Autumn means fall and winter squash begin to pile up at the market. Pumpkins, butternut squash, and delicata squash are among my favorites. Pumpkin and butternut squash are great for soups, but delicata is my pick for salads, like this Delicata Squash Salad with Kale.
Can You Eat the Skin of Delicata Squash?
One of the big reasons I love delicata squash is that yes, you can eat the skin. None of that time-consuming peeling is necessary at all. (Yay!!)
This makes it uber-easy and quick to prep, and beautiful to serve to the table.
How To Store Delicata Squash
Most fall and winter squash have long storage lives, but delicata is more, well, a little more delicate.
That said, it still has a shelf life of 3 months when stored in a cool dry place. As a note, at high altitude, I find it dries out a little more quickly, and lasts closer to 2 months.
According to the Farmer's Almanac, it's best not to refrigerate this squash.
How Do You Prep Delicata Squash?
First of all, this is what delicata squash looks like in your market. One is just the right size for one person, I find. Whether you cut it up for a salad as in this recipe, or stuff it.
Wash the squash thoroughly.
Slice off the ends using a sharp chef's knife. Stand it on one end, hold it firmly, and slice it in half from end to end.
Then, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. They should come out easily.
Next slice it into half-circles using a sharp chef's knife. Anywhere from ¼" to ½" thickness is typical, but try to keep the thickness you choose consistent. This allows the squash to cook evenly.
For this recipe, I used a ½" thickness.
Now, they're ready to be roasted or sautéed.
For this recipe, toss the slices in olive oil, and sprinkle them with some spices for a little kick.
Next, roast them in a 400˚F oven. When they soften and begin to crisp, spread them over a kale salad with avocado slices and roasted pumpkin seeds.
Don't care for kale?
No worries. Neither does my husband. In fact, it's quite possible that I'm the only person in our family who loves kale. In fact, I have a little kale garden on my deck, and have fresh kale salads all summer and fall.
So, rest easy, you can use arugula, baby spinach leaves or romaine lettuce for this delicata salad, if that's your preference.
Is Delicata Squash Healthy?
First of all, there's some disagreement whether this winter squash is keto-friendly. Some sites I visited said yes, others said it wasn't the best keto-friendly squash to purchase. Spaghetti squash probably has that honor. But there is agreement that delicata squash is lower in carbs than some other winter squash.
Best of all, it's an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Delicata is loaded with all of these.
And now, let's make this Delicata Salad!!
Spicy Delicata Squash Salad with Kale
- 2 small delicata squash
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder, or cayenne pepper (optional)
- 8 cups de-stemmed curly kale leaves, see directions on how to de-stem the leaves
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into slices
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I use my toaster oven for a quicker preheat.)
- Slice off the ends of the delicata squash. Stand one of them on end, hold onto it firmly, and slice it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
- Slice into ½" slices, and repeat with the other delicata squash.
- Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, the paprika and chipotle pepper powder. Roast for 15 minutes.
- De-stem the kale leaves by either cutting them away from the tough center stem using a sharp knife, or hold onto the stem's bottom, and sweep your other hand up the stem to tear away the leaves.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the kale leaves. Place them in a bowl, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Lightly massage the leaves until they begin to limp. If you measure them out, they've collapsed into about 5 cups.
- Toss with the vinegar, roasted squash, avocado and pumpkin seeds.