Kale, Pear and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Well hello November!

I’ve never been one to herald the arrival of this dismal time of year, but this month we’ll transition into our Halifax home and I am filled with anticipation for that new chapter. I’ll be sharing more on our move soon (here’s a sneak peek at our lakeside cottage), but for now we need to talk about this salad I’ve been making on repeat.

Since the cooler weather has arrived, I’ve certainly been cooking more sheet pan dinners and slow cooker suppers, but I’m also embracing fall greens with gusto. It might be my favourite season for building a hearty salad, and as you will see, I like to pile just about everything on the plate.

November is when the kale in my garden is at its best, sweetened by those frosty mornings. My winter squash habit peaks at the market and I haul a few varieties back to my kitchen on every visit.

Delicata is my favourite for salads, mostly because it is a fuss-free squash, but also because I love how it looks on a plate of greens. It also takes on a wonderful chewy texture when roasted and caramelized; this is just one reason why it stands up to the robust kale so well.

This month is also when I remember how delicious a ripe pear can be. I keep a bowl of them on my kitchen counter and they go on everything from my morning oats to my super salads. In this recipe, I use a Red Anjou, which is firm enough to slice without a mess, yet still plenty sweet and juicy.

In November I get back in the habit of toasting nuts, partially as an excuse to warm up the kitchen with the oven, but mostly to have around for snacking . Walnuts pair so well with the sweet pears and roasted squash, but you could use pecans or hazelnuts, too.

I try to remember to keep a wedge of bold cheese, such as a blue or a chevre, in the fridge for salads such as this one. And there’s always a jar of vinaigrette on the counter. With meal prep like this, a hearty fall salad can come together in a matter of minutes.

As with most of my recipes, I hope you use this salad idea as a springboard for y0ur own creations, using what you have on hand. It would be delicious with a crisp, sweet apple in place of the pear and shaved parmesan instead of the goat cheese. If nuts are a problem for you, top the salad with toasted, salted pumpkin seeds.

I also recommend rounding out the salad to a meal by including cold, roast chicken or leftover holiday turkey – so delicious with that apple cider vinaigrette.

Kitchen Tip: All raw kale salads have to be massaged to break down the tough fibers and bring out the sweetness in the kale. Massaging kale transforms it into a tender (and more digestible) salad green. A completed kale salad should not look leafy; it should look dark green, bruised, and almost soggy. Delicious!

Kale, Pear and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
4.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: Salad
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Total time:
Serves/Yield: Serves 6-8
A hearty and nutritious salad, filled with the flavours of fall.
Ingredients
  • 1 small Delicata squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small bundle curly kale, washed and torn
  • ¼ cup shredded radicchio (optional)
  • 2 red Anju pears, sliced
  • ½ cup toasted walnut halves
  • 1 cup cornbread croutons (optional)
  • 50 grams chevre (goat cheese) for topping
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, leaving it looking like two canoes. Lay them, cut-side down, onto a board and slice into 1/2 inch moons.
  2. Toss the cut squash lightly with olive oil and arange in a single layer on a parchement-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and roast until fork tender and slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Cool squash to room temperature. You could also toast your walnuts at this time.
  3. Prep the kale: Place the kale in a large salad bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Using your hands, or two wooden spoons, thoroughly massage the kale until it begins to look bruised and a slightly darker green.
  4. Assemble the salad: Toss the kale, squash and radicchio together in a bowl with another spoonful of vinaigrette. Heap the salad high on a serving plate and top with sliced pears, walnuts and cornbread croutons, if using. Finish with a slice or crubing of cheve, depending on your variety. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and serve at once.


Apple Cider Vinaigrette
4.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 1 cup
A simple and versatile salad dressing with many health benefits.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon liquid honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (basil, oregano, chives or thyme
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
  2. Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
  4. Top the jar with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Images provided by my salad-munching friend, Alison Slattery of Two Food Photographers. Thanks, Ali!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. What a great autumn for you – huge congratulations on so many fronts! Have reserved your recipe to try this weekend. I have a total love on for kale right now, so this is perfect timing. Hope your move goes smoothly!

  2. I love Nova Scotia and hope to see lots of photos of your new home!

  3. Congratulations on the house, Aimee! It looks gorgeous! Once you’re settled, I vote for a house tour, pretty please!

  4. Ellen Tresidder says:

    Amy this salad sounds delicious, but I have an aversion to goat cheese; what do you think I could substitute for that?

  5. Thank you for sharing the photo of your new home. I can’t think of a more beautiful place than Nova Scotia, and I am happy for you and your family that you are starting this new chapter of your lives.

  6. humble_pie says:

    it’s so generous of you to create and post your four-part series of scrumptious montreal eateries, right now when you are so busy with all the challenges of moving. And what a series it is. A classic and beautifully illustrated standalone guide to montreal, all by itself. Thank you!

    will you be continuing this blog? will you be posting from the shores of lake nova scotia? will everything remain the same while everything will change? one thing for sure, the nature of the raw foodstuffs will change and we’ll likely see more shore creatures & more maritime recipes.

    à bientôt mais jamais adieu j’espère

  7. This salad sounds delicious! I love the photos!!!

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