This delicata squash salad is the perfect seasonal salad! Loaded with roasted delicata squash, persimmons, pumpkin seeds, and a pomegranate vinaigrette, it's perfect for both holiday entertaining and everyday meals.
Although around this time of year warm soups, comforting sides and hearty casseroles often steal the spotlight, I still think a salad merits a place at the dinner table. Fall and winter salads are different than their summer counter parts, they’re more substantial and brimming with seasonal favorites like roasted vegetables, nuts and fruit and hearty greens. They’re the kind of salads with enough body and flavor that they can easily stand up to the rest of the meal.
Of course the possible variations are countless but I’m quite partial to this delicata squash salad loaded with persimmons and pomegranate seeds. On a holiday table filled with rich dishes, it cuts through the heaviness of the meal. Think of it as a palate cleanser of sorts. That’s not to say that it isn’t perfectly suited for an everyday meal.
(Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. As always find the full list of ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Delicata Squash – I love Delicata squash for this salad because its thin skin and oblong shape make it the easiest to prepare.
- Olive Oil – For roasting.
- Maple Syrup – A drizzle of maple helps to caramelize the squash as it roasts.
- Cinnamon – A dusting of cinnamon gives the roasted squash extra fall flavor.
- Kale – Hearty kale is easy to find and stands up well when dressed ahead of time making it an easy choice for holiday salads that need to sit out.
- Persimmons – This unique seasonal fruit adds a bit of sweetness and cheerful color.
- Pomegranate Seeds – Tiny pomegranate seeds add a little pop of juicy freshness to each bite.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Roasted pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch to the salad.
- Pomegranate Vinaigrette – We’ll make our own homemade vinaigrette with pomegranate molasses. The full-flavored vinaigrette pairs well with the creamy flavor of the roasted squash while complementing the sweetness of the persimmon.
How to Make a Delicata Squash Salad:
(Here are the basic steps and some helpful tips on how to make the recipe. Find the full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- The process starts by slicing the squash, which by the way is a breeze to prepare thanks to its thin skin. You don’t even need to peel it, just slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, flip the halves over and use a chef’s knife to cut 1-inch half-moon pieces.
- Place the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup, add a dusting of cinnamon and salt and they are ready to go in the oven.
- While that’s in the oven you just whisk together the tangy vinaigrette, shred your kale and slice your persimmons. If you’ve bought a whole pomegranate you’ll need to seed it which is best done submerged in a bowl of water or save yourself the time and effort and just buy pomegranate arils.
- When the squash is almost done you’ll pop the pumpkin seeds in the oven to toast then it’s just a matter of assembly.
- Squash – If you can’t find delicata feel free to use another kind of squash like acorn squash.
- Fruit – If persimmons are hard to find try sliced apples or pears instead. If pomegranates are tough to come by try dried cherries or cranberries.
- Seeds/Nuts – Use your favorite combination of nut and or seeds in addition to or instead of pumpkin seeds.
- Greens – Use baby greens, arugula or baby spinach instead but hold the dressing until you are ready to serve since these won’t hold up to being dressed as well.
- Cheese - Feel free to add a few shavings of manchego for an extra layer of saltiness but the salad has a lot going for it on its own already so that’s entirely optional and up to your discretion.
More Holiday Salads:
This hearty roasted delicata squash salad filled with seasonal favorites like persimmons and pomegranates is perfect for both everyday meals and holiday entertaining.
For the Salad:
- 1 medium or 2 small Delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced into ½ -inch thick rings
- 1 Tablespoon/ 15ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ Tablespoon/7ml maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup/ 28g pumpkin seeds
- One bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and finely shredded
- 2 small Fuyu persimmons, sliced
- ½ cup/ 87g fresh pomegranate seeds
For the Vinaigrette:
- 2 Tablespoons/ 30ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon/15ml balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons/12ml Pomegranate molasses
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the squash with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender (about 20 minutes), flipping the slices halfway through. In the last 3 minutes of roasting add the pumpkin seeds to the sheet pan.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper.
- When the squash is tender and pumpkin seeds are toasted remove baking sheet from oven and set on wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile toss the kale with the vinaigrette using your hands to gently massage and soften the kale. Top with the squash, persimmon slices, pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Serve immediately.
VARIATIONS: Substitute acorn squash for the delicata. Substitute sliced apples or pears for the persimmons. Substitute dried cherries or cranberries for the pomegranate seeds. Use your favorite combination of nut and or seeds in addition to or instead of pumpkin seeds. Substitute baby greens, arugula or baby spinach instead of kale, holding the dressing until ready to serve. Add a few shavings of manchego for a non-vegan option.
STORAGE: Salad is best served immediately but squash and dressing can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.
DIETARY INFO: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 290mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.