It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with sweets and rich foods during the winter months, especially during the holiday season. And so, I like to offer a few solid lunch options that can help bring balance. I don’t eat a lot of kale salads but with the sesame delicata squash and the spicy dressing, it lends a nice texture to the overall salad. Of course, if you don’t want to use kale, spinach or baby lettuce would also be great.
Delicata squash is the star of this simple kale salad. The squash is quick and easy to prepare since the skin can be left on. If you like a little extra heat, I recommend tossing a teaspoon of sambal oelek onto the squash before roasting.
- 1 delicata squash 3/4 lb
- 4 scallions diced
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 cups shredded and packed kale
- 1/3 cup dried black lentils
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Remove the ends from the delicata squash, cut in half down the length and remove the seeds. Cut the delicata squash into ¼” slices. Toss with diced scallions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Roast until tender and scallions are browning, 25 minutes.
In a small pot, combine lentils with 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Check at the 20 minute mark and add more water as needed. Drain any excess water
Combine dressing ingredients in a small container with a lid. Shake until well combined. Pour half over the kale and allow to sit while the squash and lentils are cooking.
Add the cooked squash and lentils to the kale along with the remaining half of the dressing. Toss until everything is combined.
Tips & Tricks: You can use any type of oil for the dressing but I prefer to use a neutral flavored oil. For more sesame flavor, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the dressing.
If you want to cook the delicata squash longer to caramelize, wait to add the scallions until the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Nutrition: See the information.
Sesame Delicata Squash
I love roasting sweet potatoes and winter squash with sesame oil. The flavors meld together to create a robust recipe. This combination gets used in salads, on top of noodle bowls, and even in fresh summer rolls.
Squash: This salad would be lovely with cubed and roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or even cubed pumpkin.
Greens: Kale salad is not for everyone. Spinach or lettuce would work in place of the raw kale.
Nuts: I’ve made a similar salad with peanut oil and toasted peanuts in place of the sesame. Toasted cashews would also make a nice addition to the salad.
In my house I have about a half-dozen different types of chili paste and hot sauces. If you’re a fan of a bit of a heat, it’s fun to explore the different flavors of each. My favorite, hands-down, is sambal oelek. It’s a slow heat that also brings a nice flavor to the dish. It can be hard to find in stores- sriracha is my next go-to.