Roasted Delicata Squash and Kale Salad

This roasted Delicata squash and kale salad is a healthy side or meal that combines roasted winter squash, kale, ricotta salata, hazelnuts, and a Dijon vinaigrette. Bonus: it’s quick enough to throw together on a weeknight.

A black bowl filled with roasted delicata squash and kale salad with salad servers resting in it.

Even though I consider myself fairly capable when it comes to wielding a knife in the kitchen, I always hold my breath when attempting to cut through winter squashes such as butternut and acorn. I have yet to lose a finger, but honestly, it’s only a matter of time, which is why Delicata squash has won my affection. Not only is it a hundred times easier to cut, it doesn’t need to be peeled. Here, half-moons of Delicata squash are roasted alongside chunks of red onion until soft and caramelized, then tossed, while still warm, with tender kale, toasty hazelnuts, and salty ricotta salata cheese in a sweet and savory sherry vinaigrette.

It’s a salad I could very well eat weekly through the fall and winter without tiring of it (which I say with confidence because I’ve definitely done it).–Sheela Prakash

*What is Ricotta Salata?

Imagine if you pressed salted, dried ricotta cheese until it was firm enough to grate or crumble. Sounds sorta incredible, right? That’s ricotta salata. Milder than feta, it’s similar to cojita or paneer and makes all the difference in salads, tacos, scrambled eggs, and anywhere you want a hit of salty and creamy.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Kale Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 6
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Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • For the vinaigrette

Directions

Make the salad

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.

Place the squash and red onion on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, season with salt and black pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables in an even layer. Roast, carefully flipping halfway through, until tender and lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

Make the vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, garlic, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper until combined and emulsified.

Place the kale in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the leaves until they feel less stiff, about 1 minute. Whisk the vinaigrette once or twice more to ensure it’s emulsified, then drizzle about half of it over the kale and toss to coat.

Once the vegetables are roasted, add them to the bowl with the kale. Drizzle in the remaining vinaigrette and toss gently to combine, being careful not to break up the tender squash. 

Add the ricotta salata and hazelnuts. Gently toss once more. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Print RecipeBuy the Mediterranean Every Day cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I love a warm salad and this recipe doesn’t disappoint. It's a little bit comfort food yet still packed full of veggies. There's a nice textural juxtaposition between the roasted squash and onions, and the crisp kale.

I stuck with the ricotta salata and loved the salty crumbles mixed in with the almost caramelized veggies. I couldn't find Delicata squash when I was shopping for this recipe, so I subbed in acorn squash. The acorn squash worked well, but I think Delicata would be even better.

I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate vegetables into my diet (to steer myself away from the temptation of eating carbs and pasta all winter like a bear prepping for hibernation). The perfect vessel: a big, whopping salad.

This one has everything you need to be fully satiated—the toasty hazelnut crunch, salty bits of cheese, ribbons of kale massaged with a light dijon dressing, roasted gourds and onions—without missing out on life's indulgences. While I would've loved a little more caramelization on the vegetables (it would've been there with an extra 10 minutes), I can't complain about this big 'ol pile of healthy food.

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