End-of-Summer Salad with Marinated Delicata Squash

Summer is hanging on by a mere thread as Autumn breathes gently in the wings. But for a brief window of time, we enjoy all the best produce from both seasons, and that means dishes packed with color, texture, and flavor. 

I love a composed salad! Groups of vegetables arranged on a large platter create a little salad bar for everyone to pick and choose what they want! It’s beautiful to look at, and satisfies everyone’s needs.

The first winter squash appearance

In late summer, the delicata squash makes its first appearance. This tasty winter squash will keep for weeks in a cool spot. It has a mild flesh, and lovely deep yellow color, with a dark green streaked yellow skin. Every part of the fruit is edible from the skin to the seeds, so no peeling is necessary, and that means extra fiber. The seeds make a delightful, crunchy snack.

My favorite way to cook them is to simply cut them into rings or chunks and roast them. They are also lovely split in half, seeds scraped out, and drizzled with a little olive oil and seasonings. Or stuff them! If you are in a pinch for time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, toss the whole fruits onto a baking sheet, and cook for a half hour, or until the outer skins start to brown and the fruits have softened. Slice them open, scrape out the seeds, and enjoy.

High in flavor and nutrition

You could eat this vegetable just for the nutritional value since it is high in Vitamins A & C, calcium, iron, fiber, and has lots of other micro-nutrients. But the flavor and versatility in the autumn kitchen is the immediate reward.

Sometimes there are so many beautiful vegetables in our gardens or farm stands that it is hard to decide! We want to use them all. I found some lovely purple nappa cabbage this week, along with an heirloom pink celery I’d never seen before. It was milder than the standard, its stalks were a bit thinner, but its foliage was substantially thicker, just begging to be used. Also calling my name were watermelon radishes, black radishes, and tomatoes of every size and color.

 

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End-of-Summer Salad with Marinated Delicata Squash

The salad is mostly about slicing and dicing and arranging. Except for the squash, nothing is cooked and the only “recipe” is a basic vinaigrette.

This is how I made it one day with the beautiful vegetables I found at the farm stand. Use what catches your eye! You could add green beans, cherry tomatoes, a different type of cabbage, turnips, daikon, celeriac, rainbow carrots or anything else your sources come up with. You can even throw some quartered Brussels sprouts in the oven along with the squash!

Marinate the squash in the vinaigrette for a half hour or longer for the best flavor.

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad: 

1 delicata squash

Seeds from the squash

Olive oil

1 head nappa (Chinese) cabbage

1 onion of choice, sliced thinly

3 or 4 Roma or cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 sweet red pepper, sliced into rings

3 or 4 radishes of varied color, sliced

1 small kohlrabi, sliced or diced

2 stalks celery, diced

Garnish:

Celery leaves

Toasted squash seeds

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Make the vinaigrette: In a jar with a lid, combine all ingredients and shake really well. Set aside.

Slice the delicata squash into rings. Using a sharp paring knife, scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds in a strainer and run under water, agitating them to loosen the pulp. Drain on a towel, and remove any left over pulp. This can be rubbed off with the edge of the towel.

ready for the oven
Separate the seeds and squash rings so that you can remove the seeds when they are done first.

Spray or brush a baking sheet lined with parchment with oil. Place the rings and the seeds on the sheet, and drizzle or spray more oil on top. Keep the seeds separate because they will be done sooner. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Set the timer for 8 minutes. The seeds should be done, so remove them and sprinkle with a little more salt. Flip the squash and return the pan to the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, until browned and soft.

Place in a large bowl, and pour over the vinaigrette. Set aside for at least a half hour for the squash to marinate.

Prep the rest of the vegetables:  Slice the cabbage, reserving some of the large leaves to line the platter. Slice or chop the rest of the vegetables.

Assemble the salad:  Line the platter with your reserved large leaves. Add the chopped celery to the center as a base. Place the other veggies wherever you like, and perhaps line the middle of the salad with the squash rings.

Drizzle with the vinaigrette from marinating the squash.

Garnish with celery leaves and the squash seeds.

Make ahead: Make extra of the squash and marinade so that you can have some waiting in the refrigerator when you need a side dish this week! Keep the squash in the marinade and it will continue to absorb the flavor.

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this! So unique, colorful and inventive !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you Briana, and thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a wonderful combination of colors and flavors! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That first look should get everyone interested!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. chef mimi says:

    Goodness! I love that you toasted/roasted the squash seeds. Such a brilliant idea! I mean, why not? Lovely salad. I planted some delicata, but haven’t seen any yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had scraped them out and thought they would add a nice crunch to the salad and I was right. I do the same with pumpkin seeds, well, sometimes. They are sooo slimy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy says:

    The most beautiful salad ever! I love cooking by color, it’s so rich to the senses. I’ve never heard of pink celery; I’ll have to try and find some. Where in Vermont are you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am in Bellows Falls. I found the pink celery at Walker Farms on Route 5 in Dummerston. They have such beautiful produce! Are you close?

      Like

  5. Nancy says:

    I am in South Burlington (trying to get out 🙂 though I used to live in your neck of the woods, in Perkinsville. I get to the ‘country’ whenever I can. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter just escaped from Colchester th Charlotte. She loves it! And we both love the Shelburn farmers market, just the right size.

      Like

  6. This is so beautiful! I love how you do the squash in rings, not semi-circles, and also use the seeds. I have a delicata squash on my counter… I will try it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! I like to vary how I cut up my veggies, whether for a stir fry or roasted or just steamed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful salad!! Almost too pretty to eat! I bought a delicata squash the other day, I’ve never had one before and plan on roasting it…I think I will roast the seeds too the way you’ve suggested, thank you Dorothy!
    Jenna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome Jenna! That’s what it is all about, spreading the food love around! (keep and eye on the seeds!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a wonder what the garden can offer us right?
    Beautiful and delicious this colorful salad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a wonder! I stand in the garden or at the farmers markets and feel overwhelmed by the amazing bounty this time of year.

      Like

  9. I like this beautiful coloured salad! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It is as tasty as it is pretty, too!

      Like

  10. kathdedon says:

    What a gorgeous salad! And I love the idea of roasting the squash and the seeds together. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation! I look for every opportunity to use that oven space.

      Like

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