Delicata Squash Salad with Baby Greens

It's funny how you can go your whole life without eating a certain food — and then one day, when that food finally finds its way to your plate — it becomes an instant favorite. Bonus points when said food is actually good for you!

That's how I feel about delicata squash, which I “discovered” only a year or two ago while picking up lunch at my beloved Daily Cafe in the Pearl.

While I was waiting, I spied a plate of stuffed squash being delivered to another customer and I immediately had order-envy. How had I missed seeing that gem on the specials menu? And what exactly was it?

I eagerly returned the next day and ordered the special, which was a roasted delicata squash, halved and stuffed with spiced quinoa and roasted vegetables. I think there may also have been some pine nuts involved. The details are hazy to me now, but I do remember being blown away by deliciousness. I couldn't believe I had gone my whole life without experiencing this squash with the magical, edible skin.

Ever since then, I've been roasting delicata squash rings as a simple side dish. It goes with pretty much anything, and it's a cinch to prepare. I like to make a big batch and then enjoy leftovers throughout the week.

Delicata is often served as a side dish, but it also makes a lovely salad when you pair it with mixed greens. I also like to add some pistachio or other nut for a serving of healthy fats. You can also add a side of protein for a more substantial meal.

Adding delicata squash to your menu is one of the joys of winter cooking — it's hearty, delicious and — most important — quick and easy to prepare.

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