It may be getting colder, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating root vegetables, soups, meats and beans all winter! There's a great variety of fresh winter vegetables and fruits in season that make for incredibly healthy and delicious dishes. Take, for example, this colorful salad made with fresh kale, pomegranate seeds, persimmon and Delicata squash!
If you haven't tried Delicata squash before, this is your chance! It's taken first place on my favorite types of squash list (Only food nerds like me have lists like this.). Why do I love this squash so much? You don't have to peel it! The thin, delicate skin can just be washed, cooked and eaten as is! This particular variety of squash also comes out of the oven tasting like candy when it's roasted. I kid you not. You have to try it!
In addition to Delicata, this textured, juicy salad features winter's most nutritious green - KALE - and pomegranates! I prefer the non-curly Tuscan kale variety (less likelihood of getting stuck in your teeth), but any type of kale will do. The pomegranate seeds, rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and K help keep your blood flowing properly and maintain strong bones. There's nothing wrong with that!
Persimmons are one of my all time favorite winter fruits. I get so excited when I see them in season and on the stands at my farmers market. They have a unique, super sweet flavor. There are two types of persimmon - Fuyu (squat, round shape) and Hachiya (longer, oblong shape). Ask your grocer or farmer which is which and how to tell when they are ripe. I always prefer Fuyu because you can eat slice it up and eat it like an apple when it's ripe. On the other hand, when a Hachiya is ripe enough to eat, it's practically mush - more like a jelly than a sliceable fruit. If you cut into a Fuyu too early, they can have a gritty, astringent texture. Wait until they're ripe and you'll be drooling for more these fruits are so tasty. Not to mention, they are loaded with Vitamin A and C to keep your eyes healthy and your immune system on top of its game.
Winter Fruit, Delicata Squash & Kale Salad
1 persimmon, sliced crosswise
1 pomegranate, seeded, separated from juice
1 medium delicata squash
1 large bunch kale
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp large flake salt (such as Maldon)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Roast Delicata squash: Preheat oven to 375℉. Slice squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Place halves flat side down on cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch half moon shapes. In a medium bowl, toss slices with a thin drizzle of avocado or olive oil, then spread out evenly on baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, toss and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes or until starting to turn soft and getting golden brown spots.
Prepare kale: Wash kale and remove leaves from tough stems. Tear leaves into bitesize pieces. In a large salad bowl, drizzle kale pieces with olive oil. Massage lightly with your hands to soften the kale.
Slice tomatoes in half and toss with kale in salad bowl.
Wash and slice persimmon, crosswise as shown in pictures. Arrange on top of kale and tomato mixture.
Seed pomegranate: Here’s a wonderful technique! http://bit.ly/pomegranateseeds Otherwise, you can find pomegranate seeds on their own at most stores. Sprinkle seeds on top of salad.
When squash is cooled, arrange on top of salad with other vegetables.
Sprinkle with flake salt and pepper as desired. Serve alone or topped with a protein of choice.
You may notice there is no real salad dressing for this salad. The olive oil on the leaves gives it a nice flavor and texture and the pops of juice from the pomegranate seeds and persimmon are sweet enough to make up for the lack of dressing.
If you do want additional dressing, try mixing the pomegranate juice with a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and drizzling that over the top.
Because kale is an amazing, sturdy green, this salad will hold up in the fridge for several days without looking or tasting wilted. Go ahead and make a whole big salad for yourself! You won't mind eating leftovers of this one. ;)
What are some of your favorite winter vegeatables? Feel free to make requests for healthier versions of your go-to winter or holiday recipes and I’ll happily get to experimenting on your behalf! If you try this out or have any special requests, use #jeannereillyrd to show me your handiwork!
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