Recipe of the week: Pomegranate and roasted delicata squash salad

What better way to brighten up the winter months than a fresh salad featuring delicious and hardy chicories? This colorful dish is piled high with in-season goodies like roasted delicata squash, pistachios, and pomegranate and while it looks fancy and complicated, it’s actually quite simple to recreate at home. It’s equally perfect on a holiday table or paired with a simple protein any night of the week. Delicata squashes are a Thanksgiving cook’s dream come true: seasonal, delicious, and so versatile. This salad just might steal the show at your Thanksgiving feast, and for good reason. Glittering pomegranate arils and golden squash taste just as gorgeous as they look. The process of peeling and chopping hard winter squash is no easy task, which adds to the appeal of delicata squash. As its name suggests, it’s smaller and has a more delicate skin than many of its seasonal sisters. When cooked, the cream-colored skin of this vegetable, which often sports pretty stripes of green or orange, softens and becomes edible. So not only does the smaller size make it easier to cut…you don’t even have to peel it! And as with many recipes, substitutions abound and are easy to make with this dish. You can try adding goat cheese or feta, or substitute the pomegranate seeds with dried cranberries or dried cherries. The Dukkah spice adds a nice punch of flavor, balanced by the Labneh for an all together healthy and beautiful salad sure to please everyone at the table!

Ingredients

Salad

¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup roasted delicata squash
1 cup baby arugula
1 cup frisee hearts
1 cup thin sliced radicchio
2 tbsp pistachio dukkah
½ cup lemon Labneh
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 each lemon and lime
Olive oil

Labneh

1 qt Greek Yogurt
2 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp cracked black pepper

Dukkah

2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp sea salt
1 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios

1 delicata squash

Directions

Line a fine meshed strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Stir the salt into the yogurt and poor the yogurt in the strainer and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate and let strain overnight. Remove the strained Labneh from the cheesecloth and place into a mixing bowl. Fold in the lemon zest and cracked black pepper. Can be made a few days in advance and will keep for well over a week.

In a stainless steel sauté pan toast the cumin and coriander over a low flame until you hear the spices cracking. Remove from the pan and let cool on a plate or sheet pan. Next, toast the sesame seeds in the same pan until lightly golden brown and cool separately from the spices. Grind the cumin and coriander in a spice grinder then combine in a bowl with the chopped pistachios, salt and sesame seeds. The spice mix can be made a day ahead and will keep in an airtight jar for a few weeks.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the delicata squash in half and remove the seeds (no need to peel, the skin adds a nice texture). Next, cut the squash into ¼ inch thick half-moons. Toss the squash in a bowl with salt and pepper and enough olive oil to lightly coat. Spread the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until dark golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl add the thinly sliced radicchio, frisee and arugula. Next add the cooled roasted squash, cilantro and mint. Dress the salad with a squeeze of half a lime and lemon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the dukkah and toss together. To plate, spread the labneh on the bottom of a platter and place salad on top. Garnish with pomegranate. Serves 2-4 people.

Thank you to Chef Douglas Macfarland from Brasada Ranch for the recipe.

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