Roasted Winter Squash Salad with Spiced Walnuts, Red Currants, and Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette is a beautiful way to highlight the earthy, sweet, and subtly nutty flavor of roasted squash.
Last but certainly not least when it comes to my holiday meal for four is this salad recipe I'm sharing. It’s quite a simple salad, but there’s something about winter squash in general and delicata squash in particular that always wins my vote.
Persian-Inspired Cornish Hens with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce and Orange and Toasted Almond Saffron Rice Pilaf with Golden Raisins along with this salad make a festive meal for four.
Once roasted, squash takes on a sweet and nutty flavor, and gets crispy outside but stays creamy inside. It’s the type of thing I could be just as happy munching on instead of popcorn during a movie as I could eating it as a side dish to an autumnal meal.
Here roasted squash shines as the star of this salad, but the other components pack just as much a punch of flavor. And because we eat with our eyes first, and also I like to make holiday meals just a little prettier, it bears noting that this salad is a real stunner. Red pomegranate arils and currants contrast with the deep green of baby kale (which is my personal favorite of all the baby greens!), making it as festive as it is pretty.
This the last recipe I’m sharing as part of my intimate holiday meal! I hope you’ve enjoyed my menu as much as I have.
Do you have a festive salad you serve for a holiday meal?
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 pinch each salt and black pepper
- 1 delicata squash (about 1¼ to 1½ lbs), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out, and sliced into about ⅓-inch thick slices (no need to peel)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 cups salad greens, such as baby kale, baby spinach, field greens, etc.
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- A few stems of red currants
- Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss together the squash, oil, salt, and pepper, and spread it out on a large baking sheet. Roast until golden on the bottom, about 25 minutes. (I don’t flip it.)
- Turn the oven down to 350F. Spread out the walnuts on a large baking sheet and toast until aromatic and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Immediately when they’re out of the oven, toss the walnuts with the cinnamon and cayenne in a bowl.
- To serve, spread the salad greens out on a large platter. Arrange the squash, walnuts, pomegranate arils, and red currants on top. Serve with the vinaigrette for drizzling on top.