned and tender, turning once, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a small pot with a lid, add the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool

While the squash roasts, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice and zest, 5 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cumin, ancho chile powder, garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt. In a large mixing bowl, toss the dressing with the kale, working it into the leaves with your fingers. Set aside.

Toast the pepitas in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown and pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the salad, combine the quinoa, pepitas, and cotija cheese with the dressed kale. Top with the delicata squash and cranberries. Serve at room temperature.

A Big, Beautiful Harvest Salad with Delicata Squash and Kale | The Year in Food
by Kimberley Hasselbrink

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Look at all that kale!! LOVE that photo – I bet it was a blast harvesting everything. Also, this salad is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - This looks great! I tend to forget about salads this time of year, in my eagerness to make more mac and cheese, so I will definitely be trying this.ReplyCancel

  • Grace - Gorgeous! This salad sounds divine. I really need to get myself to an 18 Readons event one of these days..ReplyCancel

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - We have alot of kale to eat from the garden right now so I thank you in advance for this lovely recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Mirjam Leslie-Pringle - This looks amazing! Great inspiration and beautiful pictures! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • tara - Thank you, for you just reminded me that I AM excited about salads this time of year. I love the heartier greens, and how when you make a meal of a late-fall salad, it truly seems a meal. Full and satisfying. Yours definitely fits the bill.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley - This is so beautiful! And I have everything to make this, minus the cranberries and pepitas. I just roasted some delicata squash with fingerling potatoes in a miso/harissa oil (from Heidi Swanson) and it was divine. I think I am in love with delicata squash now. Can’t wait to make this!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Stunning! I can’t seem to find delicatas anymore in Toronto (perhaps they are out of season here?). Such a bummer! Sweet potatoes make a decent stand-in, but I prefer the texture and milder flavour of the delicatas. :)

    I’ve been pairing sweet potatoes and kale together for a while, but I didn’t think of trying a cumin and ancho chile dressing. I’ve been obsessed with harissa and lemon. Thanks for the inspiration! This will be Wednesday night’s dinner.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - @Kristen: I remember last year noticing how early delicatas left the market and thinking that I should stock up this year and squirrel them away somewhere. They’re my absolute fave too. I think that an acorn squash, sliced very thin, would work well too. And yes to harissa and lemon.ReplyCancel

  • Nader Khouri - Great recipe and photos. I’ve been rubbing coconut oil on it for baking, so good.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - It’s only in the last few years that I’ve realised the beauty of a proper autumn/winter salad with all that bulk and weight to it. This is a total stunner.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Beautiful colored saladReplyCancel

  • Marian Knowles - Kimberley,
    I made this amazing salad last night and I’m so happy! My family loved it. It was delicious with depth of flavor that was delightful on a cold evening in Brooklyn. Well done, thank you.

  • Amari @ Eat Chic Chicago - I love your description of fall salads! They are certainly bigger and bolder and pack a punch of mouthwatering earthy flavor as opposed to summer salads which tend to be lighter and more delicate. I think the name you chose for the salad suits it perfectly well and I cannot wait to make it!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Good point about the acorn squash! I’ll chuck one in my grocery basket this week. :)ReplyCancel

  • Catering Calgary - This is such a lovely post and an unique, tasty-looking recipe. I wonder where I could find the ancho powder here in Calgary. I like how the squash keeps its interesting shape.ReplyCancel

  • erin @ yummy supper - Kimberley, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Wouldn’t your salad be a perfect addition to the holiday table? Yum!

  • Shikha @ Shikha la mode - I’ve never cooked with delicata squash before – it looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box - Everything sound delicious and perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing. Now I’ll be able to eat kale without all of that bitter flavor. It can be overwhelming. Nothing like a good recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Shari - Simply Shari's Gluten Free - Wow! So flavorful and colorful. Can’t wait to try it! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Foodpix Vancouver Photographer - This looks delicious. I like the variety of colours on the dish; it could be more interesting picture if the green colour of vegetables could stand out more to the viewer’s eyes.ReplyCancel

  • Adam - This is such a great salad! Can’t wait to try it, Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • - Kimberley—

    Beautiful, as always. Not a lot of salads make me hungry looking at them, and this does. You gem, you. Can’t wait to buy your book mama. Thank you for all the gorgeous kitchen inspiration.


  • Simon - Wow! This looks absolutely delicious :) will definetly be trying it. ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - My husband and I made this salad tonight and we both agreed this was the best dish we’ve had in a long time, which I think says a lot for foodies living in Portland, OR! I’m already excited for leftovers tomorrow at lunch. Thank you so much for posting this delicious recipe, what a treat!ReplyCancel

  • Julia - This looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it out with the overabundance of summer squash in our area right now! Although I may use radicchio instead of kale for a superfood swap out. We also use squash in our summer recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - This salad looks amazing! Wonderful photos.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha Nagtegaal - This is a stunning recipe and I love your description of the density of winter salad leaves – I could almost feel them! I shall definitely be making this very soon. Only just stumbled upon your blog, so I’m going to check out some more of your recipes :-)
    X SamReplyCancel

  • tmsky - many thanksReplyCancel

  • muslihuddin - really good recipe, really hope admin can share more recipe in here..ReplyCancel

  • muslihuddin - looks nice…i want make it this recipe for my family,next time..ReplyCancel

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